Whisky Magazine Issue 78
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In the latest in our series of places to visit we look at Southern Ireland.
One of the greatest ironies about the whiskey industry in Ireland is that where they're making whiskey the public aren't allowed in, and where they used to they are. Effectively the only distilleries you can visit are museums.
North of the border this is not the case. Bushmill's, the Irish distillery closest to its Scottish cousins both in terms of geography, style and production techniques, offers a similar style of tour, too, and you can watch mashing, fermenting, and distilling and maturing in the same way.
In the South, though, the operating plants of Cooley and of Jameson's are closed to the public, and while the old distillery at Kilbeggan is used a little these days, it's not possible to see the whole production process in action. Instead you will have to make do with a ‘Mary Celeste' sort of whiskey experience.
That said, though, the Irish are good at the whole tourist business, and the sights which you can visit provide a fascinating and comprehensive insight into the old ways.
Ireland isn't a particularly big country and the train service is relatively regular and efficient. However, to get the most out of any visit, hiring a car is useful.
There are three main centres in Southern Ireland to visit in search of whiskey; Cork in the South East, Dublin on the East coast, and the museums in central Ireland. The three locations are well spread out and offer an incomplete whiskey experience, with the only other distillery way up beyond Belfast in the North, Ireland...