As we all know, one of the things Ireland is famous for is proper good alcohol. Stout or Whiskey anyone? One of the most popular and best known Irish whiskey brands is Jameson. Jameson is somehow the Guinness of Irish Whiskey.
No surprise that a visit to the Old Jameson Distillery was one of the first things on my to-do—list when I arrived here in Dublin almost 3 months ago! And it definitely is a Dublin attraction that’s not to be missed!
The Old Jameson Distillery is located in Smithfield, Dublin City. It is easily accessible by foot (Dublin is really not that big) or you can take the Red Luas Line (the Dublin Tram) and get off at the Smithfield stop. From here you might have some trouble finding it (I surely did!) as it isn’t well signposted. The sign shaped in an arrow that shows you the way is kind of confusing. You will end up going down a small pedestrian street and then you’ll see an arch on your left. Go through this arch and you will come into some sort of inside courtyard with a big barrel, a wooden barrel shaped bench, and a huge metal scale (which doesn’t work by the way, I tested it).
The entrance hall to the Distillery is very big, with a bar on your right and the gift shop on your left (toilets are next to the gift shop for those who wonder), parts of the floor are made of thick glass which gives you a view of the remains of the old distillery. The staff are very friendly and they don’t have too much of an Irish accent, and some speak several languages, so if you’re lucky like me you might find someone who speaks French fluently. They even offer tours in French and German for those that are interested.
The tour itself is not very long: First of all, you enter in a small cinema room with a big flat screen through two huge wooden doors. Take your seat and get ready for a bumpy ride, no just kidding. Your tour guide will introduce himself (or herself) and the distillery, then talk about what you are going to experience on your tour. The guide might talk pretty fast because there is a lot of info to be given in very little time, but if you don’t understand everything, you can always ask! After the presentation, you will see a nice little movie about Jameson and his Whiskey. Very informative indeed – and easy to understand, even for non-native English speakers!
Oh, I almost forgot, before the guide put on the movie, he asked for 8 volunteers. My suggestion: Don’t be afraid, raise your hand! They normally try to pick out 4 boys and 4 girls, but the day I went there, he was so surprised that there were so many girls volunteering that he only chose girls. Yippee. The chosen 8 will get an empty green tube made out of cardboard. Very mysterious… just don’t lose it!
After the movie you will start the main part of the tour, which will lead you through the different steps of the whiskey making process, with one room dedicated to each step. Our guide was really funny and very interested in where everybody was from. We all had a great time.
The tour finishes with a complimentary Jameson drink. You can choose between pure Whiskey and a Jameson mix, like Jameson with Cranberry (or Ginger ale, or Lemonade, or… I loooved the cranberry one!) Obviously, there are also soft drinks available.
This is also the time for the absolute fun part: The lucky ones that were chosen at the beginning of the tour get to be whiskey tasters! We got to try three different kinds of whiskeys: Jameson (Irish), Scotch and American Whiskey (it was Jack Daniels when I went there) and you will learn all about how to tell them apart just by tasting them. Pretty cool, right?! Even better is that each of the volunteers receives a Irish Whiskey Taster Certificate. Yeah! … And now you know what the empty cardboard green tube is for, too. It’s to keep your Whiskey Taster Certificate safe.
Another little tip: After the tour, make your way back downstairs to the bar and try their Irish Coffee. It’s fabulous!
So, the next time you are coming to Dublin, make sure to visit the Old Jameson’s Distillery! You can get tickets online here: http://jamesontickets.visrez.com/ticket_booking
And if you are looking for a nice place to stay while you are in Dublin, I can recommend the Ashling Hotel which is only 5 minutes away from the Jameson Distillery!