January 15th, 2021

You never know what you’ll find in family history

By Letter to the Editor on April 1, 2020.

Great article in your Friday, March 20 edition on Irish Coffee. Unfortunately the author failed to acknowledge the inventor of Irish Coffee, Joe Sheridan.

Joe was the chef at the Foynes Airport on the Shannon River in County Limerick, Ireland in the 1940s. It was the main airport for the Pan Am and Imperial Airways Flying Boats between America and Europe.

On one particularly cold night in 1942 a Flying Boat had left Foynes for Newfoundland but had to return some hours later due to bad weather out over the Atlantic Ocean. The restaurant was told to prepare for a load of cold, tired and weary passengers. Joe decided that a drop of Irish Whiskey in their coffees might help their recovery. When asked what excellent beverage they were drinking, Joe replied without hesitation, “That’s Irish Coffee!”

Readers may ask, why the need for clarification? Well, Joe Sheridan was the paternal first cousin of the husband of my first cousin twice removed! Amazing what you can discover when you research your family history. Use the opportunity of this isolation period during the COVID-19 pandemic to research your family history … your never know what you will find!

Kieran Biggins


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