There’s no doubt that whiskey is an essential part of Irish culture and heritage. There are many theories as to where whiskey making in Ireland derived. The story is that monks brought distillation to the Isle during the 7th century, probably starting with beer. The distilling process was primarily used for perfumes and medicines, then modified for brew. By the middle of the 19th century Irish whiskey was the most popular in the world. But from the late 1800s onwards, there were a series of setbacks in Ireland that slowly wiped out the industry. The Irish War of Independence, the Irish Civil War, trade wars with England, prohibition in the USA, The Great Depression and the two world wars all took their toll. In 1887, there were 28 distilleries making whiskey. By the early 1980s, there were just two. The industry has since rebounded with more than 50 distilleries in operation, and more than 400 exported brands of Irish whiskey.
So, here’s to the land of the shamrock so green, Here’s to each lad and his darlin colleen, Here’s to the ones we love dearest and most. May God bless old Ireland, that’s this Irishman’s toast!
Other interesting Irish lore:
- Ireland is the world’s 20th largest island and the third largest in Europe
- Over 90% of the population of Ireland is Roman Catholic
- 4 Irish authors have won the Nobel Prize of literature.
- There are no known snakes living in Ireland.
- The national emblem of the country is the Celtic Harp, not the shamrock. No other country in the world has a musical instrument for their national emblem.
- The RMS Titanic was constructed in Belfast, Ireland. Harland and Wolff had the job of building the world’s largest passenger ocean liner powered by steam.
- Some Irish people believe that only St Patrick will judge them on judgment day, while Christ will judge the people from the rest of the world.
- The famous Aran sweaters typically have family weaves that historically helped identify lost fisherman at sea.
- The White House in Washington, D.C. was designed by James Hoban, an architect who was born in Kilkenny, Ireland.
- The Gardia which is the police force in Ireland is not armed. Only detectives carry guns.
- The last known witch to live in Ireland is Dame Alice Kytler, born in Kilkenny in 1280.
- There are more cell phones in the country of Ireland than there are people.
- Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company, was of Irish descent.
- According to legend, kissing the popular Blarney Stone gives one the “gift of gab” ( a centuries-old tradition).
- It was not until 1997 that a divorce was granted in Ireland.
- In County Antrium, Ballygally Castle is now a hotel. It is believed that the castle is haunted by the ghost of Lady Isobel Shaw who jumped from an upper window to her death, after reportedly having been locked in her bedroom by her husband. Today, it is thought that her spirit will knock on the doors of the castle to make her presence known to the guests.
- Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula was Irish.
- Saint Patrick’s true name was Maewyn Succat.
- Real Irish dirt is even being sold on the Internet today along with shamrock seeds.
- The Romans referred to Ireland as Hibernia
- Cedric Gibbons designed the Oscar Trophy that is given out for the Academy Awards. He was born in 1823 in Dublin, Ireland.
Reference material taken in part from the following sources: irish-expressions.com. and the whiskeyexchange.com