History of Irish Car Bombs Isn’t Something to Drink To

While studying abroad in Ireland, the Irish made it quite apparent to me what they thought of Americans. I was constantly questioned as to why we Americans have such a warped view of what Ireland and Irish culture really is. Almost every Irish person I met would complain to me about Americans coming to Ireland and claiming that they were Irish when they had some great grandfather that grew up there and that’s it. They all laughed at the band Flogging Molly, which in Ireland basically means Raping Molly. If you want to listen to what Irish people listen to, then look up Crazy Frog; it had the number one song for a month there.

The number one beer sold in Ireland is Budweiser, not Guinness. Guinness is considered an old man’s drink there. There are many other things as well, but the biggest issue, in my opinion, is the drink that many people will be drinking here in America on St. Patrick’s Day: the Irish Car Bomb.

While I was abroad my American roommate tried to order an Irish Car Bomb at the bar. The bartender just stared at him and told him they don’t sell them. My roommate was confused, until I reminded him what a car bomb means to Irish people. Car bombs in Ireland are no fun thing.

Car bombs were a major weapon in the Irish Republican Army’s fight against Northern Ireland. The car bomb’s biggest deployment by the IRA was on Friday, July 21, 1972, in a major attack on Belfast in Northern Ireland. They used 22 car bombs on the city on that day, which was known forever after as Bloody Friday. As one person described the day, “At the height of the bombing, the center of Belfast resembled a city under artillery fire; clouds of suffocating smoke enveloped buildings as one explosion followed another, almost drowning out the hysterical screams of panicked shoppers.” The attack caused significant damage not only to Northern Ireland but also to the IRA.

Bloody Friday destroyed much of the IRA’s heroic underdog popular image, produced deep revulsion amongst ordinary Catholics and eventually led to major changes in the IRA. Before this, the British were the ones committing the horrible atrocities. After this attack, the British received a major reprieve from the worldwide condemnation they were getting beforehand.

This is a very controversial subject to say the least; there are many that feel Bloody Friday was completely justified. Regardless, please know the history of the Irish Car Bomb before you go thinking you are paying a tribute to Ireland by drinking one. If you are in full support of the IRA and what it has done for Ireland then I could kind of see how drinking an Irish Car Bomb could be paying proper tribute. But before you go do that, you might want to look up the history of the IRA and decide from there.