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Irish Seed Savers •Apple Catalogue •

The Apple Catalogue

The Irish Seed Savers Association Native Irish Apple Catalogue

Ordering details are at the foot of this page.

Irish Varieties

Ard Cairn Russet Dessert Jan-Feb

Yellowish-white flesh, dry, firm and sweet. Medium-sized fruit, golden-yellow skin often flushed with carmine. Almost entirely covered with thick golden-brown russet. Found in a garden in Ireland in 1890. Listed in Hartland of Cork's catalogue of 1907 with the comment "tastes like a banana...found in an out of the way orchard in this county...". Received a Royal Horticultural Society Award of Merit of 1910.

Ballyfatten Culinary Oct-Dec

Firm, dry, slightly acid white flesh. Large, round, conical and angular. No canker or scab noted. A variety long grown in Northern Ireland. Noted in Sampson's Survey of Co. Londonderry in 1802.

Ballyvaughan Seedling Dessert November

Very acid, crisp, firm flesh with lingering sweet taste. Large fruit, round and uneven, yellowish-green with red flush. Once a common Clare apple, now extinct except for a single stand. Remarkable for striking easily from cuttings.

Barnhill Pippin Dessert/Culinary Dec-Jan

Firm, white, crisp sub-acid flesh. Smooth yellow skin with scarlet stripes and stippling. Fruit susceptible to scab. Once common in Counties Armagh and Antrim until replaced by Bramley Seedling.

Bloody Butcher Culinary Oct-Nov

Firm white flesh, moderately juicy and acid. Large round fruit, pale yellow skin, almost entirely covered with darkest crimson with a few russet veins. Also known as the bloodhound in Co. Kilkenny and the Winesap in Co. Offaly.

Brown Crofton Dessert Nov-Dec

Good flavour if allowed to hang late. Flat, rounded fruit. Greenish-yellow with dark red flush and stripes overlaid with a network of coarse russet veins and dots. Healthy grower not prone to scab or canker. All trees seen in Counties Sligo, Offaly, West Meath, Roscommon, Dublin and Wexford.

Clearheart Culinary Oct-Nov

Firm white flesh, moderately juicy, acidic. Medium-sized, roundish, angular fruit. A variety once common in the orchards of Piltown, Co. Kilkenny.

Dockney Culinary Oct-Nov

Flesh firm, greenish-white, moderately juicy, not acid but with a pronounced tang. Medium-sized roundish fruit. Greenish-yellow skin with a brown-red flush. Thin russet dots, patches and veining and with pearly white specks.

Ecklinville Seedling Culinary Sept-Oct

Delicious baking apple. Large, flattened, round and uneven. Skin greenish-yellow, sometimes with a red flush, strewn with russet dots. Susceptible to canker but usually free from scab on fruit. Reputed to be raised in Ireland in 1820 by a gardener named Logan.

Eight Square or Kill Apple  Dessert September

Firm white flesh, crisp, slightly acid with good flavour. Medium-sized, round, uneven fruit with five broad angles. Pale whitish-yellow skin. Dull and waxy with a slight flush of pink and patches of thin russet. No scab noted on fruit or foliage. Once commonly grown in Co. Monaghan.

Frank's Seedling Dessert/Culinary/Juice Oct-Nov

This was a seedling apple raised by Dr Lamb's father. Mrs Lamb produces beautiful, golden, pear-tasting apple juice from its fruit.

George* Dessert/Culinary Oct-Nov

Firm, crisp juicy fruit, a little acidic, with white flesh. Medium to large rounded fruit. Creamy yellow with scarlet stripes and stippling. Subject to scab. Once grown in Counties Offaly, Wexford and Kilkenny.

Gibbons Russet Dessert Sept-Oct

White-fleshed, sweet, pale yellow, strewn with russet dots and veins. Rounded fruit. Trees were most common in Co. Dublin and Co. Meath and once listed as a cider apple in Tighe's Survey of Co. Kilkenny.

Gibby's Apple Dessert Oct-Nov

Firm-fleshed, juicy and sweet. Medium sized, very conical. Creamy yellow with dark red stripes and stippling. Can vary according to county. Once common in the orchards of County Armagh and Antrim.

Golden Royal Dessert Early September

White flesh, soft, rather acid, a little dry. Medium-sized fruit, round, flat at the base, irregular and angular. Skin yellowish-white. Sticky when ripe with russet dots and veining. Slight scab noted on the fruit. An apple frequent in Co. Monaghan.

Greasy Pippin Dessert Oct-Nov

Creamy white flesh, firm, crisp, moderately juicy, sweet and of a good flavour. Medium-sized fruit, round, flat and angular. Golden yellow skin with russet dots and slight russet veining usually confined to one side of the fruit. When ripe the skin is greasy to a remarkable degree. No scab or canker noted. Once common in Counties Fermanagh and Tyrone.

Green Chisel Dessert Sept-Oct

Flesh very white, crisp, fairly juicy, good eating with a suspicion of lemon flavour. Medium-sized fruit, conical varying to somewhat flattened with a characteristic square appearance at the eye end. Skin smooth, dull, green with small russet specks. No scab or canker observed. Reputed to crop regularly. Reported in the Northern Ireland Apple and Pear Conference of 1888 as a "local sort of repute". One tree found in the 1990s in Donegal.

Irish Peach or Early Crofton  Dessert August

Dr Lamb describes it as "The most delicious fruit of its season, but like all early varieties it should be fully ripened on the tree, and eaten soon after gathering...Its great weak point is its susceptibility to scab". Small, round, slightly flattened, angular fruit. Smooth, pale-yellow skin with brownish-red flush. Slight stripes of darker carmine red and with slight greyish russet specks. It is quite likely that the Irish Peach originated in Co. Sligo. It was held in great esteem during the 1800s and was exported to England where it is still available today.

Keegan Crab Dessert Nov-Feb

Firm, white, crisp, juicy, fairly sweet, mildly flavoured flesh. Medium-sized, conical, uneven fruit. Skin dull-green becoming yellow when ripe with small russet dots. No scab or canker seen. Common in Co. Armagh and was exported to Scotland.

Kemp or May Bloom Dessert Sept-Oct

Firm white flesh, crisp, juicy and well-flavoured. Large, round, flattened fruit, ribbed towards the eye. Pale greenish-yellow skin with a brownish-red flush and russet dots. No scab seen on trees in Co. Armagh where it was appreciated as a healthy variety. Noted in the Ordnance Survey of Ireland, Vol.1, 1837.

Kerry Pippin Dessert August

Hard, crisp white flesh with a spicy tang. Small and oval flattened at eye end. Skin orange-yellow with dull carmine flush and stippling. Often with pearly white dots and sometimes a few slight russet patches. Usually a healthy variety but slight scab observed in a few instances. A small apple but very good for the small garden. Fruits are crisp and crunchy and the tree a regular bearer. Long grown in Ireland. Mentioned in the Statistical Surveys of the RDS in Counties Kilkenny and Antrim in 1802 and 1812.

Kilkenny Pearmain Dessert/Culinary Oct-Nov

Sweet, crisp flesh, mild flavour. Medium-sized green fruit with red flush. Very vigorous variety. Recorded in Ireland in 1831.

Lady's Finger of Offaly Dessert October

Firm, sweet, greenish-white flesh. Medium sized, markedly oblong fruit. Lady's Finger is the name commonly applied to any long shaped apple. Generally not scabby. Seen in Counties Offaly, Monaghan and Dublin.

Martin Seedling or No Surrender  Culinary Sept-Oct

White, juicy, sweetish soft flesh. Large, round and uneven. One of the varieties recommended in the 1904 Journal of the Department of Agriculture and a class was provided for it at the Dublin Fruit Show of 1904.

Peach Melba Dessert Aug-Sept

Extraordinary colour, pink-orange skin with a peachy coloured flesh. Sharp flavour, not at all peach-like. Brought to England from Co. Kilkenny in 1930.

Red Brandy* Dessert Nov-Dec

White, firm, moderately juicy, sweet. Small, flattened, even fruit. Colour varies from pale yellow with a few crimson stripes to almost entirely covered with crimson flush and stripes. Noted in the field in the 1940s as being extremely disease resistant and scab free. This was confirmed in the 1990s. Once a common apple in the orchards of Piltown, Co. Kilkenny.

Reid Seedling Dessert Oct-Nov

Moderately juicy, soft and sweet apple. Very large, round conical fruit. Smooth yellow skin with carmine red stripes and stippling, covered with russet specks. No scab seen on foliage or fruit. Raised in the late 1800s in Co. Armagh.

Ross Nonpariel Dessert Nov-Jan

Greenish-white flesh, firm, a little dry with a pronounced fennel flavour. Medium-sized fruit, round, even, covered all over with thin gold-brown russet, occasionally with scarlet stripes and flush showing through. Long cultivated in Ireland. Mentioned in Thompson's Survey of Co. Meath in 1802.

Sam Young or Irish Russet Dessert Nov-Feb

Yellowish-white, firm crisp flesh with very good flavour. Fruit very small, round and flattened, often cracked. Skin dull green becoming yellow when ripe with dots of russet and coarse russet over the base of the fruit and round the eye. First recorded in 1820 and noted in 1907 apple nursery catalogue as "a delicious little apple of the very highest quality for late keeping".

Scarlet Crofton Dessert End Sept -Nov

Flesh greenish-white, crisp and juicy with a delicious spicy flavour. Medium, round, flattened, broadly angular fruit. Orange-yellow skin with dark scarlet flush and stripes overlaid with a network of coarse russet veins and dots. No canker or scab noted. The Scarlet or Red Crofton is of ancient cultivation in Ireland. Sir Henry Crofton confirmed to Dr Lamb that the apple was brought to Ireland during the time of Queen Elizabeth I by the founder of the Crofton family in Ireland.

Sheep's Snout Dessert/Culinary Oct-Nov

Crisp, sweet/acidic white flesh. Large, yellow, prominently ribbed, crowned like a sheep's nose.

Sovereign Dessert Early September

Soft, white, juicy flesh, sweet and mild tasting. Medium-sized fruit, roundish and irregular varying to conical. Grown in Co. Armagh.

Summer John Dessert September

Firm white flesh, very juicy, mild flavour. Large, flattened, broadly angular fruit. Skin dull green with russet veining. No scab seen on leaves or fruit. On its way to extinction in the 1940s in Co. Fermanagh. One old tree seen by Dr Lamb had a trunk 5ft in circumference over 2ft from the ground.

Thompson's Apple or The Smeller Dessert October

White flesh, crisp, firm, juicy, sweet. Medium sized, round, flattened. Skin smooth, pale, creamy-yellow with brownish-red flush, stripes and stippling. Slightly susceptible to scab. Once commonly grown in North-West Tyrone and Co. Monaghan.

Uncle John's Cooker* Culinary December

Undocumented Piltown variety. Large, white-fleshed, soft fruit. Very wind-resistant: the fruit had to be pulled from the trees by Uncle John at Christmas when all the other trees were long bare. Little is known about this variety - your observations would be very welcome.

Widow's Friend Dessert Aug-Sept

Soft, white, sweet and very juicy, mildly flavoured. Small, round, even fruit. Skin pale orange-yellow with a few russet specks. Heavy and regular bearer. Once grown in the orchards of Co. Armagh.

Yellow Pitcher Dessert Sept-Oct

White firm flesh, juicy. Medium to large oblong fruit. Yellow skin with occasional pink flush, strewn with russet dots and veins. No scab or canker noted on Mother trees. Pitchers were documented in Ireland in the mid-1700s and were noted for striking easily from cuttings.



English Varieties

Gladstone Dessert July-August

Raspberry flavoured, sweet, refreshing acidity. Crisp yet soft, melting flesh. Medium shaped, dark red flesh and stripes on a greenish-yellow background. Introduced in the UK in 1868 when Mother tree was estimated over 100 years old.

Golden Spire Culinary Sept-Oct

Intense, cidery flavour. Sharp, juicy deep-cream flesh. Cooks to a well-flavoured, slightly brisk, yellow puree. UK variety widely grown in the late 19th century and commonly grown in Ireland.

Norfolk Royal Culinary Sept-Dec

Crisp, sweet and juicy. Bright red flush, few red stripes, pale yellow background, skin becomes greasy. Found in the UK in 1908. Successfully grown in Ireland.



Trees can be ordered on M26, a semi-dwarfing rootstock, or MM106, a hardy half standard rootstock. Please include the following information with your order (written in block capitals): Name, Address, Tel.No., Name of tree, quantity and rootstock required. Click here for where to send orders to.  We are not able to take overseas orders.
The trees are one year old and will be £8.00 each. The deposit for each tree, to be sent with the order, is £2.00. All proceeds from the sale of these trees will go towards the conservation work of the ISSA.
How the money is used:
The Irish Seed Savers Association (ISSA) is a non-profit limited company dedicated to the preservation of our agricultural legacy, and all proceeds from the sale of these trees will go towards maintaining the Association. Also you will notice that certain trees in 'The Catalogue' have an asterisk beside them:

    '*' This denotes a very rare tree that would be extinct were it not for the careful husbandry of one family. Because of the unique contribution of these families, we are giving them a 50p honorarium for each of their' trees which we sell. This is included in the price of the trees.

Irish Seed Savers •Apple Catalogue •
"The Apple Catalogue" page last updated 5-July-2003