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How the Irish Car Bomb Got Its Name

Irish Car Bomb

The Irish Car Bomb is a cocktail that combines a shot with a beer. To be exact, the shot consists of Irish cream and Irish whiskey while the beer consists of an Irish stout. Sometimes, the three ingredients are mixed together in the same glass. However, the more iconic version would be a bomb shot, meaning that the shot glass is filled with half Irish cream and half Irish whiskey before being dropped into a half-full glass of Irish stout. The result is more memorable, though much messier as well.

How Did the Irish Car Bomb Get Its Name?

Chances are good that interested individuals can guess why the Irish Car Bomb is called the Irish Car Bomb. For starters, it is made using Irish ingredients. Furthermore, it is a kind of bomb shot made using Irish ingredients. As for why the Irish Car Bomb is the Irish Car Bomb, well, it is a clear reference to the Troubles that beset Northern Ireland from the late 1960s to 1998. The roots of the Troubles can be traced to centuries and centuries ago. For starters, the Anglo-Normans invaded Ireland in the late 12th century. Neither side was particularly well-organized, but in the end, the Anglo-Normans won out because of their better military, their better castle-building, and their increased unity in relative terms. Still, that was the high point of English control of Ireland in that period because a number of factors came together to erode it. First, while the Hiberno-Normans bowed to the Kings of England, the Hiberno-Normans tended to be very independent because of a lack of interest from the Kings of England. Second, there was a resurgence of the Gaelic Irish, who reclaimed more and more of Ireland at the expense of the Hiberno-Normans.

Third, the Hiberno-Normans never managed to settle a lot of English tenants in their territories, so it should come as no surprise to learn that they adopted more and more elements of Gaelic Irish culture over time. Eventually, the Wars of the Roses ended with a surprise Tudor victory. Said dynasty's claim to the English throne was very weak, which is one of the reasons why Henry VIII of England was so desperate to have a son rather than leave his kingdom to his daughter. Unfortunately for him, the family of his first wife Catherine of Aragon held sway over the papacy of the time, thus making it impossible for him to get his marriage annulled through that avenue. Instead, Henry VIII decided to go Protestant, which gave him the power to get his marriage annulled. This resulted in serious conflict, but for the most part, England became Protestant while Ireland remained Catholic.

Towards the end of the 16th century, a conflicted started up because the English authorities tried to extend their control over the single most powerful Gaelic Irish lord in Ireland. Initially, this was a fight for regional autonomy. However, this turned into a fight for the control of Ireland because of the Spanish support for the Gaelic Irish. The latter lost in spite of this, thus opening the way for the English to just straight-up colonize Ulster. Over time, there was a split between the Old English and the New English. In part, this was because the two had become quite different when it came to their culture as well as their religion. However, it should also be mentioned that religion was by no means a settled issue in the British Isles, as shown by a number of subsequent conflicts in which it played a very important role. The fact that the Old English were Catholics meant that they became more and more dispossessed by these conflicts. Thanks to that, most of them became a part of the Irish Catholics along with most of the Gaelic Irish. Meanwhile, the New English became the bulk of the Irish Protestants. It is important to note that Irish Catholics weren't 100 percent Irish nationalists and Irish Protestants weren't 100 percent Irish unionists. Still, these labels were very important for a reason.

In the early 20th century, Irish nationalists fought a successful guerrilla war for independence. As a result, most of Ireland became a dominion within the British Empire while six of the nine counties that make up Ulster exercised their right to opt out, thus becoming the Protestant-dominated Northern Ireland. Afterwards, there was a split between the Provisional Government that supported the deal and the Anti-Treaty IRA who opposed the deal, which resulted in victory for the former. However, the latter wasn't destroyed. Moreover, the latter remained committed to unifying Ireland through force of arms if need be. Meanwhile, Northern Ireland implemented harsh measures to keep the Protestants in power. For example, its government could intern suspects without trial. Similarly, its government replaced proportional representation in preference for first past the post voting before proceeding to engage in gerrymandering when Irish nationalists started winning control of local governments under proportional representation.

By the mid 1960s, a nonviolent civil rights movement for Catholics had started up to push back against the many ways that they were discriminated against. Unfortunately, it brought about a very hostile response from the unionists. On top of this, the Northern Irish government was hindered because any concessions that it could make were seen as being both not enough by one side and too much by the other side. In fact, the unionist Prime Minister who had originally been in charge of the situation winded up resigning because a unionist bombing of water as well as electricity installations was blamed on nationalists, thus gutting his support in the process. The resulting conflict was a very messy one involving nationalist paramilitaries, unionist paramilitaries, and British state security forces. The nationalist paramilitaries engaged in a guerrilla campaign. Meanwhile, the unionist paramilitaries attacked their nationalist counterparts as well as the rest of the Catholics in what they claimed to retaliatory violence. As for the British state security, they acted against the nationalist paramilitaries for the most part. Something that brought about a very rapid worsening of Catholic opinion towards them even though they were initially welcomed. The Troubles didn't end until the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. There has been violence since then. However, the peace has held for the most part.

Further Considerations

Unsurprisingly, a lot of Irish people see the name of the Irish Car Bomb in a very negative light because the Troubles is a very sensitive topic. For that matter, a lot of people throughout the rest of the British Isles have the same opinion, particularly since while the conflict happened in Northern Ireland for the most part, it did spill over into Ireland, England, and even mainland Europe from time to time. As such, it isn't uncommon to hear the Irish Car Bomb being called something less problematic such as either the Irish Slammer or the Dublin Drop.

Lily Wordsmith

Written by Lily Wordsmith

Lily Wordsmith is a freelance writer who has had a love affair with the written word for decades. You can find her writing blog posts and articles while sitting under a tree at the local park watching her kids play, or typing away on her tablet in line at the DMV. In addition to her freelance career, she is pursuing ebook writing with an ever-growing repertoire of witty ebooks to her name. Her diversity is boundless, and she has written about everything from astrobotany to zookeepers. Her real passions are her family, baking desserts and all things luxe.

Read more posts by Lily Wordsmith

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