TOP WHISKEY DISTILLERIES IN IRELAND
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.
JAMESON DISTILLERY BOW ST.
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