Irish Whiskey Museum - Monks Distilling Irish Whiskey

There has long been dispute about where whiskey originated. It is widely accepted that it was from Celtic origin but was it the Scots or the Irish?

When you talk to the Irish they will tell long stories of Irish Christian monks who travelled far and wide picking up the trade of distillation from Arabia around 500-600AD. They mastered the art of distilling grain and water on their return to Ireland. Sure didn’t the Irish need a hard liqueur to protect them from the harsh raw Atlantic gales!

Ah, but when you talk to the Scots, well, they tell you of the hard written evidence that proves whiskey was in distillation in 1494. There is a record on the Exchequer Rolls of ‘eight bolls of malt to Friar John Cor wherewith to make aqua vitae’. Well you just can’t dispute that fact.

Alas, to Scottish dismay there is new evidence to suggest that indeed the Irish were distilling Irish whiskey before Friar John. According to Barry Walsh, an author writing for the Whiskey Magazine, tanned reindeer skin with carved writing dating back to pre-Christian times has been discovered along the River Liffey during some excavation works.

When ‘translated’ it states that a man called Pah-Dee “Resumed heating the murky bubbly mixture of grain and water, and collected a fiery liquid through worm and reed pipe. Tastes bad. Made me dizzy and sick and I had to lie down” and continues to refer to it as the “fire water”.

If it truly exists, where is the reindeer skin hiding now? For those who are a little more skeptical there are further written records of Irish whiskey in the Annals of Clonmacnoise dating back to 1405, stating “A.D. 1405. Richard Magrannell Chieftain of Moyntyreolas died at Christmas by taking a surfeit of aqua vitae. Mine author sayeth that it was not aqua vitae to him but aqua mortis.” So there you have it, proof that whiskey originated in Ireland, so you can think of us the next time you are having a little tipple.
Cheers!




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