Friday, October 26, 2012

Killbeggan Distillery

One of our first alcohol-related stops on our Ireland pilgrimage was the historic Killbeggan Distillery in County Westmeath. Opened in 1757, it is the oldest licensed distillery in the world. This stop was a late addition to the schedule per the request of the pilgrimage spiritual director. Traveling with a priest who is also a fan of finer beverages has many benefits! The working distillery is also a museum of sorts. The plant is powered by a waterwheel and an ominous looking, and sounding, system of gears and pulleys. There's also a steam engine for "backup" but that has only been put into use a few times.

After a tour of the distillery and enjoying all the delightful aromas, we were treated to a tasting of Killbegan Irish Whiskey. A few folks in our group were selected to sample a couple of other whiskies produced by Cooley Distillery, the owners of the Kilbeggan Distillery. Even though I wasn't selected for that treat, I did notice that the guide had poured a few extra samples of Irish whiskey, and I certainly didn't want that to go to waste.  ;-)

After the tour, we adjourned to the attached restaurant for lunch. Ironically, it was at the distillery's restaurant that I was finally able to have my first Irish pint of Guinness Stout. And it was the first of many I would enjoy during the next week, but that's a topic for another post.

The Irish name for the town of Killbeggan is Cill Bheagáin. The name means "the church of St Bécán," referred to as the "Little Church" by the locals.

The Waterwheel

Mash Tun

Barrels of Aging Whiskey

Pot Stills


  1. Very cool! did you make it to Bushmills?

    I will have to put this on a list of ‘next time’ stops.

    1. Dave, this was the only distillery we visited. So many places, so little time. Lots of pubs were seen though!


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