Over a million people flocked to experience an Irish whiskey distillery last year. Why not go with the flow this year to discover the craft and characters behind the ‘water of life’?
Now a world leader in whiskey experiences, the quality and quantity of distillery tours on the island of Ireland is simply outstanding.
With Irish whiskey having undergone a huge renaissance over the last decade there are opportunities galore to follow the line from grain to glass north, south, east and west through the island’s stunning landscapes and elegant cities.
IrishWhiskey360° provides a map and information on 17 of the island’s most important distilleries that offer tours, tastings and behind the scenes secrets about their golden elixirs.
These distilleries include five in Dublin alone – Teeling, Pearse Lyons, Dublin Liberties, Roe & Co and Jameson, the world’s best-selling Irish whiskey.
Head north and you’ll find Slane Distillery, County Meath, included in the Lonely Planet list of world’s most unique distilleries and, on the rugged north coast of Northern Ireland, Bushmills Distillery, where triple distilling has been practised for over 400 years.
Taste the west at Dingle or Connacht Whiskey distilleries, go south to the Royal Oak distillery in Carlow and meander through the midlands to find the famous Tullamore D.E.W.
There’s a story behind every blend that is as unique as the flavour, and these make for fascinating tour experiences.
Ballykeefe Distillery, near the medieval city of Kilkenny, is a recent addition to Ireland’s lengthening list of artisan distilleries. This farm distillery is built around a commitment to environmental protection. Its highly rated tour takes you back through the ages of Irish whiskey and then through each stage of the Ballykeefe distilling process, which uses barley grown on the farm and water from an aquifer deep underground.
Another new experience for whiskey lovers is the Lambay Whiskey VIP tour which combines a whiskey masterclass with a visit to a private island off Ireland’s east coast, owned by the Baring family. The Barings created Lambay Whiskey in partnership with Maison Camus, the French family famous for their Cognac, who provide the casks in which the whiskey is matured.
The exclusive experience includes a walking tour led by the Barings around their family home and castle grounds. Afterwards, guests are invited to discover the unique taste of Lambay Irish Whiskey in a three-part whiskey tasting masterclass in the quaint surroundings of the island’s Bothy Clubhouse.
Guests hear the story and learn about the craft process of Lambay Whiskey before visiting the bonded warehouse called the Sea Cask Room. Private dining and overnight accommodation can also be arranged.