Irish people get hit with a lot of stereotypes, most of which stem from pretty much the beginning of their existence when they were typically seen as lesser than people. Seriously, Irish people used to have to deal with a LOT of unfair treatment for a long ass time, but one stereotype they still get hit with is the rampant […]
Irish people get hit with a lot of stereotypes, most of which stem from pretty much the beginning of their existence when they were typically seen as lesser than people. Seriously, Irish people used to have to deal with a LOT of unfair treatment for a long ass time, but one stereotype they still get hit with is the rampant alcoholism which, let’s be honest, is a stereotype they haven’t done much to convince people isn’t accurate. St. Patrick’s Day is one of the all-time great drinking holidays, and while that’s not really something that people in Ireland lose their minds over, everywhere else they go nuts for it.
Anyway, the point is that the Irish being alcoholics goes back a long time and it’s a reputation that’s been well earned, as evidence from one of my favorite stories from old time-y days when we were still in the 19th century. And that is when, in 1875, Malone’s malt house and store house on Chamber Street in Dublin caught fire. See, even back then, whiskey was a major export of Ireland, which is to be expected since they’ve been making it for hundreds of years. there is literally an entire distinction between calling a certain whiskey and Irish whiskey. So, it’s no surprise that they have big old factories making the stuff in the middle of the city, and naturally it eventually caught on fire. Shocker I know, whiskey, wood and the city didn’t go together like everybody hoped it would.
So, the factory catches fire and pretty much burns to the ground, and about 13 people died. While that sucks, the 13 people that died didn’t actually die in the fire, they died from alcohol poisoning. See, when the factory caught on fire, a bunch of the whiskey started to flow into the streets, so the entire time the factory is burning, the people gathering around to watch it also watched about 5000 barrels of whiskey just flowing down the road. A bunch of Irishmen must have thought god answered their prayers and just started drinking the whiskey right off the street.
The Illustrated London Times reported at the time:
Crowds of people assembled, and took off their hats and boots to collect the whisky, which ran in streams along the streets. Four persons have died in the hospital from the effects of drinking the whisky, which was burning hot as it flowed. Two corn-porters, named Healy and M’Nulty, were found in a lane off Cork-street, lying insensible, with their boots off, which they had evidently used to collect the liquor. There are many other persons in the hospital who are suffering from the same cause. Two boys are reported to be dying, and it is feared that other deaths will follow.
I’m not here to make light of what is the worst inferno that town has ever seen. Bad things happen and it sucks that people died as a result of that. But the fact that people died because they saw free whiskey and they couldn’t not drink it, never mind the fact that is was flowing down the street and ON FIRE makes this pretty hilarious.
I’m not saying stereotypes are a fair representation of a person or persons. Likewise, a person’s actions does not speak for a group of people, and it’s unfair to judge them based on these preconceived notions
but when a bunch of Irish people die from a whiskey fire without even being near the fire, you gotta admit that sometimes, just sometimes, a stereotype is earned.
Posted by Austin Hamblen, Owner and Main writer of Endlessmonkey.com