WHISKEY TRAIL THROUGH IRELAND’S ANCIENT EAST
A three day trail departing from and returning to Dublin. We visit four working distilleries and a Jameson Brand Home. Lots of essential Ireland sightseeing along the way...
3 days fully escorted touring of Ireland’s Ancient East including counties; Wicklow, Carlow, Kilkenny, Waterford, Tipperary and Cork.
Today, we’re taking you from the capital of Ireland, Dublin, and tomorrow we’ll reach Cork – Ireland’s largest county. Some of the locals in Cork will claim their county is the real capital of Ireland, but that’s a debate for another day! We take you through a region that we call Ireland’s Ancient East, we’re travelling through the lesser beaten tourism track and we’ve two fantastic distillery visits lined up for you today. Our first stop is Powerscourt Distillery where after a quick look at the stunning Powerscourt House & Gardens, we take a guided tour of the plant, visit to the onsite maturation warehouse and whiskey tasting.
We continue south visiting a monastic site dating back to the 6th century along the way. Glendalough is steeped in history, and we share it with you – it is very relevant, after all – our Irish monks invented whiskey! We’ll suggest a great Glendalough pub where you can pick up some lunch.
Next, we’ll take you on a stunning drive through the Wicklow Mountains towards Kilkenny. Just on the outskirts of Kilkenny you’ll find a wonderful artisan Irish family farm distillery – Ballykeefe Distillery. It is from this area that the first written account of distilling in Ireland comes in 1324. It was written in the Red Book of Ossory. The word “whiskey” is an Anglicisation of the Gaelic phrase, uisce beatha, meaning “water of life”. It’s here that you discover the history of Irish whiskey – at it’s birthplace. You’ll be walked through the farm’s mill house, to the brewhouse, to the copper pot stills, to the warehouse where their whiskey is still sleeping soundly. You’ll also see the on-site bottling plant. You will finally be taken to the tasting rooms, transformed from the horses stable where you’ll sample Ballykeefe’s own Gin, Vodka and Poitin.
We’re just a short drive to Kilkenny once back on the coach. Kilkenny is a medieval city in southeast Ireland, arguably the most prominent medieval city in the country. We’ll leave you to explore it at leisure this evening. We’ve booked you at a 5***** hotel on the edge of town and you can transfer into the city to discover the grand Kilkenny Castle which was built in 1195 by Norman occupiers and overlooks the town. The town has deep religious roots and many well-preserved churches and monasteries, including the imposing St. Canice’s Cathedral and the Black Abbey Dominican priory, both from the 13th century. It’s also a crafts hub, with shops along its winding lanes selling pottery, paintings and jewellery – a shopper’s paradise! There’s no shortage of pubs with live music and great restaurants to choose from for dinner.
Full Irish breakfast is available at your hotel, at your leisure this morning (included in the rate). We’ll depart towards the ‘sunny south east’, travelling not far to the Ireland’s oldest city – Waterford. Waterford is most famous for it’s hugely successful crystal of course, but it also here that the vikings first entered Ireland and chose for their first settlement. If we’re lucky today, we’ll secure a special pre-opening visit to a local very new Waterford Distillery. Failing that, we’ll take a tour of the Waterford plant and give you a chance to browse the retail store, a chance to pick up a new Waterford Crystal decanter maybe! Waterford is our rest stop for lunch also and then we take a 90 minute transit across the county of Waterford to County Cork, finishing today in the town of Midleton in East Cork – a very important town on the Irish whiskey map!
HOUSE OF WATERFORD CRYSTAL
Pop inside the retail store during our rest stop in Waterford, which showcases the world’s largest collection of Waterford Crystal
On arrival in Midleton, we head straight for the Jameson Experience. John Jameson made his world-famous whiskey in Dublin for 200 years (you can visit the Jameson Distillery Bow Street on our Dublin Whiskey Story day tour) but since 1975, Jameson has been produced down here in Midleton, East Cork. Discover the home of the biggest Irish whiskey in the world, if you enjoy Jameson – you will love this ! You will enjoy a very special extended behind the scenes tour here at Jamesons, including a fully guided tour through the distillery buildings, giving you special access to the micro-distillery, cooperage, maturation warehouse A1 and distiller’s cottage. You will also enjoy a high-end whiskey tasting along the way, enjoying some of the most premium whiskeys to come out of Ireland, namely; Midleton Very Rare and Redbreast (the world’s best selling single pot still whiskey). Time for shopping in the Jameson retail store follows and then we will drop you at your 5***** hotel/resort in East Cork (or closer to Cork city depending on availability) for check in and you can explore the magic of Cork at your leisure tonight.
Full Irish breakfast is available at your hotel, at your leisure this morning (included in the rate). We’re turning north towards Dublin this morning, passing the village of Dungourney on the way out of Cork. The Dungourney river is the water source for the distillery in Midleton – all Jameson whiskey sold worldwide is made by water from this river. Just 40 minutes away, we have our first visit of the day, to Blackwater Distillery, on the banks of the River Blackwater. Peter, John and the gang operate a micro-distillery at Blackwater, making a delicious small-batch gin and they are resurrecting the forgotten processes of making Irish whiskey. You will try some of their new-make spirit during the visit along with a very refreshing Blackwater gin & tonic. The distillery is located in the sleepy village of Ballyduff in West Waterford, from here you’ll enjoy lovely scenery in the coach as we make our way to County Tipperary – it’s not a long way as the song goes, it’s actually only another 40 minute drive from Blackwater.
We’ll let you out in a wonderful little town called Cahir, with it’s imposing castle. Feel free to wander up to the castle for a visit and enjoy some lunch in one of the town’s fine pubs or cafes. After, we take our last distillery visit of the trail (sad face) as we visit Tipperary Boutique Distillery, just outside Cahir. Here you’ll have a special informal visit to what will be a proper ‘field to glass’ farm distillery with Jennifer (pictured centre below). Jennifer will let you sample some of their own branded whiskeys that reflect the style of spirit they will shortly make.
Sit back and relax on board. And in 2 short hours , we’ll have you back in downtown Dublin.
WHISKEY TRAIL THROUGH IRELAND’S ANCIENT EAST