In this decade, drinks tourism has transformed. The quality and quantity of distillery tours in Ireland is unprecedented and the visitors’ experiences are world-class.
Irish whiskey and gin lead the way, but local vodka, poitín and other drinks are also aplenty, and new distilleries both small and large keep coming up with innovative and exciting ways to wow drinks enthusiasts and to offer an educational and enjoyable time.
Below, 16 must-visit distillery tours in ireland.
ROE & CO
Last June saw the highly anticipated opening of Diageo’s ROE & Co Distillery at the old Guinness Power Station on Jame’s Street. The experience, which aims to be one of the most immersive, allows visitors to see and hear a working distillery as they learn about the science, history and culture behind whiskey. Of course there’s a complimentary cocktail at the end.
Where: 92 James’s Street, The Liberties, Dublin 8.
More info: roeandcowhiskey.com
PEARSE LYONS DISTILLERY
This boutique distillery opened its doors in 2017, inside of a former church in The Liberties, Dublin 8. It is a state-of-the-art, stunning place (it took a €20 million investment and several years to open its doors) and besides learning about whiskey itself, visitors get to discover more about the local history of an area known as the heart of Irish whiskey in Dublin. They offer four different experiences to suit all interestes and budgets.
Where: 121-122 James St, The Liberties, Dublin.
More info: pearselyonsdistillery.com
They spearheaded the new wave of Irish whiskey and became the first working distillery to function in Dublin in more than 125 years when they opened their doors in 2015. The tour guides visitors through the history of Irish whiskey and allows them to observe the fully operational distillery, before moving towards The Bang Bang Bar for a handcrafted cocktail.
Where: 13-17 Newmarket, The Liberties, Dublin 8.
More info: teelingdistillery.com
JAMESON DISTILLERY BOW ST.
A pioneer in Irish whiskey tourism, this popular tourist attraction got an €11 million makeover in 2017. The places’ history traces back to 1780 and it combines storytelling, technology, a comparative whiskey tasting and a Jameson. Besides the general tour, they offer cocktail making clases and blending classes.
Where: Bow St, Smithfield Village, Dublin 7.
More info: jamesonwhiskey.com
THE DUBLIN LIBERTIES DISTILLERY
This recent addition to The Liberties’ distilling scene opened its doors in February 2019. The tour celebrates not only the drink, but the eventful history of The Liberties and some characters behind it. It offers a modern and approachable look at Irish whiskey production inside of a working distillery with a combination of history-honouring antiques and state-of-the-art equipment, as well as a tasting of some of the distillery’s expressions at their inviting, spacious bar.
Where: 33 Mill St, The Liberties, Dublin.
More info: thedld.com
SLANE IRISH WHISKEY
Slane Castle has made a name for itself as the host of some of the best rock concerts in the contry, and since 2017, a partnership with American drinks company Brown-Forman (of Jack Daniel’s fame) allowed the Conyngham family to open a distillery. The tour of the estate and distillery combines the history of distilling, the area and the family with the occasional dash of rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia. A doble ticket including a tour of Slane Castle can be purchased as well.
Where: N51, Slanecastle Demesne, Co. Meath
More info: slaneirishwhiskey.com
Just this July 2019, Powerscourt Distillery celebrated its first anniversary by opening a visitor centre in the Old Mill House on Powerscourt Estate. The venue, with a history that traces back to 1730shas been adapted to host tours, tastings and private events and it features an intivate AV theatre and modern tasting rooms, while preserving some of the original elements of the old mill. Atendees can learn about the rich history of the place while surrounded by stunning natural beauty.
Where: Powerscourt Demesne, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow.
More info: powerscourtdistillery.com
This working distillery opened its doors in West Cork last spring. Besides featuring a state-of-the-art visitor centre, it houses a gin school where you can create your own bottle from scratch and a restaurant that celebrates local produce. You can enjoy a number of different experiences , from a classic guided tour to premium and connoisseur editions and even a whiskey and chocolate tour.
Where: The Waterfront, Clonakilty, Co. Cork.
More info: clonakiltydistillery.ie
ROYAL OAK DISTILLERY
Located within Ireland’s Ancient East, this beautiful distillery is housed in a 18th century estate and offers three premium whiskey experiences (Royal Oak Journey, Premium Malt and Connoisseur’s Choice), set in a charming background. This is one of the largest distilleries in Ireland, it produces pot still, single malt and grain whiskeys and visitors can learn about all three styles.
Where: Royal Oak, Clorusk Lower, Carlow.
More info: royaloakdistillery.com
JAMESON DISTILLERY MIDLETON
Midleton has been Jameson’s home since 1975, when it moved from Dublin after two centuries of Irish whiskey history. They offer a variety of experiences for whiskey lovers of all levels of expertise. Their Irish whiskey tasting tour includes a guided visit to the original Midleton Distillery and key buildings including their exciting microdistillery. The tour concludes with a comparative tasting.
Where: Distillery Walk, Midleton, Co. Cork.
More info: jamesonwhiskey.com
LISTOKE DISTILLERY & GIN SCHOOL
This boutique distillery in Co. Louth is a must-visit for craft gin lovers in Ireland. Their flagship activity is their popular gin school, first of its kind in Ireland, which combines a tour, masterclass, refreshments and a personalised bottle of gin. Their guided tour, which is available for private groups only, shows visitors the making of Listoke 777 Gin, including a walk-through of the process and the opportunity to become familiar with its botanicals as well as a tasting.
Where: Unit 9, Tinure, Tenure Business Park, Co. Louth.
More info: listokedistillery.ie
This pioneer of the Irish crasft spirits rebirth -it began operating in 2012- offers a tour of the production process behind their award-winning gin and vodka, as well as an introduction to their whiskey. Admire their hand-crafted copper pot stills, and learn more about the story behind this independent, family-owned artisan distillery located in one of Ireland’s most beautiful regions. Booking is essential.
Where: Farranredmond, DIngle, Co. Kerry.
More info: dingledistillery.ie/tours
TULLAMORE D.E.W. DISTILLERY
Tullamore D.E.W.’s visitor centre is located within their Old Bonded Warehouse, built on the banks of Tullamore’s Grand Canal and with a history that goes back to 1829. The tour combines storytelling (you’ll learn about Daniel E. Williams’ journey from stable boy to distillery manager), as well as information about whiskey-making and a tutored tasting. Want more? Their master classes will allow you to try rare whiskeys, their “Ultimate Distillery Experience” includes the opportunity to blend your own bottle and take it home, and you can also grab food at their restaurant.
Where: Clonminch, Tullamore, Co. Offaly.
More info: tullamoredew.com
SLIABH LIAG DISTILLERS
This family-owned craft distillery was the first to open in Donegal in 175 years. Their “Sliabh Liag Distillers’ An Dúlamán Gin Tour” focuses on their artisan gin distillery, where they produce the very unique An Dúlamán Irish Maritime Gin. Visitors are guided by knowledgeable members of the production team and they can learn about the area’s distilling tradition and the botanicals used, including several types fo local seaweeds. Of course, there’s a tasting at the end.
Where: Line Road, Carrick, Co. Donegal.
More info: sliabhliagdistillers.com
This innovative distillery gives the spotlight to terroir. Working with 72 Irish farms, including producers of organic and biodynamic barley, it offers a thought-provoking and fascinating glimpse at one of Ireland’s most ambitous projects: to create the world’s most profound single malt. Learn about this filed-to-glass philosphy with a guided tour.
Where: Grattan Quay, Waterford.
More info: waterforddistillery.ie/tours
KILBEGGAN DISTILLING CO.
Learn about whiskey-making traditions in a tour that offers an introduction to the rich history of the distillery and the town. Discover how the past meets innovation and taste some of the whiskeys produced at Kilbeggan Distillery. Visitors can choose between thr “Apprentice Tour”, “Distillers Tour”, “Artisan Tour” and the “Connoisseur Experience”, depending on how comprehensive they wish their whiskey journey to be.
Where: Lower Main St, Aghamore, Kilbeggan, Co. Westmeath.
More info: kilbegganwhiskey.com/visit-us/
ARTICLE BY GABY GUEDEZ