ATHLONE, IRELAND — Kevin Parsons is taking the journey of a bottle of whiskey full circle by re-introducing the historic formula back to the shores of Newfoundland, where it is believed to have travelled 1,000 years ago.
Parsons, who lives in Black River on the road to Garden Cove, was recently in Ireland on vacation when he stopped in Sean’s Bar on the River Shannon.
The bar is officially designated by Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest pub in Ireland — dating back to 900 A.D.
It may even be the oldest in Europe or the world, however, this has yet to be proven. It was originally established on the channel to encourage potential patrons travelling on the river to come inside.
Parsons was taken with the tale of a blend of Irish Whiskey now produced by Sean’s Bar that is an original formula from the pub’s beginnings.
They were told Vikings were known to settle this area of Ireland and it was very likely Vikings possessed some of the same Irish whiskey from the original Sean’s Bar on their voyages abroad — including “Vinland” or Newfoundland — back in their original landing on the shores of the province.
“In that era, most of the whiskey was made by the monks in their abbeys,” Parsons explained.
“There is strong indication (and documentation) that the Vikings would come there solely to pick up whiskey.”
Parsons says in recent years, Sean’s Bar replicated the original distilling process to produce the same whiskey today as the monks did on their nearby island.
Originally, the government outlawed this type of whiskey making, which meant the blend was not in production. The first batch was introduced this past August.
He believes it’s possible this was the first bottle of this type of alcohol to come back to Newfoundland and Labrador in a millennium.
Even more appropriately, Kevin says his brother is also named Sean. He was sure to bring back some whiskey and memorabilia for that reason as well.
As for the decision on whether to save the whiskey, or to crack it open and enjoy, Parsons has a solution for that — he bought two bottles.
He expects to enjoy the return of the same type of whiskey that possibly once travelled to Newfoundland with the Vikings — this time, 1,000 years later, with his brother Sean.