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Organic – The Great Dublin Whiskey Fire of 1875



A Dermott Hayes Poem

Organic – The Great Dublin Whiskey Fire of 1875 

In 1875 in Dublin’s Liberties neighbourhood, a fire that started in a bonded warehouse and spread to a near distillery, wreaked havoc as flaming whiskey flowed through the streets. Livestock burned and died and there were human casualties too, as some people consumed the blazing hot whiskey. Further damage was averted by the quick thinking of the city’s fire chief, Robert James Ingram, who instructed fire fighters to shovel manure on the whiskey to halt its flow.



By Dermott Hayes


I buy my fruit and veg,
fertilised and organic
on a square in The Liberties
where whiskey once flowed,
through streets
where people
took to their bare feet
to fill their boots
and drink
the scalding spirit,
pigs, squealed and fried
and chickens roasted,
people died, toasted,
not by fire
but by flaming spirit
and those who fought
to douse the fire with water
only fanned the flames
until James Robert Ingram
Chief Officer
of the Dublin Fire Brigade
said the only way
to win this fight
was to smother it
with shite

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