The island of Ireland is a premium place for spirit lovers, with a wealth of experiences to enjoy from masterclasses to tasting tours and more.
Ireland is famous for its whiskey, but a raft of distilleries across the island are now also creating award-winning gins, vodkas and aperitifs, and offer a range of exciting distillery experiences. Here are 11 to explore.
1. Stillgarden Distillery, Dublin
There are a number of reasons to visit this experimental distillery, including the chance to taste its award-winning modern Irish spirits, or go further and create your own unique gin. There are also cocktail masterclasses and an afternoon tea and gin tasting experience that is a perfect weekend treat.
2. Rebel City Distillery, County Cork
This new boutique distillery has created an award-winning spicy gin infused with the flavours of south India and the only Irish-made absinthe. A visit to the distillery will reveal the science and art of gin and absinthe distillation and includes a tutored tasting session.
3. Listoke Distillery, County Louth
Listoke is a family distillery producing premium small batch gins, vodkas and whiskeys, with unique flavours such as Listoke Cacao and Raspberry Gin and Blue Owl Vodka with Chocolate. Its gin school experience starts with a tour of the distillery before guiding you through the creation and bottling of your own exclusive gin.
4. Powerscourt Distillery, County Wicklow
The combination of an extraordinary whiskey and an extraordinary setting in the grounds of the stunning Powerscourt Estate makes a visit to this distillery a must-do. The tour and food-paired tasting experience, which matches three Fercullen Irish whiskeys with a selection of local artisan food, is a double delight.
5. Sliabh Liag Distillers, County Donegal
A new distillery celebrating Donegal’s lively distilling heritage, Sliabh Liag Distillers is the home of a smoky peated spirit branded The Legendary Silkie Irish Whiskey. Their range of gins use foraged seaweeds from the Atlantic coast, while the berry-infused Assaranca Vodka is named after a nearby waterfall. Take a tour to find out how the region’s almost lost distilling traditions have been revived.
6. Echlinville Distillery, County Down
A visit to the Echlinville Distillery offers an insight into the workings of the island of Ireland’s first farm distillery. Follow the journey of the spirits from ground to glass, seeing how the farm-grown barley is sown, grown, harvested and hand malted. After the tour, enjoy two drinks of your choice – whiskey, gin or poitín – in the bar.
7. Micil Distillery, County Galway
Six generations of know-how have led to the creation of a range of exceptional handcrafted Irish spirits based on family recipes. The Micil Distillery offers cocktail masterclasses, a whiskey experience and a poitín and gin experience. All combine fascinating production insights with entertaining anecdotes about the family’s illicit distilling heritage.
8. The Shed Distillery, County Leitrim
In the heart of rural Ireland sits The Shed Distillery, where traditional distilling methods and state-of the-art stills combine to produce a range of spirits “from the Curious Mind of PJ Rigney”. A guided tour offers tastings of the excellent Drumshanbo Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey and Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin.
9. Roe & Co Distillery, Dublin
This vibrant distillery claims to be the home of cocktail exploration and modern Irish whiskey. It offers a range of visitor attractions including a Blending Experience which explores the process of whiskey blending. A Flavours Experience cocktail workshop unpacks the five pillars of flavour – sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami – to help you understand your unique palate and whiskey preferences.
10. Clonakilty Distillery, County Cork
Located on the windswept Wild Atlantic Way, Clonakilty Distillery has created a range of award-winning whiskeys, gins and vodkas with a maritime character. A tour promises a multi-sensory experience where you get to experience the sounds, smells and touch of a working distillery and savour a sip of the produce.
11. Hinch Distillery, County Down
This grain-to-glass distillery has been custom built to produce a particular style of Irish Single Malt Whiskey using water from the Mourne Mountains and traditional Irish mashing processes. Guided tours of the visitor centre give you a behind-the-scenes look at the distilling journey while special events include a Christmas Distillery Experience.