In a tweet I can no longer find (I’ve searched and found many about this, but not the exact one which made me look up the fire), I learned today of The Great Whiskey Fire of Dublin, 1875. This may be the most Irish historic event I can recall:
The Illustrated London Times noted that: “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.”
It is a little sad to read about those who suffered, but yet one can’t help but think “That could only happen in Ireland.” Right?
And reading about this makes me think about the Great Molasses Flood in Boston, 1919:
At around 12:40 p.m., the mid-afternoon calm was broken by the sound of a metallic roar. Before residents had time to register what was happening, the recently refilled molasses tank ripped wide open and unleashed 2.3 million gallons of dark-brown sludge. “A rumble, a hiss—some say a boom and a swish—and the wave of molasses swept out,” the Boston Post later wrote. A fifteen-foot wall of syrup cascaded over Commercial Street at 35 miles per hour, obliterating all the people, horses, buildings and electrical poles in its path.
But I think Dublin had it worse in comparing these 2 events. Fire vs. wave of sludge? Just my thinking.