Few topics have flared tempers in pubs more than the question: Who invented whiskey? Was it the Irish, the Scots, or someone you'd least expect, like the Chinese or Arabs? Whisk(e)y is sunshine in a glass. Uisge baugh, or water of life in Scots Gaelic, and uisge beatha, water of life in Irish Gaelic. It's the cure for what ails you, and the Celt's gift to the world. It's now distilled and bottled on nearly every continent, with a variety of regional grains.Interested in attending a Whiskey Tasting? The origins of distillation are pretty murky. Some say it first started with ancient Babylonians, or possibly ancient Greeks, or maybe it was the Chinese... at this point in my research, I'm willing to say it was anyone but aliens... The origins of whisk(e)y are just as obscure. The Irish claim that they have been making whiskey for anywhere between 1000 and 1600 years, depending on who you ask, and frankly, who are we to argue? Excuse me, sir, can you tell me if the Vikings invented whisk(e)y? One story tells of Irish monks bringing the secrets of distillation back to Ireland from the Middle East. Another story claims that the Vikings had learned to distil while raiding in Greece or Syria, or possibly Turkey and brought the technique to Scotland when they built villages on the West Coast of Scotland. I could go on because there are many more stories of the origin of whisk(e)y. So many more stories... So, we're left to draw our own conclusions, dear reader, at least until someone smarter than I, with access to some arcane tome that definitively sorts this matter once and for all. I, for one, conclude that just as the Irish and Scottish histories, people and culture are intertwined, so are the origins of whisk(e)y. Maybe we should just be content not to know and just enjoy the magic that is whisk(e)y. Slainte! Check out The Whiskey Cowgirl's videos here.
Lambswool was the name of a popular drink during the dark days leading up to Imbolc. It was often enjoyed during Wassailing or “Apple Howling” as it was called in orchard country.
Brighid (BREE’yid) or Brigit is also the patron saint of Ireland, second only to Saint Patrick. She represents a powerful presence in the land and Celtic lore. As goddess, she was Brid (or Bride – the inspiration of our word for a woman in a marriage ceremony) daughter of the Dagda (the Good God) of the sacred Tuatha de Dannan. Her influence shines through time and has not been dimmed with the coming of Christianity. The new faith embraced her as the nursemaid and foster mother of Christ himself, sometimes calling her “Mary of the Gael.”
St Dwynwen’s feast day is January 25, and in Wales, a day devoted to lovers. Get a jump on St Valentine’s Day and let your beloved know how much they mean to you. Whether romance, deep friendship, or kith and kin, you can find a little Celtic something to warm the heart of your dear ones.
Robert Burns -- a rake and a rover, literary celebrity, cultural icon, and the only 18th century Scots ploughman to have more than 60 statues worldwide in his honor!