Trip date: September 2019
I was driving from The Rock of Cashel, to Kinsale, a small town on the harbor in County Cork. But first I had an appointment at the Jameson Distillery in Midleton. It was only an hour away so I had made a reservation for 2pm thinking that would give me time to arrive early and have lunch before my tour. Nope.
My map sent me to the working distillery (instead of the site where customers are welcomed). By the time I made it to the correct location I was late for my tour and the restaurant wasn't serving lunch any more. But the folks were great and got me a spot on the next tour so I relaxed with a beer for a few.
Whiskey has been made on this site, the grounds of the old Midleton Distillery, since 1825. Jameson moved in from Dublin in 1975 and built new facilities to accommodate their expanding offerings; Powers and Redbreast are among the other brands made here.
Besides making the world's most purchased whiskey, the distillery also boasts the world's largest pot still built in 1825!
The tour was fun with lots of history and also a blind tasting of Scotch, American whiskey, and Jameson. At the end we were led back to the bar and given a choice of whiskey cocktails. I had signed up for the Premier Tasting so was told to wait until someone came to lead me to a private office. Seems I was the only one who had signed up for this tasting so had the whiskey expert, and pours of Jameson Black Barrel, Redbreast 12 Year Old, Powers John's Lane Release and Midleton Very Rare all to myself!
Additionally Cobh was the last stop the Titanic made before heading towards America, and ultimately sinking. The town went by Queenstown at the time and didn't change it back until 1922.
At the Cobh Heritage Center I spent the next 45 minutes going thru the exhibits documenting the Irish emigration, including the story of Annie Moore, the first emigrant to go thru Ellis Island. There are also stories of the Australian bound prison ships, or coffin ships as they were called.properties that my ancestors owned, and signed records of their tax payments. As my ancestral grandfather came to America in the late 1700's there aren't any records of his passage but it was really cool to find these other records.
That was a long but super interesting day. Back in Kinsale I headed to local favorite Dalton's Bar for a pint while I read more about the history of Kinsale and Cobh. Dalton's is a sweet spot with a cozy fireplace, a dogleg room with tables, and super friendly staff.
After learning that the band that was going to be playing that night was very good and very popular I went for a quick dinner around the corner at Jim Edwards. I ate in the pub side as I wanted to get back for the trad session, dinner was fine but nothing to go out of your way for.
Back at Dalton's the place was packed! One of the locals, Heather, had saved me a seat at her table. Later we were joined by some English guys who had grown up in Kinsale and were back visiting. It was such a fun night of music, hanging out with the locals, rounds of Murphy's (County Cork's local stout) and Jameson backs. I felt properly introduced to pub culture and most likely was a little wobbly when I went home at closing time!
The next morning I checked out of the Pier House after having a delicious breakfast of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs. It was absolutely dumping buckets of rain as I was on my way to County Kerry!
**As I visited all of these places before the COVID-19 pandemic, please double check on opening hours. And fingers crossed these businesses all stay in business!**
All photos from County Cork here.
Other posts from this trip: