Indulge your inner connoisseur with Irish Whiskey tasting at source
Ireland is famous not only for its spectacular scenery and friendly locals, but for its super high quality whiskies and a whisky tour of the country is a fabulous way to discover them. Irish whiskey, also known as Uisce Beatha (Gaelic for “water of life”, a term coined by early Irish monks), has been produced since the 7th century and at the height of its popularity in the 18th century there were over 1000 distilleries on the island. This fizzled down to less than 25 legal distilleries over the next century and these days there are only a handful of distilleries left. They are revered and considered to be national treasures. Ireland also has the privilege of being home to the oldest surviving whiskey distillery in the world- Bushmills.
This Irish whiskey tour was created for connoisseurs, although novices will quickly become experts on the trip! With your own private driver and comfortable Mercedes explore the whiskey trails of the Emerald Isle taking in visits to the Old Jameson Distillery in Dublin, Locke´s Old Kilbeggan Distillery Museum, Tullamore Dew Heritage Centre, Cooley Distillery and the Old Bushmills Distillery in Northern Ireland. Complement these fun and educational tours and tastings with a whiskey masterclass at Ireland’s best whiskey merchant in Dublin; charming Irish pubs; colorful villages; dramatic landscapes; live music; and sightseeing along the stunning Northern Irish coast.
This is the ultimate tour for Irish whiskey lovers!
Below is a suggested Day By Day Itinerary for your private Whiskey Tour of Ireland
Arrive to Dublin airport and your driver will be waiting for you. Climb in and sit back and relax for the drive to the historic center of town. After dropping off your luggage at your delicious boutique hotel, you will have a welcome lunch waiting for you around the corner at the outstanding Michelin starred L’Ecrivain restaurant. This popular eatery manages the difficult task of being elegant and high end without being stuffy. This is in large part due to the charismatic chef Derry Clarke and his effervescent wife Sallyann. Settle into a delicious four course lunch, paired with wines served by Martina the sommelier.
Your own private guide, a local celebrity, will pick you up at the restaurant when you finish lunch and you will enjoy a guided walking tour through Dublin’s colorful center including Temple Bar with its lively pubs and picturesque streets. Arrive to the old Jameson distillery then for your first whiskey experience of the tour. The fine whiskeys of Jameson were made here for over 200 years before moving premises to Middleton in Cork in the 70’s. For decades, the Dublin distillery remained abandoned until finally being revamped and turned into a distillery museum with tasting rooms.
The visit is stellar, very educational and detailed. You will be privy to a connoisseurs tour (not the general touristy visit) with your own private whiskey master and tasting of Jameson NV, Jameson 12 year old, Jameson 18 year old, plus a Scotch and American Bourbon for the comparison tasting. Terrific introduction to Irish Whiskey! Tonight then is yours to explore Dublin’s pubs on your own. A visit to the Brazen Head (Ireland’s oldest pub) is obligatory for whiskey lovers!
Overnight: 5* Boutique Hotel, Dublin
Meals Included in Price: Michelin starred Lunch with wines, Whiskey Tasting
Transfers: Dublin airport- Hotel- Walking tour
Locke’s Old Kilbeggan Distillery
After a splendid, filling Irish breakfast hit the road and head west to the heart of Ireland, to the neighboring counties of Westmeath and Offaly. Today you will visit two important Irish distilleries. First up is the delightful 18th century Locke's Old Kilbeggan Distillery, located in the tiny hamlet of Kilbeggan in a picturesque setting overlooking the river Brosna. Founded in the 1750's, this is one of the oldest distilleries in the island. It closed in the 1950's but is now reopened and both distilling and maturing fine whiskies. In fact, its claim to fame is that it is the oldest continually licensed distillery anywhere in the world. You will visit the museum and working distillery and admire their still/functioning water wheel dating to the 1800's, see the coopers firing up the casks, and check out their ancient pot still (thought to be the oldest whiskey pot still in existence).
Conclude the tour, naturally, with a tasting! Taste Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey and a connoisseurs sampler of the Cooley range. Lunch will then be in a traditional Irish pub and could include local unfussy delicacies like steamed mussels, seafood chowder, smoked salmon on Irish soda bread, etc. Try one or two of Ireland’s fabulous local brews like Kilkenny red or Beamish stout. Carry on the Tullamore Dew Heritage Centre, situated in the historic D.E. Williams Tullamore Distillery dating back to the 1800’s. The location for both of these distilleries was selected as the Irish midlands were ideal for whiskey distillation (the waterways provide ample fresh water throughout the year; you find turf in abundance, and this was used for fuel; and the micro climate was perfect for the cultivation of barley). Apart from whiskey, the Tullamore company updated an ancient Irish recipe for heather wine and coined it “Irish Mist” which boosted sales.
After a tour, get cozy over your whiskey tasting including goodies like the Ten Year Old Tullamore blend or the Ten Year Old Single Malt. Sláinte Mhaith! In the afternoon, head back to Dublin. On the way, drive through colorful Dalkey and Sandycove, two of Dublin’s prettiest neighborhoods. See Dalkey castle and enjoy a stroll on the pretty main street. Your driver will drop you off at your hotel in the early evening and the rest of the day is yours. You could do a spot of shopping on Grafton Street and St Stephen’s Green, go for a walk in the delightful Iveagh Gardens, or visit the Guinness brewery. For dinner tonight we suggest Chapter One, a beautiful place with top cuisine located in the cellar of the Irish Writers Centre.
Overnight: 5* Boutique Hotel, Dublin
Meals Included in Price: Full breakfast, Cozy Lunch with wines, Whiskey Tastings
Transfers: Whiskey Tour
From Dublin you will travel north today. You will be visiting the newish Cooley Distillery and the historic Bushmills distillery, a wonderful contrast. Drive first to Riverstown, which is about half way to Belfast and tucked away in the scenic Cooley Mountains. Arrive to the Colley Distillery, Ireland’s only independent distillery, founded in the late 80’s. They invested in the creation of this distillery, the renovation of the Kilbeggan distillery (you visit the day before) and they breathed new life into Irish whiskey brands like Tyrconnell and Millar’s Blended Irish Whiskey. Cooley make a wide range of high end whiskies that include these as well as Connemara Peated Single Malt, Greenore Irish Single Grain, Inishowen, Locke's Premium Blended Irish whiskey, and Kilbeggan. Visit the facilities with the onsite whiskey master and enjoy an informal tasting.
The historic town of Belfast, in Northern Ireland is next where you will stop for a fabulous lunch and walking tour. Dine at Deane’s, the most stylish and elegant haunt in town. Enjoy a three course tasting menu that might included dishes like lobster risotto, aged loin of Black Angus beef and Bourbon vanilla crème brulée. Delicious! Your charming local guide will meet you at the restaurant when you finish lunch and you’ll digest lunch over a 90 minute walking tour of the most interesting sites in downtown Belfast. Pop into the Victorian Crown Liquor Saloon and stroll through the Cathedral and Queen’s quarters. Fresh air, a healthy walk and a nice cultural interlude during your whiskey tour.
Bushmills awaits now, and you will drive northwest into beautiful Country Antrim. Not all whiskey makers can say they have 400 years of history, but Bushmills can and it is indeed the oldest distillery in the world - founded in 1608. British King James I granted Sir Thomas Phillips a “royal license” to distil uisce beatha (the water of life the monks had been distilling non commercially). In the 1880’s the distillery actually burned down to the ground but was rebuilt and got back to distilling quickly. During WWII, distilling stopped but the property kept working as it became a lodge for the American and Allied Forces. Today Bushmills offers well organized tours and tastings which you will get to enjoy. On a connoisseurs tour, explore the facilities and finish with a tasting of some of their flagship whiskies like Black Bush and 16 year old Malt. Tonight you will sleep in a darling inn (which is actually a coaching inn dating to the early 1600’s) with cozy wood beamed ceilings and sumptuous bathtubs . Dinner is on you own, welcome to Northern Ireland at its best!
Overnight: Historic Inn, Northern Ireland
Meals Included in Price: Full breakfast, Elegant Lunch with wines, Whiskey Tastings
Transfers: Whiskey Tour
Range of Bushmills Whiskey
Before driving down to Dublin today, no tour of the north would be complete without a visit to the spectacular “Giant’s Causeway”, a Unesco protected geological wonderland on the coast, close to Bushmills. Created by a volcanic eruption millennia ago, the Giant’s Causeway is composed of thousands of basalt columns (solidified lava) of different heights, interlocking (hence the name “steps”) jutting out into the sea. It’s an astounding site which will take your breath away. Enjoy some free time here this morning to explore on your own, don’t forget the camera”! On the way back to Dublin, you can also visit the evocative Dunluce castle whose ruins perch over romantic cliffs- another captivating scene and well worth the detour.
Arrive to Dublin around lunchtime and get dropped off at your hotel, with free time to freshen up an relax. This afternoon is one of the highlights of your whiskey tour in Ireland- a private VIP Whiskey Masterclass at the country’s best whiskey merchant. With your charming local expert, taste an array of whiskey styles such as Pure Pot Still, Single Malt, Single Grain, and of course Blended Whiskeys. Learn about some of the key differences between Irish whiskey and Scottish whisky “or “Scotch” and American Bourbon. Before leaving, you’ll be given a special gift to take home with you. This is a treat and will leave a great flavor in your mouth! The rest of the evening is yours. We suggest dinner at Guilbaud’s for a fancy feast or at Ely’s Wine Bar for trendy, mostly organic fare and a fabulous selection of wines available by the glass.
Overnight: 5* Boutique Hotel, Dublin
Meals Included in Price: Full breakfast, Whiskey Masterclass
Transfers: Northern Ireland- Dublin
Beautiful coast of Northern Ireland
This morning a your preferred time, your private driver will take you comfortably back to Dublin airport for your outbound flight. You will leave Ireland a veritable Whiskey expert!
We look forward to seeing you again!
Overnight: Full Breakfast
Meals Included in Price: Dublin- Dublin airport
What's Not Included:
This is a SAMPLE TOUR ITINERARY. Please note that our private chauffeured luxury tours are totally customized to your needs and price varies according to the number of people in your group (please note tours require minimum 2 guests), specific suppliers included, number of services included,specific dates, transport type etc. Contact us today for more information and we would be delighted to get started on a tailor made detailed itinerary with pricing for you.
All of our private, chauffeured tours are available year round upon request for your group of minimum 2 people. If you would like us to customize a luxury tour of Ireland for you, contact us with your requirements, and we can send you a free itinerary and quote with no obligations. We organize luxury weekend packages and longer food and wine discoveries throughout Ireland.
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