World Whisky Day takes place each year in May and for anyone visiting Ireland, that means the opportunity to discover its many whiskey distilleries.
This special day includes tastings, events, and gatherings held across the world to celebrate what is known in the Irish language as “uisce beatha” (the water of life).
The joy of a whiskey tasting is not confined to World Whiskey Day, however, and you don't have to wait until then to get a taste of the popular spirit in the many distilleries that are dotted across the island.
In fact, there are 26 working distilleries open to the public, from Bushmills Whiskey Distillery in County Antrim to newly established ones like The Crolly Distillery in County Donegal as well as urban distillery attractions like Roe & Co in Dublin.
Visitors interested in finding tours, tastings, and behind-the-scenes secrets of the Irish whiskey industry can start with the Irish whiskey passport.
The passport can be stamped at several distilleries around the country, with the chance to win an IrishWhiskey360° Champion special pin.
Where to Start the Irish Whiskey Journey
The Irish whiskey journey for most visitors begins in Dublin, which has five distilleries including the best-selling Jameson whiskey distillery.
Its visitor experience was voted Europe’s Leading Distillery Tour in 2021.
Within easy driving distance of Dublin, you’ll find three popular distilleries, including the Kilbeggan Distilling Co. in County Westmeath, the oldest in Ireland, as well as the well-known Tullamore D.E.W. in County Offaly and Slane Distillery in County Meath, which is known for its contemporary, triple-casked whiskey blends.
In Ireland’s Midlands region, visitors should journey to County Leitrim to taste the popular Drumshanbo single pot still whiskey, which is distilled at The Shed, and Lough Ree Distillery in County Longford.
Several whiskey distilleries can also be found on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way.
The distillery, famous for its maritime-flavored whiskey, is in the beautiful West Cork region and is surrounded by fabulous scenery.
Other distilleries worth visiting along the WAW include the Dingle Distillery, the SkelligSix18 distillery on the Ring of Kerry, the Connacht Distillery in County Mayo, and Sliabh League Distillers in County Donegal.