Although the pubs in Ireland are sadly joining the modern world, like prohibiting smoking and no “lying about the bar” (tourists complain about that one too), there is one old tradition that simply won’t die easily. The Irish don’t abide drinking Black and Tans!
Contrary to popular belief, Black and Tan is not a drink commonly consumed in Ireland. When we visited “The Old Sod” my husband ordered a Black and Tan and got funny looks to say the least! We inquired and found that the drink has image problems in parts of Ireland because of what the Black and Tan really refers to. “It’s just not desired” was the response to a “Black and Tan” request.
The Black and Tans or Tans, composed largely of British World War I veterans, were employed by the Royal Irish Constabulary as Temporary Constables from 1920 to 1921 to suppress revolution in Ireland. Although it was established to target the Irish Republican Army, it became notorious through its numerous attacks on the Irish civilian population.
Due to the ferocity of the Tans’ behavior in Ireland and the atrocities committed, feelings continue to run high regarding their actions. “Black and Tan” or “Tan” remains a disparaging term for British in Ireland and they are still despised by many in Ireland. You can catch the reference to the Black and Tan in many an Irish folk song.
So on St Patrick’s Day, if you want to enjoy a Black and Tan, pour Smithwick or Harp (Irish), not Bass Ale (British) topped with Guinness and drink it like an Irishman!
Excerpted from: When in Ireland…Now Bring It Home!