Head to these distillery destinations in Ireland's Ancient East and try their fine tipples firsthand.
Savour some fine amber nectar in Slane, County Meath, a spot known for its magnificent castle and legendary live concerts. You’ll find Slane Distillery in the 250-year-old stable block on the Slane Castle estate.
Learn not only about the whiskey, but also the history of the family and the local area. Combine a tour of the distillery with a trip to the Castle, making the most of a visit to the Boyne Valley. Pair your Slane Whiskey with some fine dining at Bellinter House Hotel in nearby Navan.
Find one of Ireland's unique distilleries, Royal Oak at the edge of Bagenalstown, County Carlow, set in the grounds of a stately home. Hand-crafted whiskey is the order of the day, with pot still, malt and single grain — created in the same room. Take a stroll around the grounds and check out the estate’s centrepiece, Holloden House, before a multi-sensory, guided tour. Pop into The Lord Bagenal Inn in nearby Leighlinbridge for a casual bite at the bar or a meal in the restaurant.
Based on the farm where they grow their own ingredients, visit Ballykeefe Distillery near the medieval city of Kilkenny. A true treat for those who enjoy eco-friendly spirits, choose from whiskey, vodka, gin and a cheeky little poitín too. Journey on to the Marble City for some great food and drink spots, head to the Dylan Whisky Bar and savour ‘Kilkenny’s best Irish coffee’.
For a distiller with a difference, find Highbank Orchards ten minutes outside Kilkenny City. Their organic Highbanks Orchards Spirit Single Estate is very popular with whiskey lovers, enjoy on the rocks or try it in a cocktail. Give the apple juice a go, taste the cider and bring home a bottle of the cult product, Highbanks Orchards Syrup.
If you travel the world and mention Irish whiskey, Jameson is always a firm favourite. Founded in Dublin over 200 years ago by John Jameson, the factory moved to Midleton in Cork in 1975 as demand and production grew. Go behind the scenes at the working Jameson Distillery, learn about Jameson’s history and taste test a range of whiskeys. Stop off at the on-site Malthouse Restaurant and enjoy a tasty meal to round off a memorable day.
Visit the Powerscourt Distillery at the beautiful Powerscourt Estate in Wicklow and enjoy tastings of their Fercullen whiskey. Learn what foods are best paired with the whiskeys, try a folklore and food tour, or “Meet the Master” and quiz Master Distiller Noel Sweeney — there are plenty of ways to learn about this delicious dram. Check out the restored old Mill House, and wander through the gorgeous Powerscourt House Gardens. Pop into the gift shop and pick up a bottle to take home.
Experience the close-knit community at family-run Boann Distillery in County Meath. Try their rich whiskey and the famous gin, infused with botanicals and native to the Boyne Valley. Get to grips with their proud local ethos, even the distillery’s water comes from a well on the land. Meet the Cooney family and discover the traditional methods of Ireland’s master distillers.
Book tours in advance to avoid disappointment, explore the visitor centres, try out the immersive tasting experiences and enjoy responsibly. Make sure to check out our Ireland's Ancient East page for even more things to do in this fascinating part of the country.
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