Trip idea: Ireland's whiskey trail

Kilbeggan Distillery Experience

Let's raise a glass to the island's distilleries – they've made Irish whiskey so special it deserves its 'extra e'.

Irish whiskey has legions of fans scattered across the globe – but we're not content with letting you enjoy its sweet taste from afar. We want to take you on a journey to introduce you to the unique personalities of our "uisce beatha" (ishka baa-ha) or whiskey. And in between, you can admire the lush landscapes, buzzing cities and warm Irish welcome that comes as part of the deal – just remember to designate a driver!

Ireland's whiskey trail

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Dublin's fine whiskey heritage

Grab your tulip-shaped glass and pay a visit to some distinctive gems on the Irish whiskey trail in Dublin's fair city.

A walking 15 mins
The Jameson Distillery

See where it all began for Jameson's whiskey

They may not make this lovely whiskey here anymore, but at the Jameson Distillery on Dublin's Bow Street, you'll get an amazing story, a taste of this exceptionally smooth whiskey and a good look at how it all comes together in the triple distillation process (hence the extra 'e')! Check out the Whiskey Makers Experience and blend your own, or perhaps opt for the Whiskey Shakers Masterclass. Just imagine the stories you can regale your friends with when you head back home...

 

B walking 15 mins
Roe & Co Distillery

The cool new kid on the block

Named for George Roe, the man who helped bring about the golden age of Irish whiskey in the 19th century, Roe & Co Distillery is Dublin’s coolest new whiskey distillery. Nearly a hundred years since the original distillery closed its gates in 1926, Roe & Co is taking advantage of the renewed interest in Irish whiskey. Expect a fun and interactive experience on the Powerhouse tour where you can learn about blending techniques and the science of distilling. 

C walking 5 mins
Teeling Whiskey Distillery

A new distillery with an old legacy

The Teeling Whiskey Distillery was the first new distillery in Dublin in over 125 years, but the Teeling family is not new to the business. They have been distilling whiskey since 1782, when one Walter Teeling set up a craft distillery in the Liberties area of Dublin. Rekindling the family's love affair with whiskey, Jack and Stephen Teeling are bringing more choice and innovation to the family brand. And while they're at it, everyone's invited to discover Teeling spirits on the engaging distillery tour.

 

D
Dublin Liberties Distillery

Can't get enough of Dublin whiskies?

You could plan a whole whiskey trip and never have to leave Dublin – that’s how varied the city's whiskey offering is. If you want to extend your stay, then make time to stop in to Pearse Lyons Distillery. Based in the restored St James’ Church, you can admire the stained glass windows while enjoying your distillery tour. Or, if you’re still not satisfied, try one of the city’s newest establishments, the Dublin Liberties Distillery and learn all about the production process before sampling its award-winning whiskies at the Tasting Bar. 

Big flavours around Ireland’s Ancient East

Time can reveal big flavours, and no-one knows the power of time better than Ireland’s Ancient East.

E driving 1 hr 30 mins
Slane Distillery © Shutterstock

Reviving ancient traditions in the Boyne Valley

With fertile soil and pristine water, the Boyne Valley is an ideal spot for distilling whiskey. In the past, several distilleries called this picturesque region home, but all were eventually shut down. Now, Slane Distillery is bringing whiskey back to the Boyne Valley for a new generation. Learn all about the whiskey-making process on the distillery tour and try a tutored tasting of the triple casked Slane Irish whiskey. You can finish there, or for an extra fee, delve into the colourful history of Slane Castle on a guided tour. 

F driving 1 hr 30 mins
Kilbeggan Distillery

Spirits of centuries past

It's all about seeing, smelling and tasting at Kilbeggan Distillery. Built in 1757, it was a powerhouse of whiskey production until it closed in 1957. But thanks to a community of determined volunteers, it sprang into life again in 2007 and now produces an incredible 250,000 bottles of smooth, blended whiskey every year. Check out the creaking timber water wheel and giant steam engine – all the workings of the distillation process preserved since the 1800s. Only a short drive away, don’t miss out on Tullamore D.E.W. distillery, named after stable boy turned distillery owner, Daniel E Williams who opened the original distillery in 1829. The full tour takes you through each stage of the whiskey-making craft and even gives you the chance to create your own unique blend. 

If you have more time:

Head east to the Old Mill House on the Powerscourt Estate in County Wicklow. Here, at the Powerscourt Distillery, you can feel the passion of the team, as you walk around the faithfully restored barn – the bell that originally called the estate's workers to lunch still hangs on the wall. Learn all about the history of the estate, and the processes that drive master distiller, Noel Sweeney.

G driving 1 hr 30 mins
Ballykeefe Distillery

Blending tradition and innovation

Centuries ago, many small family farms combined agriculture and distilling. Thanks to the passion of Morgan Ging, Ballykeefe Distillery became the first distillery in Ireland to revive this old tradition of growing and distilling barley at the same location. Take a tour at Ballykeefe and you'll be both educated on the origins of whiskey and entertained by the story of the Ging family's passion for distilling.

H
Walsh Whiskey Distillery

Small but mighty flavours in Ireland’s sunny south-east

The distilleries of Ireland’s Ancient East are all about the personal touch. Blackwater Distillery is proud to craft gin flavours that are unique to County Waterford. Book ahead and you can see how Waterford Distillery is revolutionising how Irish whiskey is produced. In County Carlow, pay a visit to the Walsh Distillery, where the Walsh family handcrafts whiskeys using both pot stills and column stills. Fans of Irish coffee, take note: this is the home of the Hot Irishman – the perfect Irish coffee recipe in a bottle! 

Artisan charm along the Wild Atlantic Way

On the west coast of Ireland, a fine tradition of excellence creates a delicious tradition for Irish whiskey.

I driving 2 hrs 30 mins
Clonakilty Distillery

A skilful crafting of unique flavours

Surrounded by the unspoiled beauty of County Cork, the Scully family at Clonakilty Distillery nurtures and harvests the area's unique wild botanicals, which then add to the exceptional flavours of their whiskies. On a distillery tour, you can immerse yourself in the smells, sounds and tastes of a real working distillery. Afterwards have a bite to eat at the on-site restaurant, a showcase of West Cork's local producers.

J driving 4 hrs
Dingle

Dingle does it in style

Eclectic, quaint and really rather beautiful, Dingle even draws fans from the Atlantic Ocean – resident dolphin Funghie pops up to say hello to anyone in his neighbourhood! If you've headed offshore to see him, then your next stop has to be the Dingle Distillery to warm up. It's here that they use three distinctive, hand-crafted copper pot stills to create what the owners call "the ultimate Irish whiskey." And if for some strange reason you don't fancy a whiskey when you visit, the distillery's vodka and gin are something special, too!

K driving 3hrs 15 mins
Galway © James Bowden

The untamed spirit of the west

Rugged, wild and laden with history, it’s no wonder the folks at Lough Mask Distillery set up their headquarters in Killateeaun in County Mayo. Producing whiskey, gin and vodka in handmade copper stills, this distillery is all about quality, not quantity. The end result is small batches of finely blended spirits. 

If you have more time

What could be better than a self-guided whiskey trail around Galway city? Official venues on the trail have a stone engraving at their entrance, so look out at Tigh Neachtain's, Garavan's, and more – there are 11 pubs on the trail.

L
Sliabh Liag Distillery

Bold flavours reign over the mighty Wild Atlantic Way

If you can linger in County Cork, then head to West Cork Distillers. Inspired by the artisan food of the area, three lifelong friends have distilled a range of classic Irish whiskies for you to try. Want to continue your whiskey experience in County Mayo? Then try the Connacht Distillery, where the Stapleton family has created a line of hand-crafted distilled spirits that reflect the heritage and history of its Irish and American roots. Or make your way to County Donegal's Sliabh Liag Distillers, the first distillery in the county for over 175 years! 

Northern Ireland's whiskey heritage

A selection of big hitters brings you on tours laden with history, to parts of the island where beauty knows no bounds.

M driving 2 hrs
The Old Bushmills Distillery

Where whiskey flowed first

If you've been lured by the beauty of the Causeway Coastal Route – one of the best road trips in the world – then you simply can't miss a trip to the village of Bushmills, anchored by none other than Old Bushmills. One of the few distilleries in the world to distil, blend and bottle the whiskey under the same roof, it's also the oldest working distillery on the island of Ireland. So historical is this place that it uses water from nearby Saint Columb’s Rill – a river that's said to have been blessed by St Columcille. Maybe that's what makes it so sweet and smooth?

If you have more time

Head on over to Belfast for the Whiskey Walk around Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter with Irish Whiskey Ambassador Joe Magowan. You'll get to experience a selection of Belfast’s best whiskey bars and a whiskey cocktail demonstration.

N driving 2 hrs
Echlinville Distillery

From field to glass

In 2013, the Echlinville Distillery became the first licensed distillery in over 125 years in Northern Ireland. The people behind the venture have farmed this land for generations and they know a little something about terroir – that mysterious term that takes in everything from soil to microclimate. Maybe that's what enables them to produce a whiskey that is absolutely rooted in place. Learn all about the journey from field to glass on the distillery tour, and enjoy a tasting or even a selection of sweet treats on the Afternoon Tea tour

O
Rademon Distillery

Flower power in County Down

Thanks to the abundance of natural resources, distilleries in County Down have been harvesting the power of mother nature to create delicious batches of gin and whiskey. Situated in the Mourne Mountains, Killowen Distillery has perfected the science of distilling thanks to its handmade artisan stills. Harnessing natural flavours is the key behind the success of Rademon Distillery. Its Shortcross gin has won a number of awards, and its whiskey is sure to follow suit when it hits the shelves.   

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