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Folklore: Sligo Heritage

Uisce Beatha Eireannach

Poteen Seizure

So you thought poteen making was the stuff of myth and folklore, did you?

Aficionados of the good old ‘mountain dew’ still know where it can be found. They will be disappointed however at the latest news of a poteen seizure at Culleens, South Sligo . But never mind, anything that’s easy got is never appreciated and true devotees won’t mind waiting awhile till the uisge beatha (water of life) flows again.

Gerry Mc Laughlin of the ‘Sligo Weekender’ has the story:

At least one man is expected to be appearing before Easkey district court after gardai raided a poteen still in the Culleens area of west Sligo. The alleged owner of the still and a number of other individuals have been interviewed in the investigation which followed a tip-off. Gardai in Ballina have confirmed that at least one man will be appearing in court in connection with the find. Gardai in west Sligo seized four gallons of saleable poteen and 14 gallons of wash during the raid. The haul was enough to make 64 gallons of the well known “mountain dew”.

Officers dismantled and destroyed the  still which was producing uisce beatha when the raid took place. Most of the poteen,, apart from a sample needed for evidence, and the wash were disposed of. Gardai searched a number of sheds at the location following a tip-off. Four gallons of poteen were found in the relevant containers ready for sale. The size of the haul has surprised gardai.

Poteen or moonshine has not been as popular in recent years since the growth of the Celtic Tiger. Pubs, supermarkets and off-licences now stock an abundance of more glamorous legal alternatives. 20 years ago a bottle of poteen could be bought for £10. An informed source told the Weekender that the “real stuff” could still be bought for around E20 per bottle. Gardai believe that poteen production is still confined to  isolated rural areas and possibly even in some urban estates. But this is not the first time that poteen has been discovered in west Sligo.

And it might not be the last either.

Published April 14, 2005.