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Folklore: Poteen for Rheumatism

Viewpoint: On This Day: March 2nd, 1927

The Irish News, Tuesday, March 2nd, 2000

THE following recipe, described as an infallible cure for rheumatism, was produced at a licensing court in Dungannon yesterday when Thomas Lynn, Evishanoran, Pomeroy, was charged with having illicit spirit in his possession:

“One glass of whiskey or good poteen, one clove of garlic. Cut the garlic fine and put into bottle with the spirit and cork tight. Leave past for three weeks. Then rub it on the affected part.”

Constable Armstrong, Pomeroy, said he found a noggin bottle containing about a glass of poteen in the defendant’s house on 22nd December last. Defendant was a small farmer living in a mountainous district and was not present when the search was made.

Constable Wilson said he spoke to the defendant’s niece who said: “Don’t let the constable take it away or I will be killed.” She added that people had been in the house that morning and someone must have put it in the pocket of the coat. Sergeant Gallagher said the defendant was more a distributor of poteen than a manufacturer. There had been several raids in that district for poteen.

District Inspector Walsh observed that the district was a hotbed of poteen manufacture, and it was so mountainous that it was difficult to detect.

Defendant produced the above recipe and admitted having the poteen for a rheumatism cure. He was totally disabled with the complaint and had a weekly pension from a benefit society, as he was unable to work. He never drank poteen and certainly would not use it again. He did not manufacture it and got a small quantity as a present to make the lotion.

Defendant was fined four pounds and costs, Mr Moriarty RM, advising him to rub himself with pure whiskey next time.