Some of our Favourite Irish Whiskey Trail Tourism Attractions


Some of our Favourite Irish Whiskey Trail Tourism Attractions

A few weeks ago, as editor of IrishWhiskey.com and the Irish Whiskey Trail I was interviewed by BBC Radio 4 about the continuing growth of the Irish Whiskey sector and industry.

One of the points that I emphasised in my interview was the huge potential also of Irish Whiskey Tourism. See BBC Radio 4 Irish Whiskey Tourism – Stuart McNamara

Over €6 Billion is spent each year by tourists visiting Ireland and 30% of this spend or €2 Billion is spent on Food and Drink Tourism. The potential for Irish Whiskey Tourism to contribute to and further enhance this significant figure is obvious.

That is why, a few years ago, I launched a family of Irish Whiskey Trail Tourism sites to support the work already completed on developing the Irish Whiskey Digital Brand through IrishWhiskey.Com and our other global Irish Whiskey sites such as IrishWhiskey.Fr etc.

The Irish Whiskey Trail

The Irish Whiskey Trail website at WhiskeyTrail.ie showcases the top 25 or so Irish Whiskey Tourism venues in Ireland. Listings are awarded each year on Irish Whiskey Day to those who in our opinion are the very best Irish Whiskey Tourism Venues, Bars, etc on the Island of Ireland. All listings are free of charge, so we are never swayed by commercial or financial inducement!

In addition to the Irish Whiskey Trail, we have also created some regional Irish Whiskey Trails at the Dublin Whiskey Trail, the Ulster Whiskey Trail and the Irish Whiskey Way (South and West Coast of Ireland). Further whiskey trails are planned for Cork and Belfast next year.

For international Irish whiskey travelers, we have created a Global Irish Whiskey Trail at IrishWhiskey.Pub which allows any Irish-Whiskey-Friendly Pub anywhere in the world to promote themselves and the Irish Whiskeys they sell.

As all of our Irish Whiskey Trail websites are designed to be tourist friendly and  smartphone friendly. The idea is that an Irish Whiskey fan can take out your smartphone anywhere in the world and search for and be guided to the door of the nearest Irish Whiskey venues in the country or city they are in. Users can search by venue type, (whiskey Pub, attraction etc.), locations and Irish whiskey brand. When roll out of the new whiskey trail sites is completed next year, you will be able to use your smartphone to quickly find an Irish Whiskey Pub anywhere in the world selling the Irish Whiskey brand and expression of your choice.

Finally, as I have already mentioned, we are launching a similar site to IrishWhiskey.Pub at IrishWhiskeyDay.com which allows Irish Whiskey Tourism Venues and Irish Whiskey Pubs anywhere in the world to promote their Irish Whiskey Day tasting and education events on 3rd March each year completely free of charge. The closing date for acceptance for events to be listed on our Irish Whiskey Day world map is 31 January each year.

Following my recent BBC interview I received many emails and social media messages from my readers and followers outside Ireland asking for my own personal recommendations on what to see and do Irish Whiskey wise if visiting Ireland. I have not included some new whiskey tourism venues in Ireland as I have not yet had time to visit them in person.

So, Here are some of my own favourite 2017 Irish Whiskey Tourism Attractions in no particular order.

 

Kilbeggan Distillery

Irish Whiskey Trail Kilbeggan Distillery

Although Kilbeggan Distillery ceased production over 50 years ago, walking in the door of this old distillery today is like arriving on the day after the distillery closed in 1954. If you want a real feel of what a working Irish Whiskey Distillery looked like fifty or even one hundred years ago then look no further than Kilbeggan. The old distillery is now a fine Irish Whiskey museum complete with working water wheel and steam engine. It also has a fully working micro distillery where a limited amount of double distilled whiskey is still made today, right from grain to glass. In addition to their normal walk in tours, Kilbeggan also run a superb Connoisseurs Tour normally hosted by the Cooley Global Brand Ambassador, John Cashman. In my opinion, Kilbeggan is one of the most authentic distillery visits in Ireland.

Further details at

Irish Whiskey Trail – Kilbeggan Distillery

Stuart Reviews the Kilbeggan Distillery Connoisseur Experience

 

The Jameson Experience (Midleton, Cork and Bow Street Dublin) and the Irish Whiskey Academy (Midleton)

Jameson is owned by Irish Distillers which in turn is owned by Pernod Ricard, who are not short on money to reinvest in Irish whiskey tourism marketing. The Jameson visitor centres in Dublin and Cork were both closed for the winter of 2016 – 2017 for major renovations of both the venues and the tourism products. The new Jameson Experience offered in both their historic home in Bow Street Dublin and in the modern Irish Distillers Distillery complex in Midleton near Cork, is focused on the senses and is supported by Disney like audio visual experiences. These new visitor experiences range from their basic tour aimed at the casual tourist to their slightly more advanced offerings aimed at wannabe mixologists and wannabe aficionados. While brilliant for beginners, the more experienced Irish Whiskey fan may find it all (even the “Master Class” experience) a little disappointing. The saving grace however for the serious Irish Whiskey aficionado is the wonderful Irish Whiskey Academy in Midleton. Although expensive at €1,200, (5* hotel accommodation and meals included), their two day “Enthusiast” course is a Must-Do for every true Irish Whiskey aficionado at least once in their life.

Further details at

Irish Whiskey Academy Review

Irish Whiskey Trail – Jameson Experience Bow St. Dublin

Irish Whiskey Trail – Jameson Experience Midleton

 

Ballykeefe Distillery Kilkenny

Irish Whiskey Trail - Ballykeefe Distillery

Ballykeefe Distillery is one of Ireland’s newest distilleries and is located a few miles out side Kilkenny city which some claim to be the original, historic home of Irish Whiskey. Ballykeefe Distillery is located on an Irish Family owned Artisan Farm and like Echlinville, also claims to be 100% self-sustainable from Field to Glass. Even the spent mash from the brewing cycle is recycled as fodder for the farms cattle. The distillery which opened quietly and without fuss in summer 2017, produces triple distilled Irish Whiskey, Gin and Vodka from grain grown on the farm. The emphasis here is very much on Eco-Tourism and their distillery tours take you right from mill house to brew house and from distillery to maturation warehouse before concluding with a tasting experience in their tasting rooms in the converted horse stables.

Further details at Irish Whiskey Trail – Ballykeeffe Distillery

 

 

The Irish Whiskey Museum Dublin

Irish Whiskey Trail - Irish Whiskey Museum

The Irish Whiskey Museum, just across the road from the iconic Trinity College in Dublin City Centre, is fast becoming one of Dublin’s leading tourism attractions since it opened just 3 years ago. Learn about the history of Irish Whiskey from boom to bust to boom from a wonderfully enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff of guides. Because the Irish Whiskey Museum is not affiliated to any one particular brand, you also get a wider view and experience of the Irish Whiskey world through both the tours and the after-tour whiskey tastings.

Further details at

Irish Whiskey Trail – Irish Whiskey Museum

 

Echlinville Distillery Northern Ireland

Echlinville was one of the first new Irish Whiskey Distilleries in Northern Ireland outside of Bushmills. Echlinville is located on the east coast of Northern Ireland on the Ards peninsula near Belfast. The new distillery which produces both Echlinville and Jawbox Irish Gin and Dunville Irish Whiskey is located on a large family owned farm-estate. As all of the whiskey and gin from Echlinville is produced from grain grown on the family farm, they are 100% self sustainable and are truly a field to glass terroir-focused distillery.

Further details at

Irish Whiskey Trail – Echlinville Distillery

 

 

Walsh Whiskey Distillery Carlow

Irish Whiskey Trail Walsh Distillery Carlow

Walsh Whiskey entered the Irish Whiskey world a few years ago with their premium range of Writers Tears and The Irishman whiskey brands based on Midleton sourced whiskey which they further matured and finished. Their own distillery opened in 2016 and is now fully in production. The new distillery is set in the beautiful grounds of the Royal Oak farm estate a few miles outside Carlow town. The original estate house Holloden House, surrounded by 200 year old oak trees is now being carefully restored as part of their growing whiskey tourism offering. Distillery tours run all year around  and the distillery also runs shuttle buses during summer months from Carlow and nearby hotels. Tour frequency is reduced outside of summer months, so do check with the distillery before traveling.

Further details at

Irish Whiskey Trail – Walsh Whiskey Distillery Carlow

 

 

The Teeling Whiskey Distillery Dublin

Irish Whiskey Trail - Teeling Distillery

The Teeling Whiskey Distillery which opened in 2015, is the first Irish Whiskey Distillery to open in Dublin since the closure of Jameson and Powers distilleries in 1978 when all Dublin Whiskey production moved to Midleton in Cork. The new Teeling distillery is located in the heart of Dublin’s Liberties area which was the heart of Dublin’s industrial and artisan old city from the industrial revolution in the 1700’s right up to the late 1950’s. The Liberties is one of the oldest parts of Dublin and is famed for it’s richness of heritage, culture and character going back for hundreds of years. The Liberties was also the beating heart of Dublin’s earliest whiskey industry. Today, the Liberties is reemerging as Dublin’s new Whiskey quarter and some are even beginning to refer to this new quarter in the Liberties as “The Stilleries”! The Teeling Distillery Tours, run by a young and enthusiastic group of tour guides, capture all that is best about the old and the modern story of whiskey distilling in Dublin.

Further details at

Irish Whiskey Trail – Teeling Distillery Dublin

 

Dingle Distillery Kerry

Irish Whiskey Trail Dingle Distillery

The Dingle Distillery located on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way Coastal Drive was probably one of, if not the first, of the new Irish Whiskey Artisan Distilleries which are now springing up all over Ireland. The distillery which was originally supposed to only produce Irish Whiskey was also one of the first Irish Distilleries to experiment with Gin and vodka production. Their success in this area has been impressive. Dingle Gin which was unheard of ten years ago is now one of the best known and most respected Irish Gin brands on the market today. Dingle Distillery is one of my own favourite working Irish Whiskey Distilleries, not just because of the quality of their products, but because of the way they have carefully crafted their brands and developed their distillery in recent years. They don’t shout about what they do on social media, but everything they do is done extremely well, quietly and without fuss. One of the most authentic working Irish Distillery tours. Don’t forget if you have traveled all the way down to Dingle that it is also home to one of Ireland’s very best Irish Whiskey Pubs – Dick Macks Pub in Church Street Dingle.  Dingle Distillery also own one of Dublin’s very best whiskey bars the Dingle Whiskey Bar near Trinity College which we awarded “Dublin Whiskey Bar of the Year” to in 2016.

Further details at

Irish Whiskey Trail – Dingle Distillery

Irish Whiskey Trail – Dick Macks Pub Dingle

Irish Whiskey Trail – The Dingle Whiskey Bar Dublin

 

Tullamore D.E.W. Co. Offaly

Irish Whiskey Trail Tullamore DEW Visitor Centre

Tullamore D.E.W. is one of Ireland’s leading Irish Whiskey export brands, particularly in continental Europe. What many may not realise is that the original Tullamore Distillery closed in the 1950’s at the end of Ireland’s Whiskey recession. Since then, Tullamore D.E.W. whiskey has been made from a unique blend of Single Pot Still, Single Malt and Single Grain Irish whiskey from other Irish distilleries such as Midleton. All this changed three years ago with the opening of a brand new €35 Million distillery in Tullamore. The new Tullamore DEW Distillery celebrates it’s third birthday in September 2017, so from then on, we can expect that the whiskey blended to make the Tullamore D.E.W. that we all know and enjoy is once again distilled in the town of Tullamore. The Tullamore D.E.W. Visitor centre is located in Tullamore town centre, a few kms from the new distillery which is not generally open to visitors. As mentioned in my earlier comments on the Jameson Experience in Dublin and Midleton, the Tullamore DEW Visitor Centre tours are aimed more at the general tourist rather than the true Irish Whiskey aficionado. However, they do offer a bespoke tour (pre-booking essential) called the “Ultimate Distillery Experience” for the experienced aficionado which includes a full behind the scenes tour of the actual distillery.

Further details at

Irish Whiskey Trail – Tullamore DEW Visitor Centre

 

 

Bushmills Distillery Northern Ireland

irish Whiskey Trail Bushmills Distillery

Bushmills can claim to be one of the oldest working whiskey distilleries in the world and they trace their heritage back to the granting of their original licence to distill in 1608. The Old Bushmills Distillery, famous for its triple distilled Single Malt and blended Single Malt-Single Grain whiskeys including Black Bush, runs a wide range of visitor offerings including distillery tours and tastings. Be aware that because Bushmills is a working distillery, that tours are occasionally postponed or suspended because of production constraints. For this reason and also given that Bushmills in located at the far North of Ireland, always check with the distillery before planning the long journey to visit them.

Further details at

Irish Whiskey Trail Bushmills Distillery

 

 

 

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