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Irish Car Bomb

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An Irish Car Bomb is a popular drink in the US that is often served on St. Patrick’s Day, however, know that you should never ask for an Irish Car Bomb in Ireland.

This drink is strongly associated with a delicate political situation in Ireland, known as the Troubles which have cost the lives of many people.

What happens if you do try to order it?

A friend of a friend of mine told me a story he had heard from a friend about an American couple that walked into an Irish pub or a pub whose owner was Irish and ordered this controversial drink. Needless to say, the Irish barman wasn’t very happy about this. He remained mute and put on a stony face, turned around and came back with two shots. What do you think he did afterwards?

a) He offered them the shots and politely asked them to leave the pub.

b) He smiled smugly before pouring the shots over them.

c) He spilled the shots on the counter and lit them on fire.

Right, the answer is c). The barman was so upset that he lit them on fire and singed the couple’s clothes in the process. He then said: “Here, there is your Irish Car Bomb…” and kicked them out of the pub.

And rightly so.

But what exactly does an Irish Car Bomb consist of? The name might be a bit misleading. First of all, it is not an Irish drink. It is actually an American cocktail, popular in America, and is called Irish Car Bomb because of the Irish ingredients it contains, namely Guinness, Baileys Irish Cream and Jameson Irish Whiskey. It is called Car Bomb because when the shot of Irish cream is dropped into the Guinness it resembles an explosion.

The name of the drink refers to “The Troubles”, a conflict that lasted from 1968-1998 and had the constitutional status of Northern Ireland at its heart. Over a thirty years’ period political violence was part of daily life. Over 3,600 people died as a result from the violent acts which included street battles and car bombs. This explains, why people in Ireland react quite sensitively towards anything related to this difficult period of history.

Next time you consider ordering an Irish Car Bomb in Ireland, just try to remember that being set on fire is not a pleasant experience…

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Jenny Bui

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