Irish Whiskey East RegionThe east of Ireland is of course where Dublin sits and as such would have numerous chapters dedicated to it in any Irish whiskey history. This glorious past was at its peak in the late 19th century when millions of gallons from the likes of the DWD, George Roe, William Jameson, John Jameson, John Power distilleries rolled out on to the Liffey and to the waiting boats in Dublin’s ports to be shipped to a waiting world, at a time when 80% of the world’s whiskey was Irish pot still, and a vast majority of that was coming from Dublin.
James Joyce’s father even owned the Phoenix Park distillery at one stage, though it ended up bankrupting him. The glory days didn’t last but two of the largest, Jameson’s and Power’s moved their operations to Midleton and so kept alive the history and traditions of Dublin distilling.
The east isn’t all about Dublin however and there were also famous distilleries such as Cassidy’s on the canal in Monasterevan, Co. Kildare and Locke’s in Kilbeggan, which has a good claim to be the oldest distillery in the world, being founded in 1757.
What is most important for the general whiskey drinker of today, unless they can get their hands on some rare, old, pre-70s bottlings, is the vision of one man, John Teeling. In the 1980s he bought an old state run, potato alcohol factory and founded the Cooley Distillery, the first new distillery in the country for almost a century.
With his innovation in introducing peated malt, in their Connemara expression, double-distilling and non-chill filtering, Cooley served as the progenitor of the current “new wave” showing Irish people that they had a tradition to be proud of and it was possible to revive our distilling arts.
Cooley has now been joined in the east by the Teeling Distillery, founded by two of John’s sons, the Dublin Distillery Company right next door, as well as the revival of many famous whiskeys like DWD and George Roe and Sons.