Photos courtesy Elaine and Scott Harris

After exploring Dublin for a few days, it was time to hit the road and head out into the “Garden of Ireland” to explore the foothills, hiking paths and small ancient villages that many have read about as small children.  First, it was about getting an education on the long history of whiskey and where it all began. It is thought the first evidence of distillation was around 100 AD. Most attribute the process to Greek alchemists who created the alembic. It was a still consisting of two vessels connected by a tube and works under the basic principles of evaporation and condensation. Sound familiar? We found the first confirmed written record of whiskey comes from 1405 in Ireland: In the Irish Annals of Clonmacnoise the first written record of whiskey spoke of the death of a chieftain to “taking a surfeit of aqua vitae”
at Christmas. 

Educated and traveling through the countryside we heard there was a must-stop to “wet our whistle,” a newly-opened whiskey distillery and a great one at that. Following a walking path between emerald green pastures, we bonded with some new equine friends as we continued our journey up a small hill until we saw a very welcoming sign: a hand-painted whiskey barrel with Walsh Distillery and an arrow pointing us in the right direction. We had made it!

We were greeted immediately upon arrival by effervescent manager Woody Kane who kindly placed an Irish Manhattan into our eager hands at 10:30 a.m.! What a brilliant way to start the day. He explained the Manhattan features their own Irishman Founders Reserve Irish Whiskey, sweet Vermouth, Angostura bitters and a plump Maraschino cherry for garnish.

Finishing our cocktails, it was now time to get down to the business of whiskey making and tasting. Wondrous aromas of peat, grain and oak engulfed us as we made our way to the highly polished copper pots that were hard at work. “Owners Bernard and Rosemary Walsh are passionate and pay attention to detail,” Woody said as we took our first sip. “We specialize in small batch hand-crafted high-quality whiskey using recipes that have been in the family since the 19th century,” he added.

The Walsh Writers’ Tears Copper Pot is very special. It is a unique blend of aged Single Pot Still and Single Malt whiskey distilled entirely from Pot Still and Malt, without any additional grain and triple distilled, then aged in American Oak bourbon casks. When asked about the origin of the name “writers’ tears” Woody explained Ireland has a rich history of novelists. George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, W.B. Yeats, Lady Gregory, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett and Bram Stoker all come to mind right away. “Many of these great writers, on occasion would take refuge in their local public house, where they could draw inspiration from their daily observations of life while enjoying the comfort of their favorite dram of whiskey. It was said that they enjoyed it so much, that when they cried their tears were of whiskey!”
Woody exclaimed.

The Writers’ Tears Copper Pot recently won a gold medal in London and was named one of the highest rated Irish whiskeys that were rated. Educated and thirst quenched for now, it was time to continue our journey through the glorious Irish countryside and find
another adventure.