The Lost Whiskey Distilleries of Ireland
In 1885/86 Alfred Barnard, a secretary for Harper's Weekly Gazette, visited every whisky distillery in Scotland, Ireland and England. He published a book entitled The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom, and it is unlikely he ever imagined his book would become one of the most famous whisky publications ever. He was effectively the first man to follow a Whiskey Trail and a lot of what we know today about distilleries and distilling in the later half of the 19th century is based on his work and the detailed accounts in this book.
This section includes the 28 distilleries Barnard visited in Ireland in 1886. Only two of these distilleries are still in full operation today. We have retraced the history of each distillery, what became of them and why they closed. In some instances, nothing remains of these once great establishments, except maybe an old wall or a mirror in an old pub, for others, only ruins stand as a sad reminder of a once glorious past. Others, thanks to their fine architecture, have been converted into apartments or government buildings and a few - effectively, the last ones to close - are now visitor centres and whiskey museums where people can enjoy and appreciate the story of Irish Whiskey.
If you fancy a real history journey around Ireland, and a discovery of a heritage which has in most cases been forgotten, even by the Irish themselves, you may want to take a trip down memory lane to where some of these distilleries once stood. In some cases, we were lucky enough to find a great little pub which still had some links to the old distillery and these, for anyone even remotely interested in whiskey, are a must.
Alternatively, if you'd like to take your history trip from your armchair, we can recommend these excellent websites - www.singlepotstill.com and www.kilbegganwhiskey.com. Both have very informative heritage and history sections, which provide indepth information on Ireland's distilling history.
Our research into these old distilleries is on-going and we hope to find more pubs we can associate with some of them. If you have any information or discover anything we haven't yet, or know where there may be an old whiskey bottle from any of these old distilleries, we would love to hear from you, so please do not hesitate to contact us.
Please always consume alcohol in moderation and remember that it is a serious offence in Ireland to drink and drive.
Please use the arrows on this Google map if you wish to enlarge it and navigate around it. Each old distillery is also listed on the left navigation menu and you may link to each page from either the Google map or the menu. Some icons are hidden behind others due to the size of the on-screen map, therefore please zoom in to any areas you are particularly interested in.