Irish Distilleries and Tours

Irish whiskey is booming, and Ireland can satisfy every possible whiskey tour aspiration, from intimate artisan craft distilleries to remote historic homesteads and convenient tourist destinations. Check websites and social media for tour availability and times, and book online to avoid disappointment. Operational distilleries currently without tours are listed separately, as many are likely to open their doors over the next year. Anticipated newcomers, who may or may not get further than the architect’s drawing board, are also listed.

North

Score A Hot Ticket

Echlinville Distillery near Kircubbin, County Down

Pat yourself on the back if you manage to tour Shane Braniff’s Echlinville Distillery, hosting as few as 12-15 visitors per month. Jarlath Watson, always a dapper gent in his tweeds, will have a tasty libation on hand: maybe a dram of Dunville’s Irish whiskey, Jawbox Belfast Cut Classic dry gin, or the Echlinville Single Estate Irish Pot Still gin. We’re excited because their single malt Irish whiskey will turn 3 years old this year. Experience Echlinville from £15 to £35. echlinville.com

Go Big with Bushmills

Old Bushmills Distillery Bushmills, County Antrim

If you can decipher the most baffling arrangement of stills and pipework in Northern Ireland’s most famous whiskey distillery, then you will have earned your drams and your diploma in whiskey tasting. The Bushmills 12 year old Distillery Reserve is the must-buy souvenir bottle. Standard and deluxe tours priced £7.50 to £75. bushmills.com

Operational Distillery

Rademon Estate County Down
(tours expected late 2016)

Proposed Distilleries

Crumlin Road Gaol County Antrim
(no opening date set)

Niche Drinks County Londonderry
(no opening date set)

Portaferry County Down
(no opening date set)

Sliabh Liag County Donegal
(opening late 2017)

South

Head Straight to The Source

Jameson Experience Midleton, County Cork

Despite the appearances at Bow Street, Dublin, the Midleton campus is where the world’s Jameson is really made. A close encounter with the world’s largest pot still, vintage distillery vehicles, a massive waterwheel, and master distiller Barry Crockett’s birthplace can all be experienced on a visit to the pretty courtyards of the Old Midleton Distillery. For collectors, this is your chance to pick up Midleton 20th Anniversary and Midleton 1973. Tours and tastings from ¤16 to ¤49. jamesonwhiskey.com

Become A Whiskey Scholar

Irish Whiskey Academy Midleton, County Cork

What this brilliant whiskey school at Midleton can’t teach you about Irish whiskey making isn’t worth knowing. Coopering, production, blending, and cask sampling, this place sets the standard for its intoxicating style of instruction. Graduates of the two-day experience receive the Midleton Academy Single Pot Still bottle. Courses from ¤175 to ¤1,199. irishwhiskeyacademy.com

Old Jameson Distillery in Dublin (Photo by Matthew Thompson)

Operational Distilleries

Blackwater County Waterford
(distilling gin since 2015, whiskey production and tours planned for 2017)

St. Patrick’s County Cork
(distilling gin and vodka, with ambitions to make whiskey)

Waterford County Waterford

West Cork Distillers County Cork

Proposed Distilleries

Dúchas or Kinsale County Cork
(no opening date set)

Gortinore County Waterford
(no opening date set)

Tipperary Boutique County Tipperary
(no opening date set)

East

Stick Close to Home

Old Jameson Distillery Dublin

A must-see destination for any Dublin visitor, this busy tourist attraction is built inside the former Bow Street Distillery. Miss this place at your peril: entertaining and informative for the casual visitor, yet with broad tasting options to satisfy the palate of the knowledgeable enthusiast. Don’t leave without filling your own bottle of Jameson Select Reserve Cask Strength Black Barrel, exclusive to the well-stocked whiskey shop. Tours range from ¤16 to ¤30 with discounts for booking online. jamesonwhiskey.com

Stir Your Interest

Teeling Whiskey Distillery Dublin

Have you lost that Teeling Feeling? If so, go see what all the fuss is about with the boys that brought distilling back to Dublin. Get your nose into their distillery-exclusive single malt or explore the expanding lexicon of bespoke Teeling whiskey cocktails in the Bang Bang Bar. Tours and tastings from ¤14 to ¤30. teelingdistillery.com

Blend Your Own Whiskey

Irish Whiskey Museum Dublin

A compelling account of the history of Irish whiskey, set in the heart of Dublin. Try your hand at creating your own blended whiskey or learn to discriminate between the classic Irish styles in a comparative tasting session. Tours and experiences from ¤16 to ¤26. irishwhiskeymuseum.ie

Get The VIP Treatment

Tullamore D.E.W. Tullamore, County Offaly

New brand owners—check! New distillery—check! New bottlings—check! Indulge yourself with the Ultimate Distillery Experience, where you can tour the distillery and warehouse with the distillery ambassador, be entertained at the distillery house, try your hand at blending, and taste the choicest pours from their varied range of whiskeys. Relax, William Grant & Sons knows how to host in style. Prices from ¤12 to ¤150. tullamoredew.com

Guests immerse themselves in whiskey history at Kilbeggan Distillery. (Photo by Simon Crowe)

Step Back in Time

Kilbeggan Distillery Experience Kilbeggan, County Westmeath

Ancient stills and a refurbished waterwheel are brought back to life at this historic distillery, where global brand ambassador John Cashman draws cask samples in the warehouse using a valinch. Experiential tastings feature the Kilbeggan, Tyrconnell, and Connemara ranges. Tours from ¤9 to ¤80. kilbeggandistillery.com

Hit The Trifecta

Walsh Whiskey Distillery County Carlow

The only independent distiller to craft all three types of Irish whiskey—pot still, grain, and malt whiskey—Bernard and Rosemary Walsh’s stunning new distillery at Royal Oak opened in June. Set on the 40-acre grounds of an 18th century estate, the distillery is able to produce 650,000 cases of whiskey annually. Watch for creative new expressions to be added to the Irishman and Writers Tears range starting in 2019. Tours are ¤15. walshwhiskey.com

Operational Distilleries

Alltech County Carlow
(distilling will move to the Pearse Lyons Distillery)

Cooley County Louth

Glendalough County Wicklow
(tours of the new premises expected soon)

Great Northern County Louth

Proposed Distilleries

Boann County Meath
(opening 2016, tours from late 2017)

Dublin Whiskey Company County Dublin
(opening 2017)

Pearse Lyons County Dublin
(opening 2017)

Powerscourt County Wicklow
(opening 2018)

Slane County Meath
(opening planned for late 2016)

Old Bushmills Distillery uses water from Saint Columb’s Rill, a tributary of the River Bush. (Photo by Matthew Thompson)

West

Get Crafty

Dingle Distillery Dingle, County Kerry

Considered Ireland’s original craft distillery, Dingle is an intimate, independent operation producing just two casks per day in a former sawmill. Dingle’s pioneering founder Oliver Hughes died suddenly last July, though his memory will be toasted when their first whiskey is bottled. Distilling since 2012, there is no whiskey ready to sample, but their vodka and gin, made with Irish botanicals, offer some tasty consolation. Tours ¤10. dingledistillery.ie

Head Off the Beaten Path

The Shed Distillery of P.J. Rigney Drumshanbo, County Leitrim

With its gleaming stills, the first new distillery in deep rural Connacht in 101 years is the brainchild of P.J. Rigney, who has brought employment, experimental distilling, and immense pride back to this scenic region. While waiting on the whiskey, they offer a rather special Drumshando Gunpowder Irish gin made with Asian botanicals and gunpowder tea. thesheddistillery.com

Find A New Frontier

Connacht Whiskey Company Ballina, County Mayo

Smart as a pin, this modern distillery with its three Canadian-built stills handles everything from mashing to bottling on-site. In the Mullarkey Bar, named after the founder’s ancestor who was incarcerated in Sligo gaol for illicit distillation, your bartender will conjure up a glass of Spade & Bushel (their sourced whiskey), Conncullin Irish gin, poitín, or even a signature cocktail. Tours and spirits sampling from ¤10 to ¤20. connachtwhiskey.com

Proposed Distilleries

Burren County Clare
(no opening date set)

Nephin County Mayo
(no opening date set)

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