7 deadly sins WHISKeY tour, Northern Ireland

Five days and nights based in Belfast, a vibrant city with so much to offer, both in this fantastic city and surrounding areas, this is a tour Paul, Mark and Sean love! Five days, five nights, seven deadly sins!

Day 1  Welcome to Northern Ireland and the capital Belfast, where you stay for your duration of your tour. We start by taking a tour of Belfast with some Game of Thrones locations en route, (quite different as your driver, Mark,  spent years as a soldier on the streets of Belfast during the troubles).  Free time to pub crawl in Belfast.  Your driver lives locally, so knows the city, overnight Belfast.

Day 2  We head up the stunning North Antrim Coast, visiting Game of Thrones locations, such as Ballintoy Harbour (the back drop for Theon’s return to the Iron Islands) – and where the burning at the stakes was held on the beach, Portsteward Strand.  Early scenes of the Dothraki on horse back were filmed here, also the coast of Dorne, Downhill beach, was the shores of dragonstone’s. The Dark hedges, which was the Kings Road and one of the most requested locations to visit, were planted in the 18th century to impress visitors by the Stuart family.  Visit Cushendun Caves, where the red priestess Melisandre gave birth to the shadow creature.  See Larrybane Quarry, Renly Baratheon’s camp in the storm lands and where the tournament in which Brienne of Tarth is introduced. Time for lunch in the Fullerton Arms in Ballintoy, it also has a GoT themed room and the amazing door of thrones No6 to 10 carved from the trees of the Dark Hedges. There’s a a private dining room set in the world of GoT complete with banners and its’ own replica Iron Thrones.  We also visit Giants Causeway and Bushmills Distillery – In the small village of Bushmills, on the banks of the river is the oldest working distillery in Ireland, over 400 years it has kept to the philosophy that hand crafting small batches is the way to produce beautifully smooth tasting Irish whiskey.  Matured in Sherry Casks is Paul’s favourite. Black Bush combines a high amount of malt whiskey matured in former Oloroso sherry casks, with a sweet, batch-distilled grain whiskey. Return to Belfast where you stay overnight.

Day 3  This morning we head down to Castle Ward, where in the opening (season one), the 5 stark children and the bastard John Snow adopt Direwolf pups.  Get to ‘meet’ real Direwolfs Odin and Thor and the chance to dress up in the costumes for photos.  Visit the castle where Bran falls from the window in the winter fell courtyard and the cottage (aka) the Brothel of Winterfell. Then we drive to Echlinville Distillery – Northern Ireland’s first licensed distillery in over 125 years distilling its first spirit in 2013. Tours are guided through the process, from the barley arriving from the fields, to the maturation warehouse where the angels are certainly enjoying their share. And after you have witnessed the flavour, colour and mouthfeel of our spirits, relax and enjoy drinks of your choice in their bar. Tanks are also on this tour! Return to Belfast. Shall we blend tonight darling? https://whiskytours.scot/dunvilles-old-irish-whiskey

Day 4  A drive south of the border today, to the Great Northern Distillery  a private company owned by the Teeling Family, Jim Finn and David Hynes who between them established the Cooley Distillery and rebuilt Kilbeggan Distillery before selling them in 2012. The Town of Dundalk has always been ideally suited to foster a distilling industry with access the purest water from the Cooley Mountains. Since the 1600’s brewing has been at the heart of Dundalk with breweries in the area. The Dundalk Distillery operated in the town between 1708 and 1926. Two of the distillery buildings, the grain store and maltings, still exist and now house the County Museum and Dundalk Library. The distillery operates two distinctive distilleries pot stills and columns that produce a diverse range of Irish whiskey spirit’s including grain, triple malt, double malt, peaty malt and pot still whiskey. The distillery has a capacity of 16 million litres of spirit with opportunity to expand. We spend some time down here in the Republic, with free time in Dundalk to experience the local pub scene. Then it’s back to Belfast.

Day 5  This morning a drive to Gosford Castle and park.  The castle has become known as the gloomy home of House Tully. It was first seen in season 1 when Rob Stark executes Richard Karstark for treason and later used for season three’s gory Red Wedding in which several of the main characters were killed. Then we visit Armagh to see the two main churches in the city situated on two hills, one protestant and one catholic.  Return to Belfast, your final night.

Some further reading  https://whiskytours.scot/whisky-or-whiskey

From £795 (sharing) a twin/double room based on a group of 6.

From £975 (sharing) a twin/double room based on a group of 4.

Diageo releases Game of Thrones whisky collection-  a range of whiskies based on HBO’s hit TV series Game of Thrones, comprising the limited edition White Walker by Johnnie Walker and The Game of Thrones Single Malt Scotch Whisky Collection. The whiskies featured in the collection are as follows:- House Tully – Singleton of Glendullan Select; Around $30 for 750ml; ABV 40%House Stark – Dalwhinnie Winter’s Frost; Around $40 for 750ml; ABV 43%.  House Targaryen – Cardhu Gold Reserve; Around $40 for 750ml; ABV 40%.  House Lannister – Lagavulin 9 Year Old; Around $65 for 750ml; ABV 46%.  House Greyjoy – Talisker Select Reserve; Around $45 for 750ml; ABV 45.8%.  House Baratheon – Royal Lochnagar 12 Year Old; Around $65 for 750ml; ABV 40%.  House Tyrell – Clynelish Reserve; Around $60 for 750ml; ABV 51.2%.  The Night’s Watch – Oban Bay Reserve; Around $63 for 750ml; ABV 43%. Over to you on this one – we like them all.