Keen to do a whiskey distillery in Ireland? There are around 40 active whiskey distilleries on the island of Ireland, producing some of the best whiskey in the world. Therefore, the Emerald Isle is a great destination for those who want to wet their whistle with what the Irish call uisce beatha, the water of life.
On the island, you’ll find world-famous whiskey producers like Midleton, Bushmills and Tullamore Dew. There’s also a whole crop of new distillers making their mark on the whiskey world, for instance, Dingle Distillery, The Shed Distillery and Slane Distillery.
At many of these distilleries, you can enjoy guided tours where you’ll learn and gain an appreciation of the work that goes into making these wonderful whiskeys. Thirsty? Here are some of the best whiskey distillery tours to do in Ireland.
Best Whiskey Distilleries Ireland:
Blackwater Distillery Tour
The Blackwater Distillery takes its name from the Blackwater River in West Waterford. It is on the banks of this river where you’ll find the Blackwater Distillery within a refurbished 1950s hardware store.
On a tour of the Blackwater Distillery, you’ll see firsthand the science and art of fermentation, distillation and proofing. You’ll also learn about how barrel ageing affects the taste and get to see the bottling process too. You’ll be whiskey experts by the end of this very informative and fun tour. At the end of the tour, you’ll make your way to the gallery bar where you can enjoy a tutored whiskey tasting while overlooking the distillery floor.
Bushmills Distillery Tour
Bushmills was granted a license to distil in 1608, making it the oldest licensed whiskey distillery in the world.
For over 400 years, Bushmills has been making whiskey from its distillery in County Antrim in Northern Ireland. Each bottle is made using water drawn from a tributary of the River Bush. So you really are getting a taste of the region in each sip.
You’ll find the Bushmills Visitors Centre in the distillery which is where your tour starts. This engaging tour details the production and history of Bushmills and, of course, you’ll get to sample some of its wonderful whiskeys.
Dingle Distillery Tour
You’ll find this distillery in Dingle in County Kerry and tours run all year round. Established in 2012, Dingle Distillery produced its first whiskey in 2016, but it already has a great reputation.
On a Dingle Distillery tour, you’ll see the fully functioning production facility as well as learn about the history of the Irish whiskey industry and the distillation process. The tour is a great way to soak up the sights, sounds and scents of a working distillery. Tours also include a tasting of malt and pot still whiskeys as well as four mature whiskeys from the distillery’s portfolio of maturing stock.
Jameson Midleton Distillery Tour
Jameson is the best selling Irish Whiskey in the world. The distillery was originally established in Dublin in 1810 but now its home is in the Midleton Distillery located close to Cork city.
The Midleton Distillery opened in 1975 and is the largest distillery in Ireland. It is home to some of the most famous Irish whiskeys like Jameson, Powers and Redbreast. It is also home to the largest copper pot still in the world!
Jameson Whiskey is made using barley sourced from a radius of 50km or less around the distillery. And you’ll learn this fact, as well as a whole host of other interesting tidbits and history on the Jameson distillery tour. Also during the tour, you can enjoy a whiskey tasting experience with a whiskey expert and taste and compare four of Midleton Distilleries’ premium whiskeys.
Kilbeggan Distillery Tour
Founded in 1757, Kilbeggan closed its doors in 1954 but reopened and started production again in 2007.
The Kilbeggan visitors centre is located in County Westmeath in the original distillery building. One of the remarkable things about the visitor centre is that it houses the original pot stills from the 1800s. The new distillery uses one of these pot stills, which is believed to be the oldest operational copper pot still in the world.
As you can imagine, the Kilbeggan Distillery Tour is full of history, heritage and honest to goodness great tasting whiskey.
The Teeling Family has been making whiskey since 1782. In 2015, Teeling Whiskey became the first new distillery to open in Dublin in 125 years. You’ll find it in the historic Liberties area.
On a Teeling Whiskey Distillery tour, you’ll learn the differences between Irish and Scottish whiskey and you’ll also learn about the triple distillation process and the ‘angel’s share’. You’ll witness the fermenters turn grain, water and yeast into alcohol and then you’ll see the massive copper pot stills. Saving the best till last, in the tasting room, you’ll sip Teeling’s small-batch, single-grain and single-malt whiskeys.
Roe and Co Distillery
The former Guinness Power Station in Dublin is the home of the new Roe and Co Distillery. During this tour, you’ll explore the history and distilling process of Irish whiskey.
The tour begins with a sensory experience where you sniff items in a ‘sensory box’. These items make up the flavour profile of Roe and Co Whiskey. You then get a chance to view the huge copper stills as you make your way to the workshop. Here is where you’ll get hands-on and create your own whiskey-based cocktail. The tour concludes with a seasonal cocktail in the Power House Bar.
Slane Distillery Tour
The Slane Distillery in County Meath began distilling in early 2018. It might be a new distillery but it is housed in 250-year-old stables and grain stores on the iconic Slane Castle Estate. Slane Distillery produces single malt and grain whiskeys.
As you tour Slane Distillery you’ll visit the heritage room, barley room, cooperage and maturation warehouse. You’ll also get to see the beautiful pot stills and experience the production areas. The tour concludes in the best way possible, with a tasting! You’ll learn how to sip like a pro and savour the flavours and aromas that make up the distillery’s signature triple casked blend, Slane Irish Whiskey.
The Shed Distillery Tour
P. J. Rigney founded The Shed Distillery in 2013. You’ll find it in a disused jam factory in Drumshanbo, County Leitrim. The Shed Distillery produced its first cask of whiskey in 2014. This was the first to be distilled in all of Connacht for over 101 years. Its inaugural whiskey release was Drumshanbo Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey.
On a tour of The Shed Distillery, you’ll see how its whiskey is slow-distilled by hand before enjoying an expert whiskey tasting in the maturation hall. The distillery is full of interesting exhibitions and the gift shop sells a special range of distillery-exclusive bottle editions.
Tullamore Dew Distillery Tour
Tullamore Dew is the second most popular Irish Whiskey in the world. Established in 1829, you’ll find the Tullamore Dew distillery in County Offaly in the heartlands of Ireland. The visitors centre has been welcoming whiskey lovers since 2012 and tours and tastings take place all year round.
Fun fact: Did you know DEW stands for Daniel E. Williams who created Tullamore Distillery and that they were the first Irish distillery to make a blended whiskey?
On the Tullamore Dew distillery tour, you’ll delve deeper into its rich history as well as get a chance to taste three different types of whiskey during a guided session with one of their whiskey experts.
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