Article from the Grange Parish Book suggested for reading this week (week 10)
Poteen - 'Irish Moonshine'
This week's article, The Wonders and Dangers of Poteen, was compiled by the Book Committee, inspired by a story recounted by Michael Weekes, Holycross, a member of the committee.
Variously called “the hard stuff,” “the cure,” “mountain dew,” “holy water” and “Katie Daly,” poteen has been around for centuries. The stories, romantic and otherwise, around the production and use of poteen are indelibly entrenched in Irish folklore.
The article is based upon a letter dated 27th March 1984 received by Michael Weekes from Lars Erik Calonius, Staff Reporter, The Wall Street Journal, European Bureau, International Press
Centre, London, and an earlier publication (February 1984) in the Wall Street Journal by Erik. The inspiration for Erik's publication arose, inter alia, from his visit to the Lough Gur area to meet Michael Weekes and a local "dairyman", the well-known Tom McNamara RIP. The dairyman displayed tremendous hospitality in sharing his best poteen with the overseas visitor. Erik told the Irish poteen story and recalled his experiences at the hands of Michael and Tom, all with great humour.
The following is an extract from the book article, drawn from Erik's Wall Street Journal article.
"The Roman Catholic Church in Ireland also tried to cut the flow of poteen, and at times almost succeeded. In the 19th century, the Church made poteen-making a reserved sin, meaning that the maker couldn’t go to his parish priest for absolution, but had to stand before the bishop himself.
But moonshiners tend to be an incorrigible lot. There is the story, for instance, of a moonshiner who decides to repent and goes to the bishop for absolution. The bishop tells the moonshiner that he must cast his still over a nearby cliff, where the ruins of others lie in a rusting heap below. The man agrees and pulls his little still to the edge of the precipice. But looking down, his eye falls on a still much finer and bigger than his own. He tosses his own still over the edge, complying with the bishop’s demand – and then pulls the better one from the pile!"
Next week (week 11) we will suggest another article for reading. Kind Regards to All.