Turtle Bunbury

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THE DOCKLANDS - RINGSEND & POOLBEG

From 'Dublin Docklands - An Urban Voyageby Turtle Bunbury (MPG, 2008).

RINGSEND - ROBERT HAIG DISTILLERIES

By 1802, Ringsend boasted one of the largest distilleries in Dublin. It was founded in 1795 by Robert Haig, a member of the famous Scottish Distillers dynasty. It stood on the Dodder, close to present-day Londonbridge, and had two stills of 1,117 and 1,547 gallons capacity. By 1823, a tightening of legislation had forced Haig down to just one still of 500 gallons. He seems to have closed the business as the eight families who worked there were forced to pawn their clothes and furniture to survive in 1832. However, shortly after this, the company bounced back with the acquisition of a revolutionary Coffey still. This was patented by Aenas Coffey, a former tax inspector, who ran an experimental distillery at Dodder Bank. The Coffey Still enabled the Haig Distillery to produce 330,000 gallons of whiskey annually. Haig was notorious for falling foul of the Revenue, several of whose commissioners are said to have mysteriously disappeared while visiting the distillery. A combination of rising taxes, mass emigration and the effects of the temperance campaign resulted in the company’s demise in the 1840s.

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