St Patrick’s Day 17 March

It has to be done, Irish whiskey on the Holy Day. St. Patrick’s Day consists of the day/night of the seventeenth of March flavoured strongly with whiskey on the morning of the eighteenth.  To be sure I will be celebrating with the Irish Saint. Well then, time needs be taken to celebrate holy times during the evening, don’t you agree?  Lurking away in a cupboard I know there is a Tullamore 12 yo, a Black Bush, a Red Bush, a Jameson’s stout finish, and several others more rare, that I don’t think I will share with anyone. Days are flyin by fast, too fast, and I agree with Errol; I like my whisky old and my women young, Errol Flynn.  I know a wee man hiding over on Tiree, so I may send him a dram or four in the mail. Tiree is a Scottish island on our west coast but to be sure it sounds Irish! There are no bad whiskies, only some that aren’t as good as others. I know many grand Irish men and women (family mostly) who will also be taking a sip today, here’s to you all – Daley’s every one of you!  James Joyce “The light music of whiskey falling into a glass—an agreeable interlude.” Well said Jimmie. Make it a sizeable interlude big man. The Saint himself knew long after his demise, a day would be given to him … after all he did say “Christ beside me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, a good Irish whiskey within me. The Lord is greater than all: I have said enough, now is the time for a whiskey”. So away with you and find an Irish pub, where you can enjoy the Irish drinks, if for any reason you cannee get oot, buy a bottle the previous day and dram it at home. May your troubles be less and your blessings be more. And nothing but happiness come through your door holding a large Irish whiskey. May the Irish hills caress you, may her loughs and rivers bless you, may the luck of the Irish enfold you, may the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you and may the whiskey be a constant companion.  The Feast of Saint Patrick (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig, “the Day of the Festival of Patrick”), celebrates the death date of Saint Patrick c. AD 385–461. He grew up in Roman Britain (Scotland, Alba, Strathclyde), was captured by Irish raiders and taken to Ireland a slave as a young adult. After some years he escaped to his family and entered the church, like his father and grandfather before him. He later returned to Ireland as a missionary and worked in the north and west of the country. It is myth and legend that he took a recipe with him for a drink. According to legend, St Patrick rid Ireland of snakes, it is thought that there were no snakes in Ireland since last ice age. The “snakes” that St Patrick banished from Ireland, refer to the druids or pagan worshipers of snake or serpent gods. He is said to be buried under Down Cathedral in Downpatrick. Mark and I were there not long ago, at his grave we were sure there were alcoholic fumes all around. Our tours in the 6 counties generally make a pilgrimage there.

SO, WHAT EXACTLY IS IRISH WHISKEY?  There are many theories about whiskey, Monks tried making perfumes and medicines and ended up with whiskey – what numpty monk thought he would taste a perfume?. Was it in Co Kilkenny? Ballykeefe – http://whiskytours.scot/5-night-irish-whiskey-tour.   There are now more than 50 distilleries either in operation, being built or in the planning stages across Ireland. A pot still, the traditional still of Ireland – used to make malt and obviously, pot still whiskey Irish Malt Whiskey –made from just malted barley, water and yeast, and must be distilled in a pot still. Irish Grain Whiskey –made using a mixture of malted barley and other grains, distilled using column stills. Irish Pot Still Whiskey – this is the most traditional – uses a mixture of malted barley, unmalted barley and, optionally, other grains, distilled in pot stills. The recipe must include at least 30% of both malted and unmalted barley and a maximum of 5% of other grains. Irish Blended Whiskey – a mixture of at least two of the three types of whiskey. Is all Irish whiskey triple distilled? NO, defo not. Triple distilled, making a lighter style of spirit. Irish distillers can legally double distil if they wish, most of Cooley’s whiskeys, including Connemara and Tyrconnell, are distilled twice. Whatever, however, just try it for yourself, there are so many Irish labels out there, some better than others – like everything else by the way – you will be in good company, let March 17 be the start of a long journey into Irishness! But please, do not start down the American road of bleaching everything green, hold on there, take it as the distillers meant it to be. Take it slow, dinnae knock it back like a slammer, slow and easy, take your time, drink with friends and be responsible eh!

www.mcleanscotland.com    Sean Daley, Kilkenny