The population of Ireland stands at around 6,300,000 as of 2016.
Those from outside of Ireland claiming Irish descent is estimated at between 60 and 85 millions, but fluctuates greatly as popularity of a link over 150 years ago fades.
Since the early 1700’s, approximately 9 million people born in Ireland have emigrated. Of which nearly 5 million went to the USA. Now accounting for around 36 million US citizens.
From 1840, emigration from Ireland became a huge business but one that was extremely well managed.
Although poverty was the overriding reason for making the risky move abroad, many were escaping criminal pasts.
To this day the Irish have a reputation which few cultures would seek out. However, there is a minority of writers, artisans and crafters, who have set a wondrous benchmark for those that are willing to seek out the beauty of mans creative abilities.
The word "whiskey" is an Anglicisation of uisce beatha or uisge beatha from the Goidelic branch of languages (Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Manx) meaning
"Water of Life"
Most Irish whiskey is commonly is distilled thrice, whilst most, but certainly not all Scottish whisky is distilled twice.
Irish whiskey tends to have a smoother finish rather that the smokey, earthy overtones common to some Scottish whiskey.
Irish whiskey was once the most popular spirit in the world, surpassing Scottish whiskey as the favoured whiskey across the United Kingdom, which was the most important market for whiskies.
Comparisons with Scotland are innevitable, as they are considered the home of all whiskies.
Whilst Scotland currently has approximately 105 working distilleries, Ireland has just 12, with some being too young to qualify as whiskey, which is strictly regulated frrom London and needs to be at a minimum of 3 years of age. The majority being 5 - 10 years as a starter!
Of these, only four have been in operation long enough to have products sufficiently aged to meet requirements, with only one having been in operation before 1975.
There is a big difference between Irish whiskey and Scottish. However, that is why there should be no constant comparison, precisely because it is a unique product, just as wines are from district to district and country to variety.
Irish whiskey has seen a great resurgence in popularity since the late twentieth century, and has been the fastest growing spirit in the world every year since 1990.
The current growth rate is at roughly 20% per annum, prompting the construction and expansion of a number of distilleries. China, since their economic rise, has become a major market for classic whiskies, where buyers treat the spirit as a social marker.