Irish Whiskey Stories

let’s begin

The Irish can definitely tell a good tale, especially when it comes to whiskey.

Whiskey Yarns

Ireland has a long history of distilling, so it makes sense that over those years, a good yarn would come out of them. Here we’ve collected just a few Irish whiskey stories to tell on St. Paddy’s Day.

The Great Whiskey Fire of Dublin

There was definitely more than one whiskey fire in the city of Dublin, but the fire of 1875 really takes the biscuit. It was ferocious and claimed 13 lives, but not in the way you might think.

The fire started in the Malone malt warehouse, which was stacked with barrels of whiskey and similar spirits. As the barrels (all 5,000 of them) exploded open in the blaze, the whiskey ran freely through the streets.

This is when the good citizens of the Liberties and surrounding Dublin areas decided to take matters into their own hands. To stem the flow of such flammable liquid, they took it upon themselves to enjoy a few drops of the good stuff as it flowed passed them.

Unfortunately, the river of whiskey was too much and in fact 13 people died in the Great Fire of 1875. All from alcohol poisoning mind, and not in fact the fire itself.

Never Skimp on St. Patrick’s Dram

Despite the fact the St. Patrick definitely lived before whiskey came to Ireland, there is a legend tat says he once went into a pub and found their whiskey portions lacking.

Upon realising he had been hard done by, the Saint decided to do something about it. he told the pub owner that there was a devil living in his cellar that was living off this man’s greed.

Now the last thing any reasonable pub owner wants is a devil in his basement and so when St. Patrick next returned to the pub, he found the rams were overflowing. He graciously told the man the devil had gone and order was restored.

This is where the Irish tradition of drinking a shot of whiskey to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day comes from. It’s also known as Pota Padraig or St. Patrick’s Pot and drowning the Shamrock.

No Drinks on St. Patrick’s Day!

Although it might seem hard to believe, there was once a time when selling alcohol on St. Patrick’s Day was illegal.

If we cast our minds back to the 1920s, Ireland was a very different place. There were a lot more distilleries, but Ireland was also a deeply Catholic country. With this in mind, it might make sense that in 1927 they banned alcohol sales on St. Patrick’s Day, Christmas Day and Good Friday.

Eventually due to pressure from the industry, sales were allowed in St. Patrick’s Day again in 1960. It wasn’t until 2018 that alcohol sales were allowed on Good Friday. Although, if you were in Limerick, you were allowed to be exempt from the rule, provided it was during a rugby game. The Irish certainly know their priorities!

Do you know any fun whisky stories (Irish or otherwise)? Share them in the comments!

Tags: DublinirelandIrishIrish Whiskey StoriesWhiskey
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My name is Greg, and I’m a brand strategy consultant, writer, speaker, host and judge specialising in premium spirits. My mission is to experience, share and inspire with everything great about whisky, whiskey, gin, beer and fine dining through my writing, my brand building and my whisky tastings.

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