Lough Gill Distillery

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Lough Gill Distillery (Sligo, Ireland): Address, Phone Number - Tripadvisor

Lough Gill Distillery

Lough Gill Distillery

Lough Gill Distillery is an Irish Whiskey Distillery in the former abandoned factory site behind Hazelwood House in County Sligo. The stunning property sits on an 80 acre peninsula surrounded by water on three sides.

Hazelwood House was built in 1725 by renowned architect Richard Cassels and has seen many industries pass through its grounds over the years, including a nylon yarn factory and a production house for video tapes.  

The history of the area stretches back even further than that, as it was once the seat of the O’Connor family, High Kings of Ireland.

The size of the factory and the readily available water made it a perfect location for distillation and on site maturation.

In 2022, The Sazerac Company surprised the whiskey community by announcing it had purchased the distillery with plans to redevelop it as the brand home for its Irish whiskey portfolio. 

Athrú is the whiskey brand that Lough Gill Distillery has so far introduced to the world. “Athrú” is the Irish word meaning to “change” or “transform”.

Though it will be years before their own spirit is ready they have sourced a trio of releases under this brand name. 

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lough gill distillery tour

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Your essential visitor’s guide to Lough Gill

  • August 11, 2023

Lough Gill, Co. Sligo.

Our comprehensive travel guide explores the captivating allure of Lough Gill at the border of Counties Sligo and Leitrim, from its breathtaking views to its rich history and family-fun activities!

Stradling the county bounds between Sligo and Leitrim in the heart of Yeats Country in the west of Ireland, the enchanting Lough Gill beckons visitors with its remarkable natural beauty and fascinating heritage.

Measuring about 15 square kilometres, this freshwater lake boasts some 20 small, uninhabited islands, each with its own unique character and history. Surrounded by lush woodland and rolling hills, the lake creates a postcard-perfect landscape.

Lough Gill is designated a Special Area of Conservation, making it a haven for nature lovers, wildlife enthusiasts and birdwatchers. Its rich biodiversity supports a thriving ecosystem which includes many rare and protected plant and animal species.

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Getting to lough gill.

Lough Gill is accessible by car or boat.

Visiting Lough Gill by car

The lake is easy to access from both Sligo town and Galway city, making it the perfect destination for a day trip. The journey from Sligo takes around 15 minutes by car via the R286. From Galway, it takes about 2 hours by car via the N83, N17, N4 and R286.

Visit Lough Gill.

With signposts guiding the way, it’s possible to drive around the lake and the entire journey takes approximately an hour.

Parking at Lough Gill

Parking is available at various locations near the lake (for instance, at Hazelwood and Slish Wood). The vantage points along the way provide ideal opportunities to pull over, hop out of the car and soak up the stunning views!

Visiting Lough Gill by boat

If you don’t have a car, you can travel to Lough Gill aboard the “ Rose of Innisfree ”, an all-weather tour boat, which departs from Doorly Park in Sligo town and Parke’s Castle, Co. Leitrim, daily from Easter to October. Read on for more on this fun travel option!

Lough Gill’s heritage

Lough Gill was formed during the last Ice Age when retreating glaciers carved out its limestone basin.

Its name, derived from the Irish “ Loch Gile ”, meaning “bright or white lake”, alludes to its shimmering waters, fed by the Bonet River. However, a medieval text, the Metrical Dindshenchas, recalls a legend that the lake was named after Romra’s daughter, Gile.

A visitor's guide to Lough Gill.

The area surrounding Lough Gill is steeped in the legends of Queen Maeve of Connacht and the heroic Fionn mac Cumhaill and the Fianna.

Medieval history of Lough Gill

Lough Gill’s history spans many centuries, during which a great number have found solace on the lake’s idyllic islands. In the medieval period, monks and other religious communities settled on Church Island and Cottage Island . The archaeological remains of these sites are still there to be explored today.

Church on Beezie's Island.

Lough Gill has a long history as a contested borderland, as is common with marginal landscapes like lakes. During the early medieval period, it formed part of the Uí Ruairc kingdom of the powerful Uí Briuin Bréifne of West Bréifne. However, the Ó Ruaircs’ influence waned after the demise of Thigearnán Ó Ruairc at the hands of Hugh de Lacy’s forces in 1172 AD. In the late medieval period, the lordships of Cairbre and West Bréifne competed to control the lake.

From 1400, the Ó Ruaircs made their home in a tower house on the northeastern shore of Lough Gill. In the early 17th century, Captain Robert Parke constructed a manor house (or castle) on the same site incorporating the bawn wall that initially surrounded the tower house.

Tragedy struck the castle in 1677 when two of Parke’s children drowned, leading to its eventual abandonment and disrepair. Recently restored, Parke’s Castle is open to the public. Scroll down to find out more about the castle!

Modern history of Lough Gill

In more recent times, some locals have found a sense of peace and seclusion on the lake. This includes the very last lake dweller, Beezie Gallagher  of Cottage Island, while pregnant women would visit Church Island and crawl inside Our Lady’s Bed to invoke its protective and curative powers.

Beezie Gallagher

The lake’s charm and mystique have attracted renowned poets and writers, including the famed William Butler Yeats. Here, he found creative inspiration for his iconic poem, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree”, as well as other pieces.

While the island’s connection to Yeats continues to captivate visitors, we wonder if a different island on Lough Gill could have inspired this celebrated poem and ask the pertinent question, could Church Island be Yeats’ treasured “Lake Isle of Innisfree”?

View of Church Island on Lough Gill County Sligo

Discover more about Lough Gill’s history

Dive into the depths of Lough Gill’s past with our series of articles focusing on this beautiful region (or keep on reading to find out what you can do when you visit Lough Gill):

>>> Church Island on Lough Gill: its history and archaeology >>> Could Church Island be Yeats’ treasured “Lake Isle of Innisfree”? >>> How Our Lady’s Bed on Church Island protected expectant mothers >>> Cottage Island on Lough Gill: its history and archaeology >>> The “Lady of the Lake”: Beezie and her island

Activities on and around Lough Gill

For those eager to experience the wonders of the lake up close, a range of activities await!

Swimming and paddling at Lough Gill

Public access to Lough Gill is available at several locations, offering parking facilities, including Inishfree Pier on the south side of the lake, Shriff Bay, Aughamore, Hazelwood Bay and near the outflow of the Garavogue River. From these points, you can dip your toes, paddle and swim in the refreshing water.

However, we recommend that you exercise caution and be mindful of the risks: the water’s temperature can be extremely cold, the lakebed is rocky underfoot, there are no lifeguards and water conditions can be unpredictable. If in doubt, don’t swim!

Lake cruise on Lough Gill

You can discover the beauty of Lough Gill on board the “ Rose of Innisfree ”, an all-weather, fully wheelchair-accessible vessel. Indulge in refreshments and snacks from the fully stocked bar as you enjoy the live commentary and poetry recitals featuring the lyrical verses of the great W.B. Yeats.

There are two departure points: Doorly Park in Sligo town and Parke’s Castle, Co. Leitrim, with daily sailings from Easter to October. Adult tickets are priced at €25, and concessions are available for students, seniors and large pre-booked groups.

Kayaking & water sports on Lough Gill

Explore the shimmering lake waters by kayak with Sligo Kayak Tours . Located at Waterglades, adjacent to Healy Plants Garden Centre, on the lake’s western shore, they offer expertly guided tours for an unforgettable experience. Sailing and waterskiing can also be enjoyed on the lake, while Sligo Bay SUP offers stand-up paddleboarding tours on Lough Gill.

Kayaking on Lough Gill.

As you glide through the waters, enjoy the breathtaking vistas, take in the tranquil surroundings and get up close with unique wildlife. Watch out for the otters!

If you have your own boat, there are two launch ramps: one on the north side of the lake near Hazelwood and the other on the southwest side at the Sligo Anglers Pontoon. So you can launch your boat from the trailer, while smaller crafts can be safely launched at the water’s edge at various locations around the lake.

Fishing on Lough Gill

Anglers can test their skills in Lough Gill’s pristine waters. Known for its bountiful spring salmon and brown trout stocks, as well as bream, rudd, pike and perch, the most productive fishing months are February and March. The lake is, however, currently subject to catch-and-release restrictions and before casting off, you are advised to consult with IFI-Ballina to ensure compliance with the latest regulations.

Lakeside walks at Lough Gill

For those who prefer a leisurely hike, a selection of clearly marked lakeside trails await, accompanied by on-site parking.

Among them is the delightful 4.2km flat looped nature trail meandering through Hazelwood Demesne , a mature forest that formed part of the Wynne Estate for 300 years. A friend of the family, Yeats was a regular visitor to Hazelwood House.

Hazelwood House and Lough Gill Distillery.

The Hazelwood trail features information panels and wooden sculptures by renowned Irish and international sculptors. With multi-access paths and two shorter alternative routes, this easy trail ensures suitability for all ages and abilities.

Winding through an area lush with oak, rowan and willow, the hillside Slish Wood 3km strenuous track offers a more challenging hike. In Yeats’ poem “The stolen child”, Slish Wood was referred to under the more beguiling name “Sleuth Wood”.

Hiking at Lough Gill.

Another looped trail starts at Dooney Rock and rewards walkers with some of the best views of the lake, despite its shorter length of just 1.2km. Yeats drew inspiration from this area when writing his poem “The Fiddler of Dooney”.

All of these walking trails form part of the  Sligo Walks network, which encompasses over 80km of trails including several upland routes. Whichever path you choose, be sure to stop and take a moment at each viewing point to soak up the spectacular views of Church Island and Cottage Island .

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Picnic facilities at Lough Gill

Several designated picnic areas are also dotted around the lake, including at the car parks attached to Hazelwood Forest, Slish Wood and Dooney Rock Forest trails. So don’t forget to bring a packed lunch and watch out for the red squirrels and pine martens!

Parke’s Castle

Parke’s Castle (Eircode: F91 FP71), a restored plantation manor house from the early 17th century, was once the residence of English planter Robert Parke and in recent times, it has been lovingly restored.

Parke's Castle, Lough Gill, County Leitrim.

The castle is open daily from 10am to 6pm (last admission 5:15pm) from March to November (2023 times). Adult tickets are priced at €5, and concessions are available for children, students, seniors and families; admission is by cash only. Visitors can explore the exhibits, take guided tours and enjoy the gardens overlooking the lake. Toilet facilities, including those for visitors with disabilities, are available on-site.

Dromahair village

If you didn’t pack a picnic, a visit to the charming village of Dromahair, on the banks of the River Bonet, is a must! With pubs, restaurants and shops, this picturesque village offers a warm welcome. Nearby you’ll also find the well-preserved Creevelea Abbey, an early 16th-century Franciscan friary.

Creevelea Abbey, County Leitrim.

Our verdict: visit Lough Gill

Whether you seek an adventurous escape into an unspoiled wilderness or a relaxing retreat, Lough Gill beckons with its unique allure, rich historical heritage, archaeological treasures and captivating folklore. A haven of tranquillity and timeless natural beauty, this region remains a little-known treasure in the west of Ireland, which delivers an inexpensive day out for all the family.

If you’ve visited Lough Gill before, please share your travel tips with our readers in the comment section below!

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Lough Gill Distillery

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lough gill distillery tour

Lough Gill Distillery - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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Lough Gill distillery uploaded by Ben, 07. Feb 2106

The Lough Gill distillery is located on the lake of the same name in the northwest of Ireland. With the help of Master Blender Billy Walker, the so-called Athrú Single Malts are produced there. The Whiskeys are inspired by the regional landscape and mythology.

Distillery address: 

Lough Gill Distillery Hazelwood Avenue Sligo F91 Y820 Ireland Tel: +353 (0)19011218 Email:  sales@ remove-this. loughgilldistillery.com  

User Notes about the Distillery

Share your experience with other whisky lovers. Write a note about your trip to the Lough Gill distillery.

Athru Keshcorran

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While at this location I can also ask participants to taste their second whiskey and this time I focus more on the taste or palate. I suggest taking a very small sip to begin with, like you’re sipping a very hot coffee. What does the whiskey feel like inside your mouth as you move it around and squash it? Is it oily, hot, sweet, savoury or bitter for example? Can you now taste the raisin or pepper or liquorice? I like to add a little drop of water to our whiskies as the alcohol content is quite high and the small bit of water can unlock other flavours. I’m now on my way to the final destination, the maturation warehouse for the third tasting.

MATURATION WAREHOUSE AND THIRD TASTING

Once inside the warehouse, I can talk to the participants about what casks we fill, where we source them and of course how many are in the warehouse. There’s always a question or two about the building itself as it’s remarkable in size and the potential is massive not only to the company but to the local area as an attraction. Before ending the call, we all taste Keshcorran, the final whiskey and my personal favourite. The flavours in this whiskey are orchard fruits like green apples and pears but you can also get pineapple and lemon sherbet. I ask everyone to focus on the finish of the whiskey this time. What flavours linger? How long can you still taste them in your mouth after taking a sip? What was everyone’s favourite? By this point everyone is a little tipsy and we can all relax and chat.

Our next virtual tour and tasting is on 13 May; you can book tickets below. We would love to see you there.

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Irish Whiskey Magazine

Lough Gill Distillery

Lough Gill Distillery is situated in a unique location in Co. Sligo in the West of Ireland.

Irish Whiskey Magazine - Lough Distillery - Aerial View

Their Story

Lough Gill Distillery is situated in a unique location in Co. Sligo in the west of Ireland. An area surrounded by history, folklore and mythology. Conceived in Ireland and built by master craftsmen in Italy, this state of the art distillery was commissioned in 2019 and is capable of producing over 1 million litres of alcohol per annum, equating to about three million bottles of ultra-premium spirit. Using three specially designed pot stills, they are dedicated to the production of triple distilled single malt whiskey in the Irish tradition.

Style of Whiskey Produced

Single Malt

On Site Maturation

Brands produced.

Athru Annacoona Athru Keshcorran Athru Knocknarea

Visitor Centre

clonakilty map

Breathtaking views abound on the Wild Atlantic Way, like Fanad Head and its lighthouse located at the mouth of Lough Swilly. CHRIS HILL / TOURISM IRELAND / FAILTE IRELAND

Whiskey Makers of Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way

July 5, 2023 –––––– Jonny McCormick , , , ,

Ireland’s spectacular west coast features some of the most stunning coastal scenery on earth. It’s a paradise for surfers, walkers, sailors, history buffs, food lovers, and whiskey fans—offering an epic coastline-hugging journey of 1,600 miles through ancient lands where towering cliffs have withstood the raw power of Atlantic waves for thousands of years. The route wends around the headlands of Cork in Ireland’s southwest, all the way up to Donegal in the northwest. Its shores fire the imagination with craggy islands, historic treasures, natural wonders, magnificent castles, quaint harbors, colorful towns, and deserted beaches. The entire route takes at least a week or two to cover, and more time will be required if you want to visit distilleries and sample the fine fare at the pubs along the way. But you don’t have to tackle it all, of course. The route can be started from either end, but since vehicles in Ireland drive on the left, go south to north if you want to drive next to the ocean.

lough gill distillery tour

Kinsale to Limerick

Kinsale, in County Cork, is home to a scenic harbor, restaurants,shops, and art galleries. EDUARDO FONSECA ARRAES/GETTY IMAGES

Michael Scully founded Clonakilty Distillery to make single pot still Irish whiskey; its first spirit was distilled in 2019. It has a Bühler mill, capable of handling different types of grain, and a mash conversion vessel used to achieve starch conversion of the malted and unmalted grains prior to being transferred to the lauter tun. The production team is experimenting with varying ratios of unmalted to malted barley, and have used 60:40, 50:50, and 40:60 single pot still recipes. Their aspiration is an elegant fruity spirit, so they employ long fermentation times of 100-120 hours, triple distill in long-necked stills, and have designed their spirit still with an upsloping lyne arm to allow only the lighter vapors over into the final spirit. Visitors can get an up-close view of this working distillery in a tour followed by a tasting.

The Scully family grows barley on their farm by the Galley Head lighthouse, including heritage varieties like Goldthorpe. The lighthouse has stood at the ocean’s edge since 1875. Scully uses his own barley for the unmalted portion of their single pot still recipes, while the malt comes from other farms in County Cork. Sitting 200 feet above the cliff edge, the farm can claim to have Ireland’s most southerly whiskey warehouse, and Clonakilty is filling it with a variety of barrels including bourbon, sherry, port, cognac, rum, stout, beer, and shaved-toasted-recharred wine casks. The current Clonakilty single malt releases, however, are sourced whiskeys finished by the team. Clonakilty was the first Irish distillery to offer private barrel selections in the U.S., and Clonakilty’s own single pot still whiskey is expected in 2024.

Further west, you’ll find Skibbereen, home to West Cork Distillers, a large operation that will accommodate visitors by appointment. Further west is Cape Clear Island, where Cape Clear Distillery is making gin and planning to build a whiskey distillery. There is a ferry service to Cape Clear that runs from the coastal town of Baltimore, but should you wish to keep going, the route winds around Mizen Head, Ireland’s most southwesterly point, where a footbridge can carry you perilously high above the crashing waves to a lighthouse.

Heading north and passing Bantry Bay, you can travel toward Kerry via the spectacular Healy Pass or take the coastal road to Allihies, with the option to take a detour to ride the cable car to Dursey Island. Explore the Iveragh Peninsula on the Ring of Kerry (a 111 mile stretch of roadway), taking in the colorful town of Sneem, Derrynane Beach, the Kerry Cliffs, and the dramatic drive through the Gap of Dunloe, which is a scenic pass through a glacial valley in the mountains, known as Macgillycuddy’s Reeks. Check out Portmagee, a coastal town that now has a sourced rum-finished whiskey named after it, available for tasting at the Portmagee Whiskey Experience, which has planning permission for a new distillery. The town is also where boat tours to Skellig Michael can be booked in the summer. The Skellig Islands are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you’ll discover the beehive stone huts of the monastic settlement established around the 7th century that was used as a movie location for “Star Wars” episodes VII and VIII.

Driving around the Dingle Peninsula takes you past Inch Strand, where “Ryan’s Daughter” was filmed, and where you can experience the Conor Pass, the Slea Head Drive, or take the ferry to Great Blasket Island. The peninsula’s whiskey attraction is Dingle Distillery, which opened in 2012 and makes single malt and single pot still whiskeys. Dingle recently launched its first core single malt expression using only first-fill casks.

Dingle is a small “no frills” distillery with no automation. Visitors can get up close to see inside the mash tun and smell the aromas, feel the heat from the three stills, and end their tour with a tasting of Dingle’s whiskeys, gin, and vodka. The main focus is the triple distilled single malt and pot still whiskeys, but Dingle has also experimented with double distillation, sometimes even throwing a bit of peated malt into the mix. The peat might be the influence of Graham Coull, Dingle’s Scottish master distiller. Initially, Dingle’s cask maturation focused on bourbon, sherry, and port, but more recently it has expanded to muscatel, rye, rum, and wine casks to create future Dingle expressions to suit every palate.

The final leg of this section takes you through Tralee, home of the Rose of Tralee festival, and on to Limerick.

lough gill distillery tour

KINSALE TO LIMERICK

DISTILLERIES

1 Blacks of Kinsale 2 Clonakilty Distillery 3 West Cork Distillers Limited 4 Cape Clear Distillery 5 Dingle Distillery

6 Fota Island Resort 7 The Europe Hotel & Resort

8 Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder 9 Dick Mack’s Pub

Limerick to Galway

The journey from Limerick around County Clare takes you past the mouth of River Shannon, around Loop Head, up to Spanish Point, where ships of the fleeing Spanish Armada wrecked in 1588, to Lisdoonvarna, home of the world-famous singles matchmaking festival. The 15th-century Knappogue Castle in Ennis, County Clare, lends its name to a well-respected Irish whiskeys, but it is not a distillery and is mainly used as an entertainment venue for medieval banquets—Irish Distillers, down in Midleton, County Cork, is in charge of the whiskeys now. County Clare is home to J.J. Corry, founded by Louise McGuane, who brought Irish whiskey bonding back to the family farm in 2015. She has since built an inventory of a variety of cask types and whiskeys of different ages in a bonded rackhouse used to age its whiskeys, including The Gael and The Hanson.

Offshore lie the Aran Islands, famous for their patchwork landscapes carved up by dry-stacked stone walls, world-renowned knitwear, and historical sites like Dún Aonghasa, which dates back to the Bronze Age. Further north into County Clare are the Cliffs of Moher and The Burren, a UNESCO Global Geopark. The Burren is a rocky limestone slab, a natural wonder and uniquely important habitat that looks like a lunar landscape.

Nearby, Noel Ó Lochlainn founded Burren Distillers in 2013, a boutique distillery that has been laying down 150 casks of spirit a year since 2019 in pursuit of creating a special single- estate triple-distilled whiskey. Visitors can see the distillery workers as they floor malt the local barley, the Irish oak vats used for mashing and fermenting, and the direct-fired alembic stills similar to the one introduced by the Cistercian monks to Corcomroe Abbey in the 12th century. Ó Lochlainn is intent on producing a highly independent spirit that tastes like no other today, drawing on Gaelic, French, and Spanish influences from a time when this was an important trading port, back to the time of Brehon law and the mid-13th century onward, when the merchant families of the Tribes of Galway held sway. Burren Distillers is definitely one to watch.

lough gill distillery tour

Finally to Galway, the largest city on the route, and an excellent place to explore on foot with its rich history of language, music, and dance, and plenty of options for good food, live music, and a pint or a whiskey. It’s also where you’ll find Micil Distillery, which started laying down spirit for whiskey in 2020, becoming the first new distillery in the city in over 100 years. Reflecting the spirit of their native Connemara, brothers Pádraic and Jimín Ó Griallais make poitín and whiskeys from 100% Irish grains, focusing on peated styles by malting with turf from the family farm at Inverin. They are 6th generation poitín makers, drawing on 170 years of know-how, though Pádraic and Jimín admit they are the first in the family to make whiskey legally.

lough gill distillery tour

LIMERICK TO GALWAY

1 J.J. Corry 2 Burren Distillers 3 Micil Distillery

4 Adare Manor 5 Dromoland Castle Hotel 6 Glenlo Abbey Hotel & Estate

7 O’Loclainn’s Irish Whiskey Bar 8 Garavan’s Bar 9 Sonny Molloy’s

Galway to Sligo

This is a remarkably picturesque leg of the journey that cuts through Connemara, passing Kylemore Abbey, the sea stack at Downpatrick Head, and on to Croagh Patrick, Ireland’s holy mountain that overlooks Clew Bay. There are charming towns to explore, like Spiddal, Clifden, Roundstone, and Westport that you’ll never want to leave. And if you like catching big waves, the coastline around Mayo and Sligo is known as the surf coast. It was at Derrigimlagh, an area known for its blanket peat bog, where Guglielmo Marconi set up the first transatlantic radio station and sent the first transatlantic radio message in 1907. A collectible limited-edition Jameson released to mark the centenary of Marconi’s ties to early radio still comes up at auction periodically.

The distillery options in Mayo are improving every year. Lough Mask Distillery is a craft distillery in Killateeaun that opened in 2018. One-hour tours are offered where you can view the alembic stills used to create peated and unpeated double-distilled spirits designated to become Loch Measc single malt. Connacht Distillery, the first legal distillery in the area in over 150 years, is housed inside an old bakery by the River Moy, and began distilling in 2016. The inaugural release of its own whiskey was a batch of double distilled single malt launched in 2021 made from 100% Irish malt, though triple distilled whiskeys are maturing in the warehouse. The distillery can produce 300,000 liters of pure alcohol per year (lpa), and everything from mashing to bottling is done on-site. Tours are available by appointment.

No visit to the area is complete without a drive across the swing bridge to Achill Island to see Keem Bay. Now the island has the Achill Island Distillery, where visitors can take the tour and sample the whiskeys of its Irish American brand.

Lough Gill Distillery in County Sligo was commissioned in 2019 and is the home of Athrú whiskey. Buffalo Trace owner Sazerac acquired the distillery in 2022 and moved in its Paddy’s and Michael Collins brands, appointing Helen Mulholland from Bushmills as master blender, and announcing its intention to expand production and turn the distillery into a major visitor attraction.

lough gill distillery tour

GALWAY TO SLIGO

1 Lough Mask Distillery 2 Achill Island Distillery 3 The Connacht Distillery 4 Lough Gill Distillery

5 Ashford Castle 6 Castle Dargan Hotel

7 Shoot the Crows

Sligo to Inishowen

The final leg of the journey takes us out of Sligo past the flat-topped Benbulben Mountain in Yeats country, through Leitrim’s coastline, and into Donegal. This is a wild landscape, sparsely populated, with small clusters of cottages dotted around the hillsides, and boasts landmarks such as Fanad Head and its lighthouse, Mount Errigal, Mamore Gap, the megalithic tomb at Carrowmore, the Glengesh Pass, and Sliabh Liag, Ireland’s highest sea cliffs. The distilleries in Donegal that are open to the public are easy to access by way of the northern leg of the Wild Atlantic Way.

Opened in 2022, Sliabh Liag’s Ardara Distillery produces peated single malt.

Ardara is home to festivals, art galleries, and a thriving community of craftspeople, so the addition of Ardara Distillery in 2022 seemed like a natural development. It’s operated by Sliabh Liag Distillers, and is dedicated to the production of smoky Irish whiskey using malt peated with Donegal turf up to 55 phenol parts per million. With its Forsyths distilling equipment and a production capacity of 500,000 lpa, is laying down spirit for single malt and single pot still whiskeys using an “all grains in” technique, with Donegal oats and barley. Visitors can see the whole process up close, including the cooker, the stainless steel fermenters, and the three copper pot stills, finishing with a tasting of their Silkie whiskey range, named after the mermaid legend of the Atlantic coast.

Crolly Distillery produces single malt and single pot still whiskeys.

Crolly Distillery has installed direct-fired alembic stills from the Cognac region of France, and started laying down single malt in 2020 and single pot still whiskey in 2021 using a grain-to-glass approach. Sampling its sourced whiskeys is part of the tour experience. Baoilleach Distillery, also in Donegal, is a cottage grain distillery where distiller Michael O’ Boyle makes small batches of craft spirits using a small copper pot still and column. You can also nip across the Northern Ireland border into County Tyrone to visit the aptly named Wild Atlantic Distillery in Aghyaran, a small craft operation that’s beginning to lay down spirit for a new Irish whiskey.

The journey’s end approaches, taking in the spectacular Rosguill Peninsula, followed by the Inishowen Peninsula, making for Malin Head, Ireland’s most northerly point. It’s a fitting end to this adventure, from Mizen to Malin; every traveler will leave the road with memories to last a lifetime, as well as a better appreciation of the fine whiskeys being crafted along this rugged Irish coastline.

lough gill distillery tour

SLIGO TO INISHOWEN

1 Sliabh Liag Distillery/Ardara 2 The Crolly Distillery 3 Baoilleach Distillery 4 Wild Atlantic Gin School & Distillery Tours

5 Lough Eske Castle

6 Nancy’s 7 Blakes of the Hollow

HOTELS OF THE WAY

Fota Island Resort Co. Cork • fotaisland.ie A superb hotel and spa on an island in Cork Harbor with three championship golf courses.

The Europe Hotel & Resort Co. Kerry • theeurope.com A luxury hotel on the shore of Lough Léin, near Killarney.

Glenlo Abbey KELVIN GILLMOR PHOTOGRAPHY

Adare Manor Co. Limerick • adaremanor.com This jewel offers a Michelin-starred restaurant, and will host the 2027 Ryder Cup on its Tom Fazio-designed golf course.

Dromoland Castle Co. Clare • dromoland.ie Impressive accommodations are offered in this 16th-century baronial castle with a championship golf course.

Glenlo Abbey Hotel & Estate Co. Galway • glenloabbeyhotel.ie Five-star luxury lodging dating back to the 18th century, with a 9-hole golf course.

Ashford Castle Co. Mayo • ashfordcastle.com A contender for Ireland’s finest hotel experience, here you can spend the night in an 800 year old castle that was formerly the home of the Guinness family, and the grounds were used for scenes in “The Quiet Man.”

Castle Dargan Estate Co. Sligo • castledargan.com Stay in a magnificent 18th-century house set on 170 acres of mature woodland with a championship golf course.

Lough Eske Castle Co. Donegal • lougheskecastlehotel.com Sleep in this 17th-century castle hotel after enjoying a whiskey in the Father Browne bar, named after the photographer who disembarked from the Titanic at Cobh, Co. Cork with a most remarkable set of photographs before the ship set sail on the final part of its voyage.

BACK TO SCHOOL

On your way to or from the Wild Atlantic Way, consider a little education at The Irish Whiskey Academy. Set on the campus of Irish Distillers’ Midleton Distillery, about 15 miles east of Cork, the Academy will educate more than 1,000 whiskey enthusiasts this year. Most attendees are industry people, but there’s also room for regular whiskey lovers who come from around the world. The Academy offers two course options:

•A one-day session, the Discoverer Package, covers raw materials, brewing and fermentation, pot still versus continuous distillation, maturation and cask types, bottling, a distillery and warehouse tour, cask sampling, and whiskey tastings. Lunch is included. The course is offered once a month at $380.

•A two-day session, the Enthusiast Academy, offers a more in-depth treatment of the same topics, along with a live cooperage demonstration and a visit and tasting at the Irish Distillers micro distillery where Method & Madness whiskeys are created. Also included are a 5-Star hotel accommodation, dinner in Cork, and lunch on both days. This one is held once every quarter for $1,292.

Reservations can be made at irishwhiskeyacademy.com . Graduates receive a personalized bottle of whiskey, Irish Whiskey Academy book, and the Academy’s certificate of completion. Framed and mounted, it makes a great addition to the memorabilia of any whiskey fan.— David Fleming

WHISKEY AND WHALES

In the seaside town of Clonakilty in Ireland’s southwest stands a weather-beaten copper sculpture of a whale’s tail. It was inspired by a beloved humpback named Boomerang, who holds the distinction of being Ireland’s most famous whale. Boomerang, who can be identified by the unique markings on his tail, was first sighted in 2001 and has come back to Clonakilty’s shores nearly every year since. The locals gave him that name because his return is so reliable. The sculpture, a landmark on the Wild Atlantic Way, stands right beside Clonakilty Distillery. Inspired by it and the abundance of whales and dolphins in its coastal waters, Clonakilty has made the minke whale tail its logo, and it can be seen on all its labels. It even makes a gin called Minke. “People come for a tasting and tour of the distillery, and later go on a whale-watching tour,” notes Clonakilty founder and owner Michael Scully.

lough gill distillery tour

•Atlantic Whale & Wildlife Tours offers guided whale and dolphin-watching tours from the harbor at Courtmacsherry. Run by husband and wife Mark and Patricia Gannon, trips are available daily. atlanticwhaleandwildlifetours.com

•Whale Watch West Cork in the nearby town Baltimore also offers a variety of whale and dolphin tours run by whale expert Nic Slocum. whalewatchwestcork.com

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20 Irish Whiskey Distillery Tours You Should Consider for Your Trip to Ireland

My first tour of an Irish whiskey distillery was Bushmills in County Antrim.

It was a blustery day in November. Snow was spitting from the sky and I was wrapped up in my Big Bird yellow jacket.

lough gill distillery tour

Instead of swinging on the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, we opted to get out of the weather and try a bit of Irish whiskey (a very good decision I’d say).

As we collected our tickets for the tour and began exploring the Bushmills memorabilia in the large entrance hall, the lovely hostess asked if I wanted a hot toddy.

If I wasn’t warmed up already, I certainly was by the time my drink was done. Perfectly hot whiskey, water, honey, cinnamon and clove.

Irish Whiskey Distillery Hot Toddy

Even though we don’t drink too much, I am tempted to make some for the holidays this year. I don’t think Joe would mind. :-)

In 2017 we went to the Dingle Distillery–so you’d think I’ve had enough. But I’m already working on our plans for our next trip to Ireland, and I am definitely planning another tour.

Thinking that we’ll do something a little less well-known, I am loving the sound of Pearse Lyons Distillery in Dublin.

Housed in St. James church, the tour includes the traditional Irish whiskey distillery bit, but also history/tour of the church and cemetery.

Sounds right up my alley.

20 Irish Whiskey Distillery Tours

Earlier this year, I put together a list of breweries that you can tour in Ireland. It’s become quite a popular reference, so I thought a distillery tour list was due.

You should know that the Irish whiskey business is booming (so book ahead to guarantee your spot).

I’ve included a few distilleries at the bottom of this list that don’t have tours (or offer them quite yet). But, check their websites for info, because many seem to be making plans.

Irish Whiskey Distillery Barrells

Irish Whiskey in County Antrim

Old Bushmills Distillery 2 Distillery Rd, Bushmills, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland Multiple tours during the day (number dependent on time of year). First come first serve basis.

Irish Whiskey in County Carlow

Walsh Whiskey Distillery at Royal Oak Royal Oak, Clorusk Lower, Co. Carlow Tours operate every day of the week except Monday. Book online, call +353 59 9186653 or email  [email protected] .

Irish Whiskey in County Cork

Jameson Distillery Midleton Distillery Walk, Midleton, Co. Cork Multiple tours each day (number dependent on time of year). Book online.

West Cork Distillers Marsh Road, Skibbereen, West Cork, Co. Cork West Cork Distillers doesn’t operate standard tours, but tries to accommodate interested visitors. Call +353-28-22815 or email [email protected]

Irish Whiskey in County Down

The Echlinville Distillery Echlinville House, 62 Gransha Rd, Newtownards, Co. Down, Northern Ireland Distillery tours mostly on Saturdays, two to three times a month. Check website for availability. Book online.

They also have a really cool Festive Afternoon Tea option with traditional afternoon tea (well, traditional tea + whiskey) in the Echlinville House, which includes a tour of the Distillery. (Steph’s note–love this).

Irish Whiskey in County Dublin

Pearse Lyons Distillery 121-122 James’s Street, Dublin 8, Co. Dublin Tours run every day every hour on the hour. Book online or buy tickets at the door.

Jameson Distillery Bow Street, Smithfield Village, Dublin 7, Co. Dublin Tours run every day every hour on the hour. Book online or buy tickets at the door.

Teeling Whiskey 13-17 Newmarket, Merchants Quay, Dublin 8, Co. Dublin Tours occur multiple times per day every day of the week. Book online.

Irish Whiskey in County Fermanagh

Boatyard Distillery 3 Tully Bay Marina, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh Tours available. Book online in advance. Full visitor’s center experience opening in 2018. Check website for details.

Irish Whiskey in County Kerry

The Dingle Whiskey Distillery Farranredmond, Dingle, Co. Kerry Multiple tours during the day (number dependent on time of year). Email [email protected] or call +353-66-4029011 to schedule.

Irish Whiskey in County Kilkenny

Ballykeefe Distillery Kyle, Ballykeefe, Cuffsgrange, Co. Kilkenny Tours are Monday-Friday at 2 PM and 4 PM.

Irish Whiskey in County Leitrim

The Shed Distillery of PJ Rigney Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim Vistior Experience Center is under construction. Check website for updates.

Irish Whiskey (ok, Irish Gin) in County Louth

Listoke Gin School Whitethorn House, Ballymakenny Rd, Listoke, Drogheda, Co. Louth An elaborate and informative class on Gin distilling (complete with tour, tasting, and bottling your own). Book online. Runs multiple Fridays and Saturdays each month.

Irish Whiskey in County Mayo

Connacht Distillery Belleek, Ballina, Co. Mayo Tours are Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 12:30 PM & 3:30 PM. Book in advance by emailing [email protected] or call +353 (0)96 74902.

Irish Whiskey in County Meath

Slane Castle Distillery N5, Slanecastle Demesne, Co. Meath Tours occur multiple times per day every day of the week. Book online.

Boann Distillery Lagavooren, Platin Rd., Drogheda, Co. Meath Visitor Centre is opening soon. Check website for details.

Irish Whiskey in County Offaly

Tullamore D.E.W. Bury Quay, Tullamore, Co. Offaly Tours occur every day multiple times a day. Book online.

Irish Whiskey in County Waterford

Renegate/Waterford Whiskey Grattan Quay, Waterford, Co. Waterford Tours by appointment during the week in the morning. Email  [email protected]  for more information.

Irish Whiskey in County Westmeath

Kilbeggan Distillery Lower Main St., Kilbeggan, Co. Westmeath Multiple tour options dependent on the depth of information you want. All offered at various times during the day. Book online.

Other Irish Whiskey Distilleries

Blackwater Distillery Unit 3 Cappoquin Enterprise Park, Cappoquin, Co. Waterford

Cape Clear Distillery  Cape Clear Island, Skibbereen, Co. Cork

Carrick Mill Distillery , Derrylavan Carrickmacross Co. Monaghan

Glendalough Distillery Unit 9 Newtown Business and Enterprise Centre, Newtown Mount Kennedy, Co. Wicklow. No Tours until 2019.

Great Northern Distillery Carrick Road, Dundalk, Co. Louth

Lough Gill Distillery  Hazelwood House, Sligo, Co. Sligo

Powerscourt Distillery , Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow

Shortcross Gin  Rademon Estate Distillery, Downpatrick, Co. Down, N. Ireland

Sliab h Liag Distillery   Ionad Fiontraíochta Shliabh Liag, Line Road, Carrick, Co. Donegal

The Quiet Man Distillery 10 Rossdowney Road, Co. Derry, Northern Ireland

Tipperary Boutique Distillery Newtownadam, Cahir, Co. Tipperary

Tell me, have you been to an Irish whiskey distillery tour? Are you planning one for your next trip? Have you already been to one you loved? I want to know it all. Share in the comments below. :-)

Irish Whiskey distillery

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14 comments.

20!! Wow I’ve got a ways to go. We have done Jameson in Midleton (twice ?), Kilbeggan and Tullamore. We tried to do Bushmills but the day we were there very high winds prevented tours because slate tiles were being blown off the roof—too dangerous!! However, at the reception desk they did give us a nice small bottle of Bushmills since we couldn’t do the tour. I obviously need to put a few of these on my itinerary for 2018!! ?

I know! I’ve got a ways to go to! 2 down 18 to go. Haha! There are quite a few that are at the top of my list. I’m wondering how long it will take me to get to ’em (and how many new ones will open up in the next few years!).

Well that was nice that Bushmills at least gave you a little parting glass. :-)

My wife and I toured both Jamison’s in Midleton and Kilbeggan. Both were good tours, Jamison’s was guided and Kilbeggan’s was self-guided. We also visited the tasting room/store for Tullimore D.E.W. but not the distillery itself. I agree that even if you are not a whiskey drinker, taking a distillery tour is lots of fun. On my 2018 trip I’ll be over-nighting in Midleton and will visit the store even if I don’t take the tour,.

They really are a lot of fun. Just learning about the process and the stories of each distillery (which often is more about the people and the community than it is about the whiskey itself) is worth the price of admission without the gratis drink at the end. Enjoy your time in Midleton! So much to see in that area that many miss. I bet you’ll love it!

Go to Tullamore. Made outside of Tullamore for years, they have returned their operations to their town of origin. Great whiskey and a very good tour. The town of Tullamore is probably worth a stop for some of its pubs. Not a long drive out of Dublin if you’re looking for an easy day trip.

Love this Lee! I’ve had so many of my one-on-one clients go to Tullamore and say the same thing. It’s high on my list to visit!

I would think the best distillery tours and tastings are in the small independent distilleries. Many of the Irish distilleries are owned by big international companies and lack the charm of the local independents. Similar to visiting distilleries in Scotland, the best ones are the small ones that do everything in house on a small scale. I’m interested in your list because a lot of these are not ones you here about.

I couldn’t agree with you more Mark. I love, love, love small and intimate experiences. The guides aren’t typically hired to just do the tour–they are usually involved with the actual process. This is true for lots of experiences in Ireland I think.

I am really intrigued by Nephin Distillery–while they’re just getting up and going, the strong community vibe and the hospitality of the owners really seems to shine through in the website.

Glad to hear the list was helpful!! :-)

Thank you for compiling this list. My husband works at a distillery here in the States, and I have just discovered that balancing our Ireland trips between hill-walking and distilleries makes us both happy. A gin distillery we hope to visit this year is http://thebearadistillery.ie/our-story/ in Castletownbere.

My husband took the day long Irish Whiskey Academy class at Midleton last year and learned so much from it. It is not cheap, but for a deep dive into understanding the science and chemistry of distilling, it was well worth the cost.

Welcome Susan! I am hope it’s helpful. :-) That distillery looks great! I’ll have to add it to the list. Thank you!!

I have heard nothing but absolutely wonderful things about all the tours Midleton does. That one is still on our bucket list, but we love Cork so I don’t think it will be on there long. :-)

We are planning a trip in May 2020 and would love to do dinner distillery tours. Of course Jameson, but would also like to do Teelling, Bushmills and Tulamore DEW. Thanks for the great info!

Welcome Suzie!! I think you’ll love them. I’d put a plug in for Pearse Lyons or Kilbeggan too! They are fantastically atmospheric and historic.

Great list, Planning a whiskey run to Ireland in May and just browsing to see the various ones. You have a great list.

will watch it carefully.

If you haven’t done it yet, the Whiskey Museum in Dublin is fascinating. It talks about different types of Irish whiskey, where they came from, and how they’ve survived the decades. Plus…samples!

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Sazerac Acquires Single Malt Irish Whiskey Maker ‘Lough Gill Distillery’ on 100+ Acre Hazelwood Estate

  • Posted on June 20, 2022
  • By Distillery Trail

Sazerac Co. - Acquires Lough Gill Distillery at Hazelwood Estate

Sazerac Co., owner of Buffalo Trace Distillery  in Frankfort,  Kentucky , The Sazerac House  and museum in New Orleans, Louisiana as well as many other distilled spirits brands, has acquired Irish distillery Lough Gill Distillery at Hazelwood Estate near Sligo in north-west Ireland .

Sazerac Has Big Plans for its New Home for Irish Whiskey

Hazelwood Demesne Limited, owner of the Lough Gill Distillery, sits on a peninsula on the shores of Lough Gill in County Sligo, Ireland. Sazerac plans to fully develop the 100+ acre site, the original demesne of Hazelwood House, to create a world-class whiskey facility and visitor attraction, making it one of the most important tourism centers in the West of Ireland. Once complete, Lough Gill Distillery hopes to welcome up to 150,000 visitors annually and will create a homeplace for Sazerac’s Irish whiskeys, Paddy Irish Whiskey, Michael Collins Irish Whiskey and now Athrú (pronounced Ah Roo) Single Malt Whiskey.

Lough Gill Distillery - Aerial View of Hazelwood Estate and Distillery

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Sazerac has plans to significantly grow the footprint of Lough Gill Distillery through increasing the distillery’s capacity, adding warehousing capacity and expanding production and bottling lines. All current Lough Gill Distillery team members will remain with the business, and it is expected that Sazerac will increase employment after the expansion. As part of the acquisition, Sazerac will continue the development of the Athrú brand, including global distribution.

“With its rich history of distilling and storytelling, Ireland is an ideal homeplace for our whiskey business to flourish,” commented President and CEO at Sazerac Mark Brown. “In particular, the history of the Lough Gill Distillery, dating back to the 18th century, will be an integral keystone in the restoration and storytelling of this site. We look forward to preserving the history, delighting our future visitors by the stories we share, and further expanding the growth opportunities for Paddy, Michael Collins and Athrú Whiskeys.”

“This is a major announcement for Sligo and a vote of confidence in the potential for Sligo to become a major player in the booming global Irish whiskey market,” said Founder of the Lough Gill Distillery David Raethorne. “The acquisition will enable Lough Gill Distillery to fully develop as a world-class visitor destination and will have significant long term economic and tourism benefits for Sligo, which, for me, was always a personal goal.

Lough Gill Distillery - Founder David Raethorne

“In addition, the maintenance and preservation works undertaken to date on Hazelwood House (a house of national importance) have played an essential part in saving it from dereliction. This acquisition will ensure that Hazelwood House will be enjoyed and appreciated by generations to come, another key objective of the project. The Sazerac Company announcement is a culmination of seven years of hard work and determination by the Board of Lough Gill Distillery and the wider team, delivering on our original 2015 vision, when we acquired the site. I would like to formally acknowledge the support of Sligo County Council and its CEO Martin Lydon, which was a key driver in the decision for Sazerac to invest in Sligo.”

Raethorne’s company Hazelwood Demesne bought the Hazelwood House estate, which the distillery is now on, in December 2014. It received planning permission in 2016 that allowed it to transform a former factory at the historic Hazelwood House into a 1,700sqm whiskey distillery and visitors’ center.

Commenting on the announcement, Michael Clarke, Cathaoirleach (Chairman) of Sligo County Council said “This is one of the most significant Sligo investments in recent times. Becoming home to not one, but three, of Ireland’s whiskey brands (Paddy, Michael Collins & Athrú) will have a significant impact on our local economy, both from an employment and tourism perspective.”

Martin Lydon, CEO of Sligo County Council stated “It’s heartening to see the Sazerac Company, one of the world’s premiere distilling and aging spirits companies with a commitment to restoring historical sites, pledge to invest, expand, and restore Lough Gill Distillery. Today’s announcement is proof of the positive and sustaining eco-system for companies to invest in Sligo, supported by Sligo County Council.”

Former Bushmill Master Blender Helen Mulholland to Lead Lough Gill Distilling Team

Lough Gill Distillery - Three Filso Copper Pot Stills

Lough Gill Distillery whiskey is distilled three times, which is why they have three copper pot stills. The stills are made by  Frilli , an Italian company based in Siena, Italy.

  • The first pot still (called the wash still) holds 15,000 liters,
  • the second pot still (called the feint still) is 12,000 liters
  • and the third (called the spirit still) is 7,500 liters.

Alcohol that undergoes triple distillation is lighter in flavor while maintaining a higher strength of spirit, resulting in a cleaner, crisper taste. 

Lough Gill Distillery says the distillate from the third pot still ends up in the spirit receiver where they cut back the spirit from 166 proof (83% ABV) down to 127 proof (63.5% ABV) before it is pumped into ex-Bourbon casks and moved to a warehouse for three years and one day. After that time it can officially be called an Irish Whiskey. 

In tandem with the acquisition, Lough Gill Distillery has also announced that former Bushmills Master Blender, Helen Mulholland, is joining the team.

Old Bushmills Distillery Co - Master Blender Helen Mulholland

In 2018, Helen became the first woman to be inducted into the International Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame and has recently become the first woman to receive a Chairman’s Award for her outstanding contribution to the development of the Irish whiskey industry. 

Helen will lead Lough Gill Distillery’s team in the pursuit of crafting and blending what will become Ireland’s luxury single malt whiskey. Helen will take responsibility for selection and management of the casks for Athrú single malt whiskey, nurturing the Athrú portfolio of premium aged single malts, as well as new product development.

“We are delighted to announce the appointment of Helen Mulholland as Master Blender at Lough Gill Distillery,” said Raethorne. “In her stellar career as a master blender Helen has become one of the heroes of Irish whiskey, and we are confident of even better things to come.” 

Helen Mulholland said “It’s a really exciting time for Lough Gill Distillery. I am very honored to be joining the team as it becomes the home of Paddy, Michael Collins and Athrú whiskies. The distillery, its location, and the incredible team already in place made this a very easy decision. I look forward to bringing my knowledge as a Master Blender to the table to enable us to make some really world-class Irish whiskeys.”

How Much Did Sazerac Pay to Acquire Lough Gill Distillery?

Lough Gill Distillery - Aerial View of Hazelwood Estate and Distillery 2

Terms of the acquisition of Lough Gill Distillery by Sazerac Co. were not disclosed.

Hazelwood Estate if the Origin of “The Song of Wandering Aengus”

Hazelwood House was built in the Palladian style in 1722 by Richard Cassels for the Wynne family, who resided there for 200 years. Cassels went on to build many of the great Irish houses of the 18th Century, but Hazelwood House is special in that it is the earliest of his houses to survive intact. He is recognized as one of Ireland’s greatest architects.

The Hazelwood Estate is said to be the very land that inspired W.B. Yeats’ poem, The Song of Wandering Aengus. Here is a version of that poem performed by Michael Gambon, a name most movie fans would recognize as Professor Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter film series.

Sazerac is one of America’s oldest family-owned, privately held distillers. They operate Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky, Barton 1792 Distillery  in Bardstown, Kentucky, Glenmore Distillery in Owensboro, Kentucky,  A. Smith Bowman Distillery  in Fredericksburg, Virginia and  The Sazerac House  and museum in New Orleans, Louisiana. They have additional operations in California, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Tennessee, and global operations in the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, India, Australia and Canada.

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10 Undiscovered Whiskey Distilleries in Ireland You Should Visit

  • Post author: colette
  • Post published: June 11, 2021
  • Post category: Activities / Whiskey Distilleries
  • Post comments: 2 Comments

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 Visit

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.

Table of Contents

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.

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.

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

During the 16 th 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

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.

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.

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 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

irelandonabudget.com

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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Rose of Innisfree

Take a tour aboard the Rose of Innisfree and experience one of the top-rated Sligo tourist attractions and most popular family day trips on the west coast of Ireland.

Visit lough gill on your sligo tour.

Lough Gill, an eight kilometres long limestone lake, lying just east of Sligo Town, is a place of utter beauty, and one of the must-see Sligo attractions when visiting the West Coast of Ireland.  Steeped in myth and legend, and rich in incredible views, it quickly became one of Sligo’s top-rated tourist attractions and must-do activity on every adventurer’s bucket list. The lake is mainly situated in County Sligo, but partly in County Leitrim.

It features underwater cliffs, and it is listed as a protected site under the EU Habitats Directive. Lough Gill supports several protected species of lamprey, as well as Atlantic salmon, and otter.  

From Parke’s Castle in Leitrim, overlooking the lake, to Cottage Island and Church Island, Lough Gill offers generous nature’s trails, viewing points, and photo opportunities. The lake makes for a beautiful drive at any time of the year.

Commence your Sligo sightseeing and take in all stunning views, unspoiled countryside, and friendly locals! All this and more awaits. Book your one of our Sligo boat tours with the Rose of Innisfree Tourboat.

lough gill distillery tour

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

Made famous by W.B. Yeats, this uninhabited island in the lough is close to where the poet spent idyllic childhood summers. It is said that a sudden memory of the place while walking a busy London street inspired the poem.

lough gill distillery tour

Another Yeats connection, this one is the setting for the strange and beautiful ‘The Song of Wandering Aengus’. There are lovely scenic trails through the wood with sculptures along the way. Swans, mallards and various species of gull can be seen near the picnic area. Fishing available.

lough gill distillery tour

Parkes Castle

This Plantation-era (17th century) fortified manor house on the banks of Lough Gill is also known as Newtown Castle and O’Rourke’s Castle – reflecting its varied and colourful history.

lough gill distillery tour

  • Dromahair Village

A picture-perfect village set in an unspoiled landscape on the banks of the River Bonet seems almost untouched by time. Well worth a visit.

lough gill distillery tour

  • Lough Gill Brewery

This independent, family-run craft brewery draws inspiration from its location on the spectacular Wild Atlantic Way and produces a range of superior beers. And yes, sampling is encouraged.

Lough Gill Attractions:

  • Parke’s Castle
  • Dooney Rock
  • Cottage Island
  • Church Island
  • Beezies Island
  • Tobernalt Holy Well

Dip your toes in the water, swim, paddle, or kayak. And if you prefer to see all this beautiful scenery from the boat, hop on board with Rose of Innisfree to soak up the atmosphere of Yeats backyard. 

IMAGES

  1. Discover Virtual Tour and Tastings Lough Gill Distillery

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  2. Irish Whiskey Magazine

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  3. Lough Gill Distillery

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  4. Lough Gill Distillery

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  5. Lough Gill Distillery

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  6. The Complete Guide to Lough Gill Distillery

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COMMENTS

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  2. Lough Gill Distillery

    Lough Gill Distillery. Lough Gill Distillery is located in Hazelwood Demesne, a 300 year old estate on the banks of Lough Gill, on Irelands Wild Atlantic Way. Athrú whiskeys are Ultra-Premium limited editions and are designed to look like "First Editions" books, telling stories from Celtic Mythology. Our distillery produces one million ...

  3. Lough Gill Distillery

    Lough Gill Distillery is an Irish Whiskey Distillery in the former abandoned factory site behind Hazelwood House in County Sligo. The stunning property sits on an 80 acre peninsula surrounded by water on three sides. Hazelwood House was built in 1725 by renowned architect Richard Cassels and has seen many industries pass through its grounds ...

  4. Luxury Single Malt Irish Whiskey

    buy local virtual tours & tastings distillery distributors Media. Lough Gill Distillery. Hazelwood Avenue, Sligo, F91 Y820, Ireland +353 (0)19011218 [email protected]. Hours. Returns policy Billing terms Shipping policy Website terms privacy & cookies drinkaware.ie

  5. Online whiskey tasting and distillery tour

    The perfect way to learn about Athrú whiskey and meet the makers at the Lough Gill Distillery. Book our online whiskey tasting and distillery tour. Cart 0. Whiskey Story Events Contact Blog Shop Notice of Merger Cart 0. Whiskey Story Events Contact Blog Shop Notice of Merger ...

  6. Your essential visitor's guide to Lough Gill

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  9. Lough Gill Distillery

    The Lough Gill distillery is located on the lake of the same name in the northwest of Ireland. With the help of Master Blender Billy Walker, the so-called Athrú Single Malts are produced there. The Whiskeys are inspired by the regional landscape and mythology.

  10. Lough Gill Distillery

    346 Lough Shore Rd, Drumcrow East, Enniskillen, Northern Ireland BT93 7DX 28.91 mi.

  11. Discover Virtual Tour and Tastings Lough Gill Distillery

    Ollie Alcorn is our head distiller here at the Lough Gill Distillery. In this blogpost, Ollie explains what happens during one of Athrú's virtual tastings. ... NP Newspaper Publication. NP Newspaper Publication. News. All Go Wild Tourism Go Wild - The Food Experience Go Wild On The Lakes Go Wild Dublin Go Ancient East Go Wild ...

  12. Irish Whiskey Magazine

    Their Story. Lough Gill Distillery is situated in a unique location in Co. Sligo in the west of Ireland. An area surrounded by history, folklore and mythology. Conceived in Ireland and built by master craftsmen in Italy, this state of the art distillery was commissioned in 2019 and is capable of producing over 1 million litres of alcohol per ...

  13. Whiskey Along Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way

    No visit to the area is complete without a drive across the swing bridge to Achill Island to see Keem Bay. Now the island has the Achill Island Distillery, where visitors can take the tour and sample the whiskeys of its Irish American brand. Lough Gill Distillery in County Sligo was commissioned in 2019 and is the home of Athrú whiskey.

  14. Hazelwood Estate

    buy local virtual tours & tastings distillery distributors Media. Lough Gill Distillery. Hazelwood Avenue, Sligo, F91 Y820, Ireland +353 (0)19011218 [email protected]. Hours. Returns policy Billing terms Shipping policy Website terms privacy & cookies drinkaware.ie

  15. 20 Irish Whiskey Distillery Tours You Should Consider for Your Trip to

    Lough Gill Distillery Hazelwood House, Sligo, Co. Sligo. Powerscourt Distillery, Enniskerry, ... taking a distillery tour is lots of fun. On my 2018 trip I'll be over-nighting in Midleton and will visit the store even if I don't take the tour,. Reply. Stephanie says: December 14, 2017 at 8:15 pm. They really are a lot of fun. Just learning ...

  16. Sazerac Acquires Single Malt Irish Whiskey Maker 'Lough Gill Distillery

    Lough Gill Distillery says the distillate from the third pot still ends up in the spirit receiver where they cut back the spirit from 166 proof (83% ABV) down to 127 proof (63.5% ABV) before it is pumped into ex-Bourbon casks and moved to a warehouse for three years and one day. ... Craft Distillery and Established Distilleries Tours in our ...

  17. Lough Gill Distillery

    About. Lough Gill Distillery is located in Hazelwood Demesne, a 300 year old estate on the banks of Lough Gill, on Irelands Wild Atlantic Way. Athrú whiskeys are Ultra-Premium limited editions and are designed to look like "First Editions" books, telling stories from Celtic Mythology. Our distillery produces one million litres of Ultra ...

  18. 10 Undiscovered Whiskey Distilleries in Ireland You Should Visit

    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.

  19. Sligo Boat Tours on Lough Gill

    Visit Lough Gill on Your Sligo Tour. Lough Gill, an eight kilometres long limestone lake, lying just east of Sligo Town, is a place of utter beauty, and one of the must-see Sligo attractions when visiting the West Coast of Ireland. Steeped in myth and legend, and rich in incredible views, it quickly became one of Sligo's top-rated tourist ...

  20. Sligo's Distilling History

    The Lough Gill Connection. According to this Irish Times article, there is a direct connection between the poitin trade on Inishmurray and our own Hazelwood House, which provides the backdrop to the Lough Gill Distillery.In 1801, when the island population had dwindled to just one family, they begged Owen Wynne, of Hazelwood, to help populate the island.

  21. ATHRU MEANS GREAT CHANGE AT HAZELWOOD

    2021-04-08 - LOUGH GILL DISTILLERY THE dream is coming true. A headline in the Sligo Weekender in May 2019 declared that whiskey would rescue the famous Hazelwood House - and do a lot more besides. And it's coming to pass, as I was privileged to see last week on a private tour of Lough Gill Distillery's operation.

  22. Our single malt whiskeys

    buy local virtual tours & tastings distillery distributors Media. Lough Gill Distillery. Hazelwood Avenue, Sligo, F91 Y820, Ireland +353 (0)19011218 [email protected]. Hours. Returns policy Billing terms Shipping policy Website terms privacy & cookies drinkaware.ie

  23. Our Story

    Originally hailing from Australia, Ollie was the first member of the Lough Gill Distillery team back in 2014, and has been involved in every aspect of the distillery's design and construction process. Now, Ollie leads a dedicated team who together spend every day on our one obsession - to make the finest single malt whiskey.