NORTHERN IRELAND WHISKEY TRAIL
An overnight trail departing from and returning to Dublin. We visit four working distilleries and you discover all the highlights of Northern Ireland along the way.
2 days fully escorted touring of Northern Ireland, predominantly through counties Down and Antrim. Luxury transport included with driver/guide to entertain you throughout!
Essential Ireland along the way:
We depart the hustle and bustle of downtown Dublin and travel north to County Meath. You’ll find it doesn’t take long to get to lovely Irish countryside! We leave the Dublin – Belfast road temporarily for our first visit and travel deep into the Boyne Valley, home to one of the largest megalithic sites in Europe. Mel Gibson shot some of the scenes for his movie Braveheart, back in 1994, in the Boyne Valley. Slane Castle is set in the middle of a 1,500 acre estate within the valley and has been the family home of the Conyngham family since the 18th century. The present owner of the castle is Henry Conyngham, The 8th Marquess Conyngham. His eldest son is Alex, Earl of Mount Charles. The father and son duo have recently built a distillery on the estate, right next to the castle, and they have launched their own brand of whiskey – the delicious Slane Irish Whiskey.
Discover the story of the Conyngham family through the ages, and the state of the art distillery built within the historical walls. The tour takes you through the process of whiskey making and you will be led through the working distillery. The tour finishes with a tasting of Slane Irish Whiskey in one of the very stylish tasting rooms. Time for shopping or to stroll over to the castle to order some lunch.
We rejoin the Dublin – Belfast highway for a short time taking us over the border to Northern Ireland (don’t forget to bring Sterling!). We pass the pretty village of Hillsborough, which boasts the imposing Hillsborough Castle – home to the Queen of England, when she is in Northern Ireland. You’ll suddenly find yourself again deep in the Irish countryside as we veer east towards the little village of Crossgar and home to Rademon Distillery – Home of Shortcross gin & Single Malt Whiskey. At The San Francisco World Spirits Competition, Shortcross Gin received a Gold Medal for ‘setting the standard for its category’. We’ll have a quick introduction to the gin process from Head Distiller at Rademon, David Boyd-Armstrong, and he will tell you all about his plans for his whiskey range coming soon. The tour ends in the tastings bar for a gin tasting.
We continue by coach through Downpatrick, which has strong ties to our patron saint – Patrick (he is said to be buried on the grounds of the town’s cathedral). We take a quick ferry from Strangford to Portaferry and 15 minutes driving on the other side will see us arrive at Echlinville Distillery, the first newly licensed whiskey distillery in Northern Ireland in over 125 years. We start with tea/coffee and freshly baked scones in the 19th century Echlinville Manor House. That’s followed by a walk through the facility which is a proper bona fide ‘field to glass’ distillery, all the barley is grown onsite and wait until you take in the aromas at their warehouse where their whiskeys are maturing – wow! Back to the manor house for two samples of their flagship whiskeys. If you’re lucky on the day, the Head Distillers might give you a quick tour of their private collection of army tanks!
We travel direct now to Belfast city along the shores of Strangford Lough. Enjoy the breath-taking views out to sea. Arrive at your hotel in the early evening, right in the middle of town. Check in and refresh. We leave you to enjoy an evening at leisure. We will of course guide you on the best restaurants / best pubs etc.
enjoy the breath-taking views out to sea
as we travel direct now to Belfast city along the shores of Strangford Lough.
After a hearty breakfast at your hotel (included in your rate), we’re on the road again and we’re headed further north to embark on one of the most spectacular driving routes in the world – the Antrim coast road. Along the way, we take a rest stop at the Londonderry Arms Hotel, once owned by former British Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill. You enjoy an Irish Coffee here at the hotel, with our compliments.
Next we’re off to a UNESCO world heritage site – The Giant’s Causeway, one of the most unique places in Europe. It’s an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns. The scientists will tell you the rock formations are the result of a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago. The locals believe differently however, they’ll tell you the columns are the remains of a causeway built by a giant – the Irish legend, Finn MacCool. We’ll let you take it all in and decide for yourself!
Today’s highlight is our final visit. Dating all the way back to 1608 AD, the Bushmills Distillery is the oldest licensed distillery in the world. Famed for its range of single malt Irish whiskeys, you will have the chance to try them during a premium tasting in the Master Distiller’s tasting rooms.
Then sit back relax and have a nice afternoon snooze on your coach as we take you back to Dublin (drop-off in Belfast possible for those who’d like to prolong their visit to the city).
NORTHERN IRELAND WHISKEY TRAIL