Kilkenny Whiskey Guild & Irish whiskey tour

So what is it? The Kilkenny Whiskey Guild is a collection of 10 whiskey haunts throughout Ireland’s Medieval capital. Each one will stock a minimum of 60 Irish Whiskeys and will assist in the customer’s experience through knowledgeable staff, tasting flights, food pairings and mixology. Regular whiskey events will be held in each of the Guild Houses designed to heighten the public’s knowledge of Irish whiskey history production and various styles. The Guild aims to make Kilkenny the leading whiskey tourism destination in Ireland.

The first written account of distilling in Ireland comes from Kilkenny in the 14th century with the Red Book of Ossory and the Kilkenny Whiskey Guild are celebrating and highlighting this history. The Red Book of Ossory is a fourteenth century register of the diocese which is associated with Richard Ledred who was Bishop of Ossory, 1317-60. The volume contains copies of documents which would have been important for the administration of the diocese – constitutions and taxations, memoranda relating to rights and privileges, deeds and royal letters. The register is, however, best known for the texts of songs composed by Bishop Ledred for the vicars choral of St Canice’s Cathedral ‘so that their mouths be not defiled with theatrical, foul and secular songs’. It also contains a treatise on acqua vitae (whiskey to you and me). Richard Ledred is must be noted, is the notorious Bishop who went on to tackle what he considered the important issue of witchcraft. He chased Dame Alice Kyteler out of the country and burned poor Petronella de Meat, her maidservant, for witchcraft.

Whiskey Trail Members: For more information

Billy Byrne’s. Matt The Miller’s. Brewery Corner. Langton’s. Left Bank. Lanigan’s. The Wine Centre. Paris Texas.       The Hibernian Bar and my favourite Dylan Whisky Bar – an old Victorian style bar specialising in fine whiskies. Their whisky library now contains over 200 of the worlds finest whiskies & is continually growing. With comfory leather seating, private snugs, an open turf fire & walls adorned with whiskey mirrors, old advertising and Bob Dylan memorabilia; this bar provides a warm cosy atmosphere.

Why go on about this you ask? Kilkenny is the birthplace of my mum and her family, the Daley’s. I have been there often and would go back anytime at the drop of a hat. We offer tours in Ireland in addition to our Scottish ones, Irish whiskey tours are fun, educational and tasty! Here is just one example to slavour over:

Friday – can be any day – arrive into Dublin from somewhere else, take a train or bus or taxi to Kilkenny city, the HOME of IRISH WHISKEY (the medieval capital of Ireland). Once there check bags into your hotel, we favour the Hibernian and use it regularly on tours. Bags on beds and head doon to the bar. The bar at the Kilkenny Hibernian Hotel is lively with attentive service, open fire and candlelit crystal glasses that will make any occasion sparkle, just take a whiskey in anything, a tin mug maybe? The Hibernian Bar, offering an extensive whiskey menu is at in the front of this historic building, decorated to the highest standards in traditional style. Chill out and enjoy Kilkenny tonight, so much to see and do.

Saturday – a fab breakfast, then wander along for a taste of culture to the Medieval Mile Museum. The museum features some of Kilkenny’s finest stone art dating from Neolithic Ireland through to the medieval era and beyond.  Read through some of Kilkenny unique and historic records dating back as far as the 1200’s. The Medieval Mile itself is steeped in history, architecture and heritage. Kilkenny Castle – tour this impressive castle built in the 12th century by Strongbow and later inhabited for over 600 years by the Butler family. More history at St Canice’s Cathedral & Round Tower. Founded in the 6th Century by Saint Canice after whom Kilkenny is named. The round tower is only one of two in Ireland which the people can still climb today. Time for a drink … Smithwick’s Experience, centuries of history surrounding Kilkenny and its’ history with brewing ale.  The tour begins in the Abbey of St Francis where the 14th Century monks crafted their own ale from the well using ingredients sourced locally in an effort to purify the then undrinkable water.  Beers are grand to drink here by the way. Irelands oldest ale. Smithwicks went from a small local brewery to a national favourite and now a world renowned ale. The interactive tour is available in multiple languages and visitors will learn how the monks originally brewed the famous ale in the 13th Century. Then the Dunmore Cave. The caves have been in use for centuries and have  unearthed interesting archaeological finds including the remains of humans and animals along with Viking jewellery. The cave also has a dark past and was the scene of a Viking massacre in the 9th century as recorded in the Irish Triads, locals fled to the cave to seek refuge but were found by the Viking raiders. In 1999 a hoard of silver wrapped in fine silk was found hidden away deep in the cave and has been dated to 970 AD, it is believed the hoard may have either belong to a Viking whom intended to return at a later date or was an offering to the subterranean gods and spirits.  We find our way home and hit Dylan’s Bar! We let you lose here, enjoy the bar, mix with the locals and enjoy the night. Overnight at the Hibernian hotel.

SundayWalsh Whiskey Distillery visit. Established in 1999 by Bernard and Rosemary Walsh, located in County Carlow on the 18th century Royal Oak estate, in Ireland’s Ancient East region – independent producer of triple-distilled, craft, Irish whiskeys – The Irishman and Writers’ Tears.  It has the capacity to produce 650,000 cases (or 8 million bottles) of whiskey annually. The tour takes approximately 1 hour and includes a taste of the Irishman Founder’s Reserve and selected drams.

We then head back to Co Kilkenny and a pilgrimage to The Ballykeefe Distillery. Discover the origins of Irish whiskey, go back through the ages of Irish whiskey to where it all began at its birthplace. The tour will be a journey through every part of the Ballykeefe operation, which has revived the lost traditions of a family farm distillery, with a unique commitment to environmental protection, carbon neutrality and sustainability. You will visit each stage of the brewing and distilling process, from the mill house, to the brewhouse, to the copper pot stills and the warehouse. You will see up close every step in the process and also enjoy and have explained the many different aromas and smells at each stage of the brewing and distilling process, with your thirst growing you will be taken to the wonderful tasting room, transformed from the horses stable. Completely satisfied we return to Kilkenny city, dropping you back at the hotel. Later this evening we have a special whiskey tasting arranged for you, Matt the Miller’s is arguably one of the most popular pubs in Kilkenny, beside the River Nore, the place has four floors with a bar on each one. A grand finale to Kilkenny. Overnight at the Hibernian Hotel.

Monday – more? We take you back to Dublin, one final night, staying in the city centre, we set you free to explore the capital. Great whiskey pubs include; L.Mulligan Grocer  this is as Irish as it gets, whiskey heaven itself. This traditional-style pub offers whiskey aficionados the chance to delve into the city’s largest range of Irish and global whiskeys. They must be the only pub in Dublin NOT to sell Guinness.18 Stoneybatter, Dublin 7. Next a favourite street – 37 Dawson Street, a fab place, just wander along the whole street … Café En Seine  one of Dublin’s most innovative and creative cocktail menus around and a mouth dropping interior. Peruke & Periwig is a few steps away, a memorable drinking and dining experience at number 31. Open seven nights a week, the ground floor bar offers an extensive selection of cocktails, whiskeys, spirits, liqueurs and wines. Overnight in Dublin.