There are lots of things that make Irish whiskey unique from its long history to the Irish whiskey act (passed in 1980). If you have an interest in Irish whiskey – and just maybe your mouth waters at the very sight of your favorite bottle – your trip to Ireland can’t be complete without taking at least one present day Irish whiskey distillery tour.
You’ll hear it called Locke Distillery Museum, too. Founded in 1757 they will also claim to be the oldest continually licensed Irish whiskey distillery. In 1843 John Locke took over from the McManus family. The grounds boast a working water wheel. You’ll also note the distillery can be powered by steam engine, in the event of low water on the Brosna River. A little over an hour west of Dublin, the Irish whiskey distillery is in central Ireland. NOTE: According to our research, Kilbeggan will not be producing Irish whiskey until 2014. They released a sampler of less mature varieties, however. The grounds and restaurant are currently open for Irish whiskey distillery tours.
John Teeling started this Irish whiskey distillery in 1987. It is the only independently Irish owned distillery on the Emerald Isle, excepting Kilbeggan … which is actually being revived by Cooley Distillery. In our book that makes these two brands kind of like brothers, who will operate separately under different labels. Near Carlingford on the Cooley Peninsula, the landscape is breathtaking. Cooley Irish whiskey distillery tours are offered strictly by reservation only. You get to wear a hard hat, though, and actually go behind the scenes of this Irish whiskey distillery. NOTE: Cooley is currently renovating and closed for Irish whiskey distillery tours. They will refer you to, surprise, surprise, Kilbeggan for an Irish whiskey distillery tour.
New Midleton Distillery
Head south to County Cork to visit this Irish whiskey distillery. If you read the history of Irish whiskey, you’ll note three Irish Whiskey distilleries combined to form Irish Distilleries (IDL). The merger allowed IDL to create one production facility, which they located at Midleton, a site that could easily allow for expansion. It is the largest producing Irish whiskey distillery in Ireland. The visitor center is right next to the Midleton Distillery complex, so you shouldn’t have any trouble tying it into your trip to Ireland. At any rate, Jameson, the best selling Irish whiskey, is produced here, making it a very nice trip, indeed.
Old Bushmill’s Distillery
They say this Irish whiskey distillery first began operations in 1743 (though other reports claim 1608) while it was still in the hands of smugglers. Located in Northern Ireland, over 110,000 visitors happen by Bushmill’s every year. Of all the distilleries, Bushmill’s may have the rockiest history. Ownership changed hands quite a few times. A few lean years have no business on record at all. Bushmill’s also burned to the ground in 1885, but was swiftly rebuilt. In 2005, Diageo purchased Bushmill’s Irish whiskey Distillery. On your tour of Ireland, visit Bushmill’s for your own taste of Irish whiskey history.
Old Jameson Distillery, Dublin
Though not an actual Irish whiskey distillery many visitors to Ireland choose this attraction in the Dublin city center to learn the fascinating story of Jameson, the world’s preferred quality whiskey through the malting, milling, mashing, fermenting, distilling and maturing process. You’ll discover the time-honored secret of how three simple ingredients—water, barley and yeast—are transformed into the smooth, golden spirit that is Jameson Irish Whiskey. At the end of the guided tour each visitor is offered a complimentary glass of Jameson and select volunteers to take part in a Whiskey comparison tasting, demonstrating the subtle difference in taste between various types of Irish Whiskey, and comparing them with leading Scotch and American Whiskeys.
When it comes to Irish whiskey distilleries, you can’t go wrong with these popular Ireland attractions. After all, when it comes to Ireland vacations, you may just discover a new love for Irish whiskey in general or just a new brand of Irish whiskey you may not have considered before.
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