Close your eyes and imagine standing on a fairway with the cool sea breeze in your hair hearing the waves crash in the distance or a background of rolling green hills. Pure scenery surrounding you, making your golf trip an extraordinary experience.
Now, imagine taking this experience to the next level by visiting a world-class distillery.
Ireland, a country known for lush landscapes and warm hospitality, is equally celebrated for its world-class distilleries. Irish whiskey has a long and proud history of production, boasting global brands such as Jameson and Bushmills. A recent influx in demand for spirits has seen the expansion of variety in the Irish distilling market, ranging from single malts to smooth blends, and the opening of over forty distilleries in a 15-year span. Irish whiskey distilleries attracted over 650,000 visitors in 2022, each highlighting the rich heritage and revival of craftsmanship passed down from earlier generations.
Join us and raise a glass as we explore some of the most popular distilleries along the Wild Atlantic Way, each with their own unique characteristics and history.
The Kingdom, home to some of the world’s finest golf courses including Waterville, Killarney, Dooks, Dingle, Tralee and Ballybunion. It is also known for its formidable peaks across the MacGillicudy’s Reeks Mountain range, the county is now making waves with its thriving distilling industry. The expansion of this market is a testament to the innovation and resilience of other local businesses.
Nestled on the outskirts of Killarney town just an 8-minute drive from Killarney Golf and Fishing Club, this recently founded distillery is quickly becoming a popular name among both whiskey enthusiasts and travellers seeking an authentic Irish experience. The distillery first filled their casks in 2020 and is on track to launch their inaugural whiskey in 2028. Killarney Gin and a variety of botanicals are also distilled at this location. Travelers can visit the distillery for a tour and bite to eat, seeing the whiskey-making process firsthand. Explore the distillation rooms, learn about oak cask selection, and sample the variety of spirits on offer.
Try the local cuisine while experiencing the backdrops of the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks and the Lakes of Killarney, an experience that is a fantastic addition to all trips. Spirits not for you? Why not visit the taproom located on Muckross Road in Killarney to enjoy craft beer and woodfired pizza?
Located along the stunning Dingle Peninsula just a short drive from Dingle Golf Links, this location produces spirits, which it self-proclaims to be small, artisanal, independent, and proud. Founded in 2012 on the back of a post-recession economy, Dingles first whiskey cask was opened in 2015. Since then, the founders have expanded their portfolio, releasing Dingle Gin, a renowned spirit throughout Kerry, and their quintuple distilled vodka—that is right, it is distilled five times!! Visitors can take a tour of the distillery and enjoy a tasting session, with expert guides on hand to explain the production process and history of the distillery.
They most recently released their fifth edition of their wheel of the year series. The limited-edition Single Malt called “Grianstad An Gheimhridh” which translates to “the stopping of the sun” celebrates the winter solstice with only 7,800 bottles released!
Enjoy a picturesque drink along the coast following a round of golf on Europe’s most westerly golf course.
County Clare is not just famous for the Cliffs of Moher. It is also home to fantastic golf courses including Lahinch, Trump Doonbeg and Dromoland Castle. The landscape here can be as captivating as the whiskey, both offering a taste of nature’s finest blends.
The Burren National Park and the Burren Distillery might appear quite distinct. The national park is renowned for its limestone formations, diverse flora, and rich history. On the other hand, the Burren distillery is a different kind of artisanry. Since its first distillation in 2019, this distillery pays homage to the national park, producing whiskey and rooted in the region’s culture.
A short drive from Lahinch Town, you can tour the distillery and learn about its history and whiskey-making process. Burren distillers are the only micro-distillers in Ireland that floor malt their barley to ensure a sweeter taste. Tours take around 30 minutes. Visitors will experience the intertwine between nature and culture, forging an unforgettable experience.
Honourable mention: J.J. Corry, located in Cooraclare, County Clare
Cork, also known as the rebel county, is Kerry’s neighbouring county. This is Ireland’s second-largest city, home to the Blarney Stone, Spike Island, and the famous Old Head Golf Links in Kinsale.
Midleton Distillery in Cork This historic landmark opened as a distillery by three brothers in 1825 after previously being home to a woollen mill. It then became known as James Murphy and Company.
Following an offset in demand due to prohibition, a lock on Irish exports to the UK, and the rise of Scotch whisky, many distilleries around the country ceased operations. When only three distilleries remained in Ireland by 1966, rivals John Powers & Son and John Jameson & Son merged to become the Irish Distillers Company, which is now home to some of Ireland’s most iconic brands—Jameson, Powers, and Paddy, to name a few—and has worked from the New Midleton Distillery since 1975.
The Old Middleton Distillery reopened as the Jameson Experience in 1992. Visitors can learn about the location’s heritage and later legacy that has told the story of Irish whiskey worldwide. Whether you consider yourself a whiskey connoisseur or a complete newcomer, this tour gives an insight into the process from field to cask and cask to bottle. Have tasting sessions to explore the unique flavours each whiskey has to offer. Following your tour, you will have the opportunity to take home a piece of whiskey history in the form of a souvenir.
A visit to this site is a celebratory toast to the past and present in the world of whiskey.
Honourable mention: Clonakilty Distillery and Visitor Centre
Overall, the South West of Ireland is a treasure trove for those looking to explore the rich history and culture of Ireland’s brewing and distilling traditions. With so many options to choose from, there is something for everyone, from whiskey lovers to beer enthusiasts.
Enhance your trip to Ireland with a visit to a local distillery. Following a round of golf, there is no better way to unwind than savouring premium spirits, sharing stories, and enjoying the scenic routes along the Wild Atlantic Way.
Camaraderie and storytelling are sure to create memories that go beyond the golf course – it is a hole in one experience in the Southwest!