As sure as night follows day, it’s 9 o’clock somewhere in the world and an obliging bartender has just raised his hand to a wooden shelf, lifting a sturdy bottle down in one swift but precise movement. As the bottle is opened, a familiar smell fills the air and all around cast an approving nod as they await the vital moment. Ice or no ice? An eternal question, to be sure, and one that is sure to light the fuse on a fiery pub debate should you ever feel mischievous under the dim light of a Dublin watering-hole.
‘Water of Life’
Irish whiskey, not to be confused with its Scottish cousin ‘whisky’ (make this mistake in Ireland at your peril), first made its documented appearance around the 12th century. Derived from the Irish ‘uisce beatha’ (or ‘water of life’), historians have had a rough time trying to precisely detail its origins. However, it’s widely believed that we have Irish monks to thank for this golden treasure, who likely brought the process of distilling perfume to Ireland after travelling through Europe.
Over the coming centuries, it seems that we Irish developed quite the taste for the stuff and by the late 1600’s it was just about everywhere. So much so that an act was passed in the English Parliament declaring it illegal for anyone other than ‘the peers, gentlemen and freemen or larger towns’ to distil spirits.
Oldest Distillery in the World?
One such gentleman was Sir Thomas Philips, who was granted a license in 1608 and led to the eventual creation of the Old Bushmills Distillery. While the connection between Sir Thomas and the Old Bushmills Distillery of today is somewhat murky, it’s a good story and one that Bushmills uses to lay claim to being the oldest surviving grant of license to distil in the world!
Today, Bushmills can most definitely lay claim to being one of the most popular whiskeys in the world with around 10 million bottles sold every year and famously appearing in films such as Jackie Brown, Independence Day and The Verdict, plus countless TV shows.
Dublin had 12 Distilleries in 1800!
Dublin had the five largest licensed distilleries in Ireland which included John Jameson, William Jameson, John Powers and George Roe by the early 1800’s.
Known to many as ‘the Big Four’, these distilleries came to produce some of the most iconic Irish whiskeys that are still popular today such as Jameson, Powers, Redbreast and many more.
Thankfully most pubs in Ireland have a far more interesting choice of whiskey than they did 20 years ago.
How rare is this whiskey?
Perhaps the most significant development in Irish whiskey in recent years occurred in the late 1960’s when the Cork Distilleries Company, John Jameson & Son and John Power & Son merged to create the newly formed ‘Irish Distillers’. A powerhouse of Irish whiskey, they launched the now world-famous (amongst whiskey lovers, I admit) Midleton Very Rare in 1984 and it has remained one of the most illustrious whiskey brands in existence. Producing less than 2,500 cases a year, Midleton Very Rare is considered by many to be some of the finest (and most expensive) Irish whiskey that money can buy. If there’s a whiskey fan in your life and you want to show them the good stuff, then you know what to look for. Just be careful, you might only want to buy a glass!
But all this talk of whiskey is just that isn’t it? Talk.
We could spend ages teaching you about the different types of Irish whiskey. About malt, pot-still, grain and blended. We could even get a black board and show you the intricate details of the distillation process so you understand precisely why that magnificent glass of amber tastes the way it does.
But where’s the fun in that?
Experience the tastes of Ireland with us
Whiskey isn’t something to read about online or study in dusty books. It should be experienced, held firmly in your hand and its aromas deeply inhaled with every passing breath. It belongs in dimly lit pubs, served by bartenders with knowledge and expertise that will transport you to another world. A world of smells, tastes, history and culture.
Luckily for you, our fair city of Dublin has exactly what you’re after. If you want to dive in deep and experience every aspect of Irish whiskey – from its history and distillation right up to a wide ranging tasting experience – then the Irish Whiskey Museum on Grafton Street is definitely the place for you.
Our guide Carl enjoying a libation with travellers during one of our tours
Or perhaps you want to see Irish whiskey as we see it – as it lives and breathes in the pubs that surround us. If that’s your thing, then why not check out our Pub Tour? We’ll take you round some of the finest pubs in the city, showing you where the locals go for a pint and a whiskey, walking in the footsteps of Irish literary giants like Patrick Kavanagh, Flann O’Brien and Brendan Behan. We’ll experience typically four pubs, different in their ambience and offerings, over the course of four hours. It’s personalised for you, so if you don’t drink whiskey or really just want someone charming to have a chat with and explore Ireland’s famous pub heritage, the tour will leave you more than satisfied.
You’ll hear stories and music that you’ll never forget but most importantly of all…
You’ll learn that there’s no finer glass of whiskey than Irish whiskey.
Read about why our Pub Tour is the ideal way experience Dublin’s best pubs, no matter what you’re drinking!
Garvan and the guides visit Roe Distillery on James St., Dublin
For advice from our expert guides on planning your trip to Dublin.
Strictly Necessary Cookies
Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.
If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.
3rd Party Cookies
This website uses Google Analytics to collect anonymous information such as the number of visitors to the site, and the most popular pages.
Keeping this cookie enabled helps us to improve our website.
Please enable Strictly Necessary Cookies first so that we can save your preferences!
2. Disabling Cookies
You can disable cookies by adjusting the your browser privacy and security settings. Be aware that disabling cookies will affect the functionality of this and many other websites that you visit. Therefore it is recommended that you do not disable cookies.
3. The Cookies We Set
Orders processing related cookies: This site offers e-commerce or payment facilities and some cookies are essential to ensure that your order is remembered between pages so that we can process it properly.
4. Forms Related Cookies
When you submit data to through a form such as those found on contact pages or comment forms cookies may be set to remember your user details for future correspondence.
5. Site Preferences Cookies
In order to provide you with a great experience on this site, we provide the functionality to set your preferences for how this site runs when you use it. In order to remember your preferences, we need to set cookies so that this information can be called whenever you interact with a page is affected by your preferences.
6. Third Party Cookies
This site uses Google Analytics which is one of the most widespread and trusted analytics solutions on the web for helping us to understand how you use the site and ways that we can improve your experience. These cookies may track things such as how long you spend on the site and the pages that you visit so we can continue to produce engaging content. For more information on Google Analytics cookies, see the official Google Analytics page.
Several partners advertise on our behalf and affiliate tracking cookies simply allow us to see if our customers have come to the site through one of our partner sites so that we can credit them appropriately and where applicable allow our affiliate partners to provide any bonus that they may provide you for making a purchase.
We also use social media buttons and/or plugins on this site that allow you to connect with your social network in various ways. For these to work the following social media sites including: TripAdvisor, Facebook, twitter, youtube, Instagram, LinkedIn, g+, blogspot, will set cookies through our site which may be used to enhance your profile on their site or contribute to the data they hold for various purposes outlined in their respective privacy policies.
7. More Information
Hopefully, that has clarified things for you and as was previously mentioned if there is something that you aren’t sure whether you need or not it’s usually safer to leave cookies enabled in case it does interact with one of the features you use on our site.
This Cookies Policy was created with the help of the CookiePolicyGenerator.com
However, if you are still looking for more information, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org