Perfect Brewery Trips in Ireland’s Ancient East -The Top 12 Breweries and Distilleries

To celebrate our rich heritage in brewing and distilling, Fáilte Ireland has released a guide to the 12 Distilleries and Breweries of Ireland’s Ancient East.

Ireland’s Ancient East has seen an explosion in craft beers, unique gins, whiskeys and ciders makers.

Devote a few days to the region in 2019 and explore one of the many brewery and distillery experiences the area has to offer.

Taste exciting new liquids, hear the stories of the legends, meet the master distillers and brewers and see how they’re made.

Check out this guide to see what’s ‘hoppening’ on Ireland’s Ancient East’s brewing and distilling scene.

Listoke Gin School, Co. Louth

Listoke Distillery Launched Premium Gin Listoke 1777

Join the gin-aissance and make your own blend at Ireland’s only gin school. The Listoke Distillery offers up classes where eager students learn to master the art of making their own personal blend.

You’ll start by choosing the flavour profile and botanical mix, then putting it in their own miniature copper still to label and bring home.

While waiting for your gin to distil you’ll be treated to Listoke G&Ts, local food products and some more ginformation. For a post gin culture fix check out Monasterboice and Mellifont Abbey or take a Boyne Boats river tour.

Brehon Brewhouse, Co. Monaghan

Set amongst the rolling drumlins of County Monaghan, just a few miles from the birthplace of Patrick Kavanagh, Brehon Brewhouse brews well balanced Irish Ales, crafted by hand on their dairy farm.

The perfect Christmas day out, join Masterbrewer Phil for a brewery tour, tasting of the ale variants and rare access into the brewing process.

While there, don’t forget to immerse yourself in Monaghan’s local charm, from horse riding, fishing and falconry at Castle Leslie to trying the quirky cultural treasure of bog-snorkelling!

Carlingford Brewing, Co. Louth

Win a Hamper

Discover the legend, the beauty and the beer with a guided tour of Carlingford Brewing Company.

Hosted by Des Goldrick, owner of Carlingford Brewing Company, you will be introduced to the legend of Donn Cúailnge, the Brown Bull of Cooley who is at the heart of the infamous Táin; visit the famous Carlingford landmarks that inspire the stories – before sampling some of the great beers!

For a change of pace, get the adrenaline pumping at the thrilling Carlingford Adventure Centre or Ireland’s largest aerial adventure centre, SKY PARK – before trying the beer, of course!

Dungarvan Brewing Company, Co. Waterford

Dungarvan Blackrock Stout

Walk through the brewery, talk all things hops and malt, before sampling the local beers at the family run Dungarvan Brewing Company.

While in Dungarvan, visit the town and enjoy dinner and Dungarvan Brewing Company’s beers on cask, at Merry’s Gastro Pub!

Don’t forget to pack your Lycra when visiting Dungarvan – it’s home to Ireland’s longest off-road walking and bike trail. Pop into Waterford Greenway Bike Hire, in Dungarvan they’ll sort you out with some wheels.

Elbow Lane, Co. Cork

Try some food first beers! Set in a handsome building at the end of Oliver Plunkett Street in Cork City, Elbow Lane combines an in-house nano brewery with a smoke house serving exciting food and drinks including their own Elbow Lane beers.

Within an earshot of Elbow Lane, mix it up and experience the bygone days and discover the impact radio has had at the Cork City Gaol and Radio Museum Experience.

Wicklow Wolf Brewing Company, Co. Wicklow

Unearth the soul of Wicklow at the Wicklow Wolf Brewing Company. While there, stretch the legs and explore the landscape, flora and fauna that inspired the brewer’s craft.

Finish with a taste of the product in the Wicklow valley or walk the cliff path from Bray to Greystones.

Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny, Co. Kilkenny

Diageo Starts Including Nutritional Information and Alcohol Content on its Labels

Go back in time to the 1300’s, visit the site of St. Francis Abbey where the monks first brewed and learn more about Smithwick’s Red Ale.

From there you can pop into the Medieval Mile Museum and trawl through the artifacts and stories of the other merchants that built the city.

Round off a trip to Kilkenny, off the beaten track, exploring the woodlands and testing your nerve at Castlecomer Discovery Park, home to Ireland’s longest zip-line!

Tullamore D.E.W. Whiskey Experience, Co. Offaly

Savour almost two centuries of Tullamore D.E.W’s distilling history. Hear tales of the characters who made Tullamore D.E.W. whiskey world famous, see how they trick the barley into growing and find out why the angels always get their share.

Learn about the art of Irish whiskey-making and discover the secret that gives Tullamore D.E.W. its unique complexity. For a spookier experience, visit Charleville Castle, where the daughter of the 3rd Earl of Charleville tragically passed away.

Visitors have felt the chill of her presence while climbing the stairs, and have seen her ghostly figure skipping past. Some have even claimed that they have caught little Harriet on camera!

Walsh Whiskey Distillery, Co. Carlow

Visit the Walsh Whiskey Distillery at Royal Oak in County Carlow, dedicated to the production of premium handcrafted Irish whiskeys.

Located in Ireland’s Ancient East region, it is one of the largest independent whiskey distilleries in the country and the first to be developed in Carlow in over 200 years.

Here the team of local distillers demonstrate how we are unique in producing all types of Irish whiskey (pot still, malt and grain) in the one still house. If you’ve had your dram filled; try something sweeter at the Chocolate Garden of Ireland.

Learn all about chocolate making, cocoa growing and how handmade chocolates are made, before having a go at making and decorating your own chocolate product, which you get to take home.

Glendalough Irish Whiskey, Co. Wicklow

Meet the Maker with a tour with distiller, Rowdy Rooney. Here you will experience firsthand how Glendalough Distillery takes locally foraged ingredients and inspiration from the Wicklow Mountains to craft a unique Irish whiskey.

While in Ireland’s Garden County, visit the Glendalough Monastic Site and Visitor Centre, nestled in the spectacular two lakes, here you’ll discover the rich history that inspired the liquid.

Slane Distillery, Co. Meath

Irish Whiskey Royalty - Meet Alex Conyngham from Slane Irish Whiskey

Housed within the 250-year-old stables of the iconic Slane Castle Estate, the Slane Distillery guided tours uncover a history like no other.

Their storytellers guide you through the fabric of the Conyngham family tapestry, chapter by chapter; before delving into the ancient art of Irish whiskey making.

Learn about the process and the craftsmanship behind the Slane Distillery triple casked blend. For those eager to discover the area, visit the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre and tick one off the bucket list with a visit to Newgrange.

Ballykeefe Distillery, Co. Kilkenny

Savour Kilkenny Festival 2017

Discover the origins of Irish Whiskey at Ballykeefe Distillery. An expert tour guide will take you back through the ages of distilling at Ballykeefe, part the secrets of a master distiller and share Ballykeefe’s ‘water of life’ – premium whiskey, gin and vodka.

Stuck for a last minute Christmas gift, swap craft whiskey for one of Ireland’s best known craft pottery makers – with a visit Nicholas Mosse Pottery afterwards.

There is so much to explore in Ireland’s Ancient East and as you journey you can enjoy the finest in restaurants, cafés, breweries, distilleries, orchards, organic producers, as well as a mouth-watering array of food markets and festivals.

Not forgetting the finest of hotels and guest houses to stay while you decide what is next on the agenda on your own exploration of Ireland’s Ancient East.


Fáilte Ireland is the National Tourism Development Authority. Their role is to support the tourism industry and work to sustain Ireland as a high-quality and competitive tourism destination.

They also work with other state agencies and representative bodies, at local and national levels, to implement and champion positive and practical strategies that will benefit Irish tourism and the Irish economy.

Fáilte Ireland promote Ireland as a holiday destination through their domestic marketing campaign ( and manage a network of nationwide tourist information centres that provide help and advice for visitors to Ireland.

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