Whiskey Island - Northern Ireland Whiskey Tour
A two day whiskey trail departing from and returning to Dublin. You will visit three working distilleries, including Old Bushmills, and discover many highlights of Northern Ireland along the way. The tour will take you by road from the capital of the Republic of Ireland into Northern Ireland which forms part of the United Kingdom. Your Whiskey Expert Host will meet you at the Celtic Whiskey Shop in Dublin and in executive transport, you depart for the North. After crossing the border into Northern Ireland, the first stop is only a short distance, Killowen Small Batch Distillery, which is situated in the heart of the Mourne Mountains. Killowen Distillery is the creation of Brendan Carty who travelled across the globe for years and learned the secret to distilling premium Irish Whiskey. The guys at Killowen will explain their unique whiskey making process followed by a tasting of gin, Irish coffee and new make spirit of choice: Peated or non peated. In Ireland the default is usually non peated so it’s a rare opportunity to try Irish peated.
Next stop is Downpatrick, and to the Saint Patrick Centre where you can learn about our patron Saint. You’ll even have the chance to visit Saint Patrick’s grave and you’ll have the chance to get lunch in the centre also. The tour will then head not far to the little village of Crossgar where you will meet the folks at Rademon Distillery – Home of Shortcross gin & Single Malt Whiskey. At The San Francisco World Spirits Competition, Shortcross Gin received a Gold Medal for ‘setting the standard for its category’. There will be a quick introduction to the gin process from Head Distiller at Rademon, David Boyd-Armstrong. The tour ends in the tastings bar for a Shortcross gin masterclass. The combination of David’s passion and love for what he’s making and the style of the gin masterclass, will hopefully make your time at Rademon very memorable. Depending on availability, instead of Rademon, there may be an option to take you on a ferry from Strangford that connects to the Ards Peninsula, a most beautiful part of Ireland. Next stop on the tour is the Echlinville Distillery, the first newly licensed whiskey distillery in Northern Ireland in over 125 years. Here, you will be able have a look around the facility which is a proper bona fide ‘field to glass’ distillery. All the barley is grown onsite and their whiskey is maturing in their onsite warehouse. This part of the tour finishes in the Echlinville manor house for two samples of their flagship whiskeys (or gin).
The tour departs for Belfast for an overnight stay where you will have the opportunity for free time to explore the city at your leisure. The tour guide will give you recommendation for dinner and drinks.
EThe following morning executive transportation with chauffeur will pick you up at the hotel and travel north out of the city to the Antrim coast road along the well known Causeway Coastal Route. The first stop is the picturesque village of Ballymena where you will have the opportunity to appreciate the art of Irish Coffee at The Londonderry Arms Hotel, a former home of former British Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill. The tour then visits a UNESCO world heritage site, The Giant’s Causeway, one of the most unique places in Europe. It’s an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns. The scientists will tell you the rock formations are the result of a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago. The locals believe differently however, they’ll tell you the columns are the remains of a causeway built by a giant – the Irish legend, Finn MacCool. You can decide for yourself! Enjoy the site at leisure and some lunch while you’re there. Just two minutes down the road, dating all the way back to 1608 AD, you will take a tour of the Old Bushmills Distillery is the oldest licensed distillery in the world. Famed for its range of single malt Irish whiskeys, you will have the chance to try them during a premium tasting in the Master Distiller’s tasting rooms. Included in the tasting is; Bushmills Original & Red, Black Bush, Bushmills 10, 16 & 21 year old single malts. You also compare with a Scotch and a Bourbon. Finally, you’ll try their 12 year old reserve in the bar which is exclusive to Old Bushmills.
After the tour there will be time for shopping at Old Bushmills retail store. And then sit back and relax for the two and half hour trip back to Dublin where the tour will conclude.
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