It may seem strange to attempt to mix drink and driving but this is no fantasy drive. Ireland’s whiskey industry is undergoing a renaissance an explosion of distilleries offering a wide variety of taste. But behind these great addition’s to Ireland’s superb whiskey industry are great stories and experiences all told within the distilleries themselves. In Dublin alone are five Distilleries offering not only a tasting, but a tour and meals a complete package. Out in Ireland’s Ancient East amongst the majestic timeless ruins are distilleries breathing new life in this old ancient Irish craft. What better way to explore than to spend a few days traveling from one to the next! All along the way are ancient monuments, fine bars and glorious restaurants. See and taste Ireland’s Great Ancient east!
Dublin City was always the home of the Irish Whiskey Industry. When the industry all but disappeared after Irish Independence it was kept alive in Dublin. Dublin was always the home of the “Chaser”, a few pints of Guinness Stout followed by Whiskey Chaser! Irish whiskey is uniquely triple distilled and there the similarities end. Irish whiskey has no rigid formula as a result it is free to be explored by master distillers and it is this that has led to an explosion of Distilleries. Apart from Jameson Ireland’s great whiskey in Dublin you have Roe and Co (Diageo), Teelings, Dublin Liberties and Pearce Lyons. In tandem is a revival in Medieval history, whiskey bars and a whole cultural experience built around Ireland’s great drink – enjoy!
Head south into the Garden of Ireland – Wicklow, the last place to be shired and the home of the Wild Irish. Hero’s like the firebrand Fiach MacHugh O’Byrne terrorised the English Crown and later hero’s like Michael Dwyer and General Holt carried the rebel spirit into the 19th century. As you head south you will wonder at the beauty and wonder of Wicklow. A drive to Glendalough and sample the ancient monastic site, onto Powerscourt leaving you wondering where is the whiskey, it is in Powerscourt a fine whiskey to match the stunning surroundings. Head on over the Wicklow Gap into Carlow to Ireland’s treasure – Walsh Distillery, home of Writers Tears and The Irishman award winning whiskies. Enjoy lunch and a great chance to meet locals as they exchange the wonder of their craft to you. Onto Kilkenny, check in and a laid back evening in Ireland’s Medieval capitol. Visit the great seat of the Butlers – Kilkenny Castle, walk the medieval mile and drink to Dame Alice Kyteller the Witch who got away in the Inn of her name.
An exciting day ahead, not too much driving! A first stop at Dunmore Caves Ireland’s spookiest place here in the 10th century the Vikings massacred 1,000 people sheltering in the caves. Head the short distance to Ballykeefe Whiskey Distillery on a Farm! The Ging family has farmed this land long before records began, cattle and barley and a deep seated interest in whiskey – The Ging’s rolled out their fine Pot still Whiskies and a guaranteed hearty chat and fine coffee and a sip of their wonderful spirit. Next head out to Tullamore for one of Ireland’s Whiskey success stories. Tullamore DEW (Daniel Edward Williams) is the home of fine Irish Whiskey blends a smooth beautiful taste beautifully crafted in their majestic iconic Distillery. Enjoy lunch and the stories of this great whiskey and the characters who crafted and carried it. A short drive to Leap Castle the worlds most haunted castle and then to dine and sleep in its sister castle Kinnity Castle! A chance to relax and enjoy the wonderful surroundings and take in the trip so far!
As you eat your sumptuous breakfast and wonder what this day is going to bring, think Gunpowder! You are about to journey way way off the beaten trail into the wonderful Hidden Ireland Heatlands. A land of wild mythology, wilder ancient clans and hero’s and Heroines of old. An undulating landscape of wetland, bog, dark forests, and nestling tiny villages. Ruins upon the hills show a time past when this land was fought over. So on you drive a short stop at the Rock of Dunamase where Ireland’s great Norman warlord Stroingbow and his beautiful wife Aoife a Gaelic Irish warrior princess. From this spectacular place they held sway over all they surveyed. Onto Kilbeggan Distillery one of Ireland’s oldest distilleries and learn all about the history of Irish Whiskey. Head north through O’Carolan’s country – the Great Irish Harper Turlough O’Carolan who penned so many of Irelands Greatest tunes amongst them is his “Ode to Whiskey!” he loved the stuff. No doubt it inspired the man and the music flowed as fast the whiskey. So onto the Gunpowder Distillery – home of World Famous Gunpowder Gin and now Whiskey! In Drumshanbo this vibrant lively artistic town will indulge with their restless tales and great work ethic. Enjoy the stories of this fascinating distillery. Check in locally and have lunch in the wonderful local restaurants and enjoy the wonderful local scenery.
As you leave the land of lakes and rivers you cut across your journey as you head to Irelands greatest hidden treasure Roche Castle! The Heroine of this place is Dame Verdun who upon the death of her husband built this huge citadel as a warning to her many enemies. This is the land of mythical and real hero’s who held and defended the Gap of the North. Nearby lies the Tragic short lived High King of Ireland Edward de Bruce brother of Robert de Bruce from Scotland who fell at the brutal bloody nearby Battle of Faughert. Head onto Ravensdale as you enter the Cooley Peninsular. Then take a stop at The Great Northern Distillery – aptly named and experience the fine whiskey and story of its making. Next head south to the rolling plains of the Royal County Meath. Take a visit to majestic UNESCO world heritage site Newgrange and wonder at this ancient mystery. Head just due East and you will arrive at Lord Montcharles’s his fine Castle host of many Rock concerts and also home of Ireland’s newest fine whiskey. Enjoy the surrounding of the castle and lunch and of course a tipple of this fine whiskey.
Take a the very short journey back to Dublin, drop off car at City drop off depot, check in and relax and reflect on all you experienced. If you missed anything in Dublin time still to check it out.
Hopefully as you bid farewell to the Emerald Isle you will have some of its liquid pleasure to enjoy with friends and families when you return home.