Irish gallon


In Ireland, a unit of dry and liquid capacity, = 217.6 cubic inches. opens a new page containing a chart that shows relationships between this unit and other units in its system

Act Ninth Year of George II, Cap 9 (1735)


In Ireland, a dry measure, = 271¼ cubic inches, an eighth of the Irish bushel.

Irish Act 10 Hen VII c22 (1495)

1 Anne 13; 1 Geo. 3; 9 Geo. 2; 26 Geo. 3. See First Report page 11.



Wakefield compares the English and Irish gallons, with magnitudes supplied by the Custom House, Dublin. Below are the values he gives for the sizes of the gallons.

  Wine Measure Dry Measure
cubic inches
English 231 268.8
Irish 217.6 217.6

Wakefield (1812), page 197.


Nothing, I believe, now induces the use of poteen, but a lingering prejudice on the part of the lower classes that it is “more wholesome” than legally distilled whiskey. At Ballina, county Mayo, poteen is sold at 4s. the gallon; legal whiskey is vended at 6s. 2p.; but the smuggler measures by the old Irish gallon, and his spirit is always 12 per cent. below proof. The legal distiller uses the imperial gallon, and the spirit is 25 per cent. above proof; so that the difference of strength alone gives the purchaser of the lawful article an advantage which fully counterbalances the difference of price, without taking into consideration the difference in quantity, which is, however, considerable; and, moreover, all risk is avoided.

Appendix F.
CHIEF INSPECTOR'S REPORT as to the State of the Revenue Police, and various suggestions offered by him.
Page 276.

We have given the subject much consideration, and have made inquiries from many persons conversant with the present state of illicit distillation in Ireland, and find the general opinion to be that the increase which took place, from time to time, in the duty on spirits, subsequent to its having been reduced to 2s. per English wine gallon at proof, by the Act of 4 Geo. 4, c. 94, is the principal cause of the great increase of that evil.

Previous to the passing of that Act the duty was charged according to the capacity of the Irish gallon, but without reference to the strength of the spirits (which was, however, generally 25 per cent. over proof). The Act substituted the English wine gallon, and a subsequent Act the imperial gallon.

Appendix O.
COPY of the Report of Mr. Lobie and Mr. Steel on Illicit Distillation and the Revenue Police in Ireland.
Pages 364-365.

The two quotations above are from:

United Kingdom. House of Commons.
Reports from Committees. Vol 4 of 12.
Session 31 January - 12 August 1854.
Vol. X of the Session.
REPORT from the Select Committee of the House of Lords, appointed to consider the Consequences of extending the Functions of the Constabulary in Ireland to the Suppression or Prevention of Illicit Distillation; together with the minutes of evidence, and an appendix and index.

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