Whisky Magazine Issue 15
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Stuart Maclean Ransay makes a nostalgic return to Ireland after twenty years and finds that, despite the pace of life accelerating, a little bit of Dublin is still 'an oasis of Celtic civility'
While staying in a spiffy hotel in Dublin not too long ago I needed directions to Mitchell & Son, Wine Merchants and home of the outstanding Green Spot Irish whiskey. The first three employees I ask are French and haven't a clue where it is but one of them points out a real Irish person who says: “Thirty minutes by taxi, five if you're walking.”
I set forth on foot onto the streets of the fair city, capital of this Celtic tiger. A soft rain dampens the din of repair and construction taking place on just about every street and building. This is a different Ireland from the one I had drank in 20 years before. Now there are traffic jams on the scale of Los Angeles and property values that could match those of San Francisco. But some things never change: I pass a ragged-trousered bum pushing a shopping cart, a beatific smile on his face. In the cart is a full barrel of Guinness.
When I reach Mitchell's shop at 21 Kildare Street, I once again experience the old Ireland: an oasis of Celtic civility, timelessness and great liquor. On the way in, there's a display of Irish whiskey paraphernalia and the original Victorian door that graced the entrance to the wine merchants in 1886. Inside the shop itself, the walls are lined with an extensive range of Irish whiskeys, single malt Scotches, ports, sherries, madeiras and a plethora of wines. Peter Dunne, the Manager, greets me, pours a warming dram of Green Spot and shows me an article from 1888 about the company.
The article expl...