Whiskey in glasses
Whiskey in glasses

10 Undiscovered Whiskey Distilleries in Ireland You Should Visit

While Ireland’s big whiskey brands naturally come to mind for many people who are interested in discovering more about Irish whiskey, there are other whiskey distilleries across Ireland that are unknown to many international tourists.

10 Undiscovered Whiskey Distilleries in Ireland You Should VisitThis post and page contain affiliate links and I may earn compensation when you click on the links at no additional cost to you.

Below is a list of Ireland on a Budget's picks for the 10 undiscovered whiskey distilleries in Ireland that you should put on your bucket list.

1. Achill Island Distillery, Co. Mayo

This distillery is Ireland’s only offshore island-based facility.

Officially opened in July 2019, Achill Island Distillery makes two brands of whiskey, the Irish American Classic Blend and the company’s Irish American Ten-Year-Old Single Malt.

Both have a distinct fruity flavor with vanilla and caramel notes from the bourbon cask barrels that they’ve matured in, along with a hint of spice.

Its visitor center is well worth a look if you’re touring the island.

Part of the experience includes tasting its signature whiskeys at the Barley Field Bar, as well as its famous Mayo Mojito cocktail.

The distillery’s Classic Tour includes the history and heritage of Achill, as well as information on the company's handcrafted distilling process from barley to barrel.

Tickets for the tour are €15 for adults and €10 for those under the age of 18. Children under 10 are admitted free.

Average Price Per Bottle of Achill Island Distillery Whiskey: $45/€36/£31

U.S. customers can purchase the distillery’s Irish American Single Malt whiskey here.

2. Ballykeefe Distillery, Co. Kilkenny

A 140-acre farm that grows malting barley is the setting for this relatively new distillery in County Kilkenny.

Owned by the Ging family, the Ballykeefe Distillery located on the outskirts of Kilkenny city is a revival of a 200-year-old tradition of Irish family farm distilleries once common all across the country.

The distillery produces not just whiskey but also gin, vodka, and poitín (the Irish version of moonshine, which is pronounced “putsheen”).

At the eco-friendly Ballykeefe Distillery, you’ll see a real working farm in action, as well as the steps that are taken to keep this operation running, the only on-farm distillery in Ireland.

On the Ballykeefe Experience Tour, you’ll learn about the origins of Irish whiskey and see the whiskey distilling process, from the mill house to the brewhouse, as well as the farm’s on-site bottling plant.

A tasting is also available. You must contact the distillery in advance to book the tour. Tour prices are not available on the website.

Average Price Per Bottle of Ballykeefe Distillery Whiskey: $99/€90/£77

3. Burren Distillers, Co. Clare

At the Burren Distillers facility located in the heart of this beautiful region of Ireland, you’ll discover that whiskey-making has been a part of this area for a very long time.

Corcomroe Abbey is an early 13th-century Cistercian monastery located in the north of the Burren region of County Clare, a few miles east of the village of Ballyvaughan. Photo: Air Swing Media, courtesy Clare County Council.
Corcomroe Abbey is an early 13th-century Cistercian monastery located in the north of the Burren region of County Clare, a few miles east of the village of Ballyvaughan. Photo: Air Swing Media, courtesy Clare County Council.

As far back as the 13th century, Cistercian monks at Corcomroe Abbey in the northern region of the Burren were known to have maintained a still.

During the 16th century, the practice was so widespread that locally made whiskey was used to barter for other goods.

Today, that rich whiskey tradition has been revived in Clare with the opening of the Burren Distillers in 2013 by Noel Ó Lochlainn.

What makes Burren Distillers different from others in Ireland is the fact that the company uses what is known as the old “sean gael” method of distilling, which essentially means making it by hand.

Burren Distillers is the only one in Ireland to reintroduce this artisan tradition, which includes floor malting, a historic technique that is used to prepare barley for fermentation.

green fields 6 foodie destinations in Clare
An aerial view of the Burren region in Co. Clare. Photo: Nick Fox.

Water from the company’s own well is used in the distilling process after which it is stored in custom-made traditional oak vats and copper stills.

The result is a unique Irish whiskey with sherry, viognier, cognac, muscat, and port flavors.

Tours are not yet available at the Burren Distillers. Be sure to keep an eye on the company’s Facebook page for updates.

Average Price Per Bottle of Burren Distillery Whiskey: €595 for a limited edition giftbox.

Read More About County Clare and Its Many Attractions

4. Dingle Distillery, Co. Kerry

To achieve the flavors that you’ll find in Dingle Distillery’s single malt Dingle Whiskey, the company uses three distinctive, hand-crafted copper pot stills.

Its first batch of whiskey was released in late 2016 and consisted of two triple-distilled whiskeys.

The copper stills inside the Dingle Distillery.
The copper stills inside the Dingle Distillery. Photo: Gerhard Pratt, https://www.flickr.com/photos/gerhardpratt/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Its second batch was released in 2017 and included three single malts and a single pot still whiskey.

Tours are not available during the off-season. Once available, expect to get an inside look into the entire production process as well as a history of Irish whiskey. Tastings are also included.

The cost of the tour is €15 per person. Children under 12 are not allowed on the site.

Average Price Per Bottle of the Dingle Distillery Whiskey: $982/€85/£72

U.S. customers can purchase at Reserve Bar.

5. Copeland Distillery, Co. Down

This distillery is among the youngest on the list, established in 2019 and located a stone’s throw from the historic harbor in Donaghadee, County Down.

The name is taken from the Copeland Islands in the North Sea, which can be seen from the harbor. It is among a number of distilleries that are now open in Northern Ireland.

Oak barrels at the Copeland Distillery in Co. Down.
Oak barrels at the Copeland Distillery in Co. Down. Photo: Allan Leonard, https://www.flickr.com/photos/mrulster/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

For centuries, the islands were used as a conduit to smuggle spirits from Scotland to Northern Ireland.

Today, this award-winning distillery is known for its Classic Irish and Navy Strength gins and brand of rum, which contain a selection of wild botanicals and fruits sourced from local County Down farms.

The distilling equipment used at the Copeland Distillery,
The distilling equipment used at the Copeland Distillery, one of the 10 undiscovered whiskey distilleries in Ireland. Photo: Allan Leonard, https://www.flickr.com/photos/mrulster/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The facility contains three copper stills, aptly named Betty, Hessie, and Pam after the founders’ grandmothers and mother.

Two stills are used for whiskey making and one is for the production of gin.

Tours are available for £22.50 per person.

Average Price Per Bottle of the Copeland Distillery Whiskey:  $35/€37/£30


6. The Shed Distillery, Co. Leitrim

Established in 2014 by PJ Rigney, the man behind Boru Vodka and Sheridan’s Liqueur brands, the County Leitrim Shed Distillery is another one of Ireland’s whiskey distilleries that may be totally unknown to visitors coming to Ireland for the first time.

Located in a former jam factory in the town of Drumshanbo, the Shed Distillery is best known for its Gunpowder Gin.

However, its single pot, triple-distilled Irish whiskey called Drumshanbo Single Pot Still is also popular.

The company also makes the Sausage Tree Pure Irish Vodka.

Five copper still pots, made in Germany, are used in the distilling of the company’s spirits.

The distillery’s visitor center includes a botanical glasshouse, an extensive visitor journey into the heart of the distillery, The Honey Badger Bar, a bright and spacious café, as well as a gift shop.

Give yourself at least two hours to get the most out of the distillery tour. A tasting is available afterward.

Distillery tours are available. Tickets are €21 per person.

Average Price Per Bottle of The Shed Distillery Whiskey: $65.33/€59.95/£51.33

Become a Member of Flaviar, the Club for Whiskey Lovers

7. Sliabh Liag Distillers, Co. Donegal

The Sliabh Liag Distillers company located on the beautiful Donegal coastline, which operates the Ardara Distillery, has the privilege of being the first distilling company to open in the county in over 175 years.

Indeed, Donegal has a rich and storied heritage when it comes to the creation of spirits, specifically poitín.

The last legal distillery in Donegal produced a whopping 200,000 gallons of grain spirit and employed a staff of 60 during the late 1830s.

a dog looking at the ocean 10 undiscovered whiskey distilleries in Ireland
The Sliabh League Cliffs are located close to the distillery, one of the 10 undiscovered whiskey distilleries in Ireland. Photo: James O'Donnell.

In 1841, it closed due to the temperance movement, a declining population from the effects of the Great Famine, and a change in drinking tastes, from whiskey to beer and porter.

Since starting their venture in 2017, husband and wife team James and Moira Doherty have gone from strength to strength.

Its brand is now sold in 26 countries, including the UK and the U.S.

a whiskey bottle on a table and a dog in the corner 10 undiscovered whiskey distilleries in Ireland
Donegal's famous border collie Iggy promoting the Silkie brand. Photo: James O'Donnell Photography.

The distillery produces a number of award-winning products.

They include the Legendary Silkie Irish Whiskey, An Dúlamán Irish Maritime Gin, Assaranca Vodka, The Sliabh Liag Donegal Single Malt Irish Whiskey, the Sliabh Liag Donegal Pot Still Irish Whiskey, and An Béal Bocht Donegal Straight Poitín.

The Silkie brand is one of Donegal photographer James O’Donnell’s favorite Irish whiskeys.

The company is also an official business sponsor of his James and Iggy brand.

two people sitting on a bench looking at the ocean 10 undiscovered whiskey distilleries in Ireland
The Sliabh League Cliffs located a short distance from the Sliabh Liag Distillery. Photo courtesy of Martin Fleming, Failte Ireland.

This particular whiskey is inspired by tales of mythical Silkie seals off the Donegal coast.

Silkie whiskey is a blend of double and triple-distilled single malts, soft grain whiskey, and a hint of peated malt.

James and Iggy are frequent visitors to the distillery. You can follow their adventures on their Facebook and Instagram pages.

Distillery tours are now available. You must either email or call to book in advance.

The price of admission for tours without a tasting is €15, and €20 for the tour and tasting (either whiskey or gin). Children ages 8-18 years of age are admitted free of charge. Children under 8 are not allowed on distillery tours.

Average Price Per Bottle of the Sliabh Liag Distillery Whiskey: $48/€44/£38

One Man and His Dog: Read About James' and Iggy's Story

8. West Cork Distillers, Co. Cork

Established in 2003 by childhood friends John O’Connell, Denis McCarthy, and Ger McCarthy, this small but growing whiskey distillery in West Cork, one of the 10 undiscovered distilleries in Ireland, contains eight pot still and two-column stills that produce almost 4,000,000 liters (just over a million gallons) of alcohol annually.

An additional three stills are used for making the company’s brand of gin.

The company’s signature brands include its West Cork Irish Whiskey, Garnish Island Gin, and Two Trees Vodka.

Its whiskey is 75% grain, 25% malt, and is aged in ex-bourbon casks.

Imagine sugar cookies, dried fruits, and toasted vanilla beans when sipping this inexpensive whiskey.

To book a tour, email [email protected].

Average Price Per Bottle of West Cork Distillery Whiskey: $44.,54/€34.99/£27.49

Read More: Oldest Whiskey Distilleries in Ireland

9. Glendalough Distillery, Co. Wicklow

Finding a whiskey distillery in the heart of the Glendalough region in Co. Wicklow is not surprising.

Whiskey distillation in Ireland began in monasteries like Glendalough, which is one of the top tourist attractions in Ireland.

a stone church
St. Kevin's Church and round tower form part of the Glendalough Monastic Site in Co. Wicklow. Photo: Getty Images.

The flavors that you might associate with whiskey today are unlike that used by Irish monks when they first began to distill whiskey, peppering it with herbs like mint, thyme, or anise.

The Glendalough Distillery was established in 2011 by five friends from Wicklow and Dublin who had a passion for reviving the craft of whiskey distilling in Ireland.

The company’s products include two gin brands as well as its Glendalough Double Barrel Irish Whiskey, its Glendalough Pot Still Irish Whiskey, Glendalough 7-Year Single Malt Whiskey, and its 13-Year Single Malt Finish Mizunara Cask Whiskey.

Its double barrel brand is first matured in ex-bourbon barrels before finishing for six months in Oloroso sherry casks, giving it the double-barrel name.

This whiskey has the perfect blend of caramel sweetness, with tastings of creamy chocolate fudge, vanilla frosting, and cinnamon spice.

Tours are not available at the distillery at this time.

Average Price Per Bottle of Glendalough Distillery Whiskey: $38/€34/£29

U.S. customers can purchase a bottle of Glendalough whiskey from Flaviar.

10. Lough Gill Distillery, Co. Sligo

An old Palladian mansion in Co. Sligo is the setting for the Lough Gill Distillery, the makers of the Athrú brand of single malt whiskey.

The Lough Gill Distillery triple distills its brand using the highest quality malted heritage barley and locally sourced water.

a lake
Lough Gill, Co. Sligo., a stone's throw away from the Lough Gill Distillery, one of the 10 undiscovered whiskey distilleries in Ireland. Photo: Steven Barnes.

The distillery is located in one of the most beautiful spots in County Sligo, once the summer home of the famous poet William Butler Yeats.

The company’s signature brand is its Athru single malt whiskey, which is now available in the form of a recently released “Creation Trilogy.”

That includes its Explore Annacoona, Explore Knocknarea, and Explore Keshcorran brands.

Average Price Per Bottle of Lough Gill Distillery Whiskey: $92/€85/£72

Are you a lover of Irish whiskey? Have you visited any of the 10 undiscovered whiskey distilleries in Ireland that are mentioned above?

If so, let me know in the comments below.


Colette is a County Sligo native who created Ireland on a Budget to provide her readers with money-saving tips on how to get to Ireland and then save even more when they're there. She's a professional copywriter who lives in the New York area with her husband and two children.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Avatar for Amit kapoor
    Amit kapoor

    I was looking for the unheard but talented craft distillers in Ireland and your web page was really helpful

    1. Avatar for colette

      Thank you!

Leave a Reply