Background: I sell whisk(e)y for a living, and have 2 degrees in history and am an all-around nerd. While there's no difinitive start date to distillation, the popular agreement is that it was a Muslim invention within the study of alchemy. (Side note: any word that starts with "al," such as alchemy, algebra, etc. were Muslim in origin). And this obsession with alchemy didn't start until much later, some say during the 11th century. I seem to recall some references to alchemy in the writings of either Judah Halevy or Ibn Daud, in 11th-12th century Spain/al Andalus, but its been a while since I looked at their stuff and maybe I'm just imagining it. That's all to say that the legend of our favorite Irish bishop bringing distillation to Ireland in the 5th century, I can almost guarantee, is false, as the technology wouldn't be around for another 500 years or so. Does that mean the Irish weren't the first of the islands to make hooch? It's still entirely possible, but wouldn't have happened till much later than legend has it.