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The Clas­si­cal Gaelic term for whiskey is “Uisce Beatha,” which trans­lates to “wa­ter of life.” In Ire­land, the spirit has be­come al­most as ubiq­ui­tous as wa­ter, ever since sur­geons be­gan us­ing it in the 1400s. In 2016, the sales vol­ume of whiskey was up nearly 19 per­cent, with rev­enues top­ping $795 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the Dis­tilled Spir­its Coun­cil, a na­tional trade as­so­ci­a­tion that mon­i­tors Ir­ish Whiskey ex­port to the U.S. The growth is attributed to the rise of high-end and ul­tra-pre­mium Ir­ish whiskeys, some­thing in­creas­ingly more peo­ple have dis­cov­ered when vis­it­ing the Emer­ald Isle. The fol­low­ing self-guided tour can take whiskey lovers to five dif­fer­ent dis­til­leries across Ire­land, while also af­ford­ing the op­por­tu­nity to wit­ness the coun­try’s famed rolling coun­try­side.


Lo­cated off Smith­field Square in Dublin, the site of Jameson’s pre­mier distillery dates back to 1780 and just re­opened in March fol­low­ing a makeover cost­ing ap­prox­i­mately 13 mil­lion dol­lars. Also known as the “Home of Jameson,” the re­vamped Jameson

Distillery Bow St. is part of the Ir­ish Whiskey Tourism Strat­egy’s aim to bring 1.9 an­nual whiskey tourists to Ire­land by 2025.

Guests are wel­come to take one of three com­pre­hen­sive tours of the premises, be­gin­ning with “The Bow St. Ex­pe­ri­ence,” which un­cov­ers Jameson’s his­toric roots while of­fer­ing a peek into the com­pany’s high-tech pro­duc­tion process. “The Whiskey Mak­ers” and “The Whiskey Shak­ers” mas­ter­classes, mean­while, take guests to the brand-new live-mat­u­ra­tion house, af­ford­ing the rare op­por­tu­nity to taste one of the world’s most fa­mous whiskies straight from the cask.


Just un­der 60 miles west of Dublin, Kilbeggan is set on the Ir­ish mid­lands of County West­meath on the River Brosna, a trib­u­tary of Ire­land’s long­est nat­u­ral wa­ter­course, the River Shan­non.

The town is home to the epony­mous Kilbeggan Distillery, Ire­land’s old­est li­censed distillery that was es­tab­lished in 1757. When the U.S. in­tro­duced Pro­hi­bi­tion in 1920, Kilbeggan’s towns­peo­ple united to pre­vent their beloved distillery from clos­ing, pay­ing its li­cense fees and mak­ing sure that its stills re­mained full of the good stuff.

Nearly a cen­tury later, Kilbeggan Distillery has ex­panded with a cop­per-lined col­umn still off­site in County Louth, where its fa­mous 86-proof sin­gle-grain whiskey is dis­tilled to­day. Vis­i­tors have the op­tion to choose from four dif­fer­ent tours of the orig­i­nal lo­ca­tion: the one-hour “Ap­pren­tice

Tour,” the 90-minute “Dis­tillers Tour,” the three­hour “Con­nois­seur Ex­pe­ri­ence” and the one-hour “Stan­dard Tour” for par­ties num­ber­ing more than 10 peo­ple.


About a 15-minute drive south from Kilbeggan is another distillery that’s also open to the pub­lic. The ini­tials in Tullamore D.E.W. be­long to Daniel E. Wil­liams, a one-time sta­ble boy who be­came the com­pany’s owner through a dis­tinct blend of hard work and busi­ness savvy. And speak­ing of blends: Tullamore D.E.W. is fa­mous for its tripledis­tilled, triple-blend whiskey, which is attributed to Wil­liams’s grand­son, Des­mond Wil­liams.

Vis­i­tors can learn about the distillery’s 200-yearold his­tory dur­ing any one of Tullamore D.E.W.’s ad­ven­tures. “Cu­ri­ous Taster’s Jour­ney” takes guests into the distillery’s Old Bonded Ware­house, and “Whiskey Wise Master­class” also serves as an im­mer­sive bi­o­graph­i­cal primer on Daniel E. Wil­liams and his for­mi­da­ble legacy. The “Ul­ti­mate Distillery Ex­pe­ri­ence,” mean­while, is best for those seek­ing VIP treat­ment. For ev­ery­one else, there’s the Vis­i­tor Cen­tre, a gift shop and whiskey-in­spired fare at The Bond Restau­rant.

Jameson distillery in Dublin

Tast­ing room at the Tullamore Dew distillery

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