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Issue 80 - Enduring Irish heritage

Whisky Magazine Issue 80
June 2009

 

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Enduring Irish heritage

Gavin D.Smith looks at the legendary home of one of Ireland's celebrated whiskeys.

While the whisk(e)y brands associated with many of the distilleries featured in this series are long dead and gone, Tullamore Dew is very much alive and kicking. And though it is no longer made in the eponymous County Offaly town, you can still celebrate the whiskey and its fascinating story in the Tullamore Dew Heritage Centre at Bury Quay.

Some of the site has been cleared, though there are still many tangible signs of the old distillery, and the Heritage Centre,boasting re-created aspects of the production process, is housed in a former bonded warehouse which dates from 1897.

Tullamore distillery was established in 1829 by Michael Moloney, probably on the site of an earlier plant, which had been operational in the late 18th century. During the 1780s there were no fewer than 32 active whiskey making facilities in what is now County Offaly, and one of the key attractions of the Tullamore location included its central situation in Ireland, amid prime barley-growing countryside.

Additionally, the distillery stood beside the Grand Canal, which facilitated the transportation of coal, barley and casks of spirit. The railway network also ultimately provided an important communications lifeline.

Tullamore was a medium-sized distillery in its early years, with EB McGuire writing in Irish Whiskey that “…in 1833 duty was paid on 20,000 proof gallons to which must be added whiskey put into bonded warehouses and also sold in bond. At that time there was a second distillery in th...

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