If spirits and brews are your passion the Boyne Valley is the place for you. Spend a few days touring the many Distilleries & Brew Houses in the Boyne Valley, experiencing the passion the Makers have for their product.
The Boyne Valley has a long history with distilling in particular Whiskey where one of the first written records of whiskey production in Ireland appears in the Act of Parliament in Drogheda in 1556. The act made it illegal for anybody, with the exception of peers, gentlemen and the freemen of the larger towns of Ireland to make Aqua Vitae without a licence to the Lord Deputy.
In 1774, Drogheda hosted no less than eighteen distilleries which slowly declined to just one in 1822. By the turn of this century, there were three distilleries in Ireland and no distilleries left in Drogheda. However a revival, a renaissance has begun. With Irish whiskey consistently outperforming its competition and the fastest growing spirit in the world, up to thirty Irish distilleries are now planned to meet this global demand.
While you will find drinks producers across the Boyne Valley there is a concentration of several in the Slane/Drogheda region so for your journey to discover the Boyne Valley’s drinks producers we recommend you start in the historic village of Slane. This itiinerary is designed to be enjoyed over two days but you can tailor it to suit your needs.
Start the day with a visit to the spectacular Slane Whiskey Distillery where you can tour the Distillery and experience the ultimate Irish whiskey experience. There could be no finer setting in which to discover the nature of whiskey than Slane Whiskey Distillery. Housed within the 250-year-old stables of the iconic Slane Castle Estate, the guided distillery tours uncover a history like no other.
Take a trip back in time as their storytellers guide you through the fabric of the Conyngham family tapestry, chapter by chapter. Discover the ancient art of Irish whiskey making. Explore the whiskey distillery where three different types of Irish whiskey are made: Malt, Grain and Pot Still. Learn about the process behind their triple casked blend, the craftsmanship that goes into each of their three casks and the flavours and aromas that each cask contributes to the whiskey’s smooth yet full bodied character.
Complete this interactive, immersive tour with a tutored whiskey tasting that allows you to assess this character for yourself by enjoying a sample of Slane Irish Whiskey. You can also combine a tour of the Distillery with a tour of Slane Castle.
Once you have finished exploring the Distillery and Castle it will be time for some lunch and Brownes Bar in Slane Castle is the perfect place to relax over a casual bite to eat and maybe enjoy a Slane Whiskey Irish Coffee.
Next up you are travelling up the Boyne Valley towards Drogheda to Listoke Distillery and Gin School where you will be learning all about creating gin and then you will create your very own bottle of gin to take home with you! Listoke Distillery is Ireland’s first Gin School and as well as learning all about the gin making process you will tour the distillery and enjoy a few delicious Listoke G&Ts over some locally produced cheese and charcuterie.
Once you are finished the Listoke Gin School experience it's time to head back to Slane for a good night's sleep in The Conyngham Arms Hotel, situated in the centre of Slane it is the perfect location if you want to wander through this historic village taking in its heritage or have a stroll along the banks of the river Boyne. Enjoy a delicious dinner in the hotel’s restaurant and maybe try some of the locally produced drinks in the hotel bar before hitting the hay for a good night's sleep!
After a yummy breakfast you are heading out towards the townland of Rathkenny a few miles outside of Slane to The Cider Mill for their Food, Folk & Farming Tour with owner Mark Jenkinson. Mark will give you a unique insight into the world of traditional farmhouse cider-making and through a live demo you will gain a new appreciation of the skills and processes involved in making cider from the apples grown around Mark’s 18th-century Meath farmhouse as well as sampling the different varieties of Cider that Mark produces. This tour must be prebooked.
After a morning spent in The Cider Mill head for Tankardstown House which is only a mile away for a delicious lunch in their award winning Brabazon Restaurant which features lots of fresh, local produce on the menu.
After lunch you have some time to explore this scenic part of the Boyne Valley. You could take in a Meet the Cheese Maker tour with Boyne Valley Farmhouse Cheese or take in an Ireland’s Ancient East Tour at Rock Farm. Or if you want to take in some history you could visit Brú na Bóinne or Oldbridge House.
As well as the distilleries mentioned above there are many more in the Boyne Valley that are not open all year round for visitors but they do run events in the Boyne Valley Food Series so make sure to check out what's happening during your visit and watch out for them when dining out so you can try them
Boann Distillery produces a range of triple distilled Irish single malt and Irish pot still whiskey from three handmade bespoke copper pot stills. From milling to mashing, distilling, maturing and
bottling, every elegant mouthful of Boann Single Malt and pot still whiskey and craft gin, is created at their unique family distillery.
A sister to Boann Distillery, Boyne Brewhouse produces a range of delicious craft beers that you will find in restaurants, bars and retail outlets throughout the Boyne Valley.
Brú Brewer is based in Trim, County Meath, Irelan and they create a wide range of craft brews taking care in sourcing and working with all natural ingredients. The Brú range can be found in restaurants, bars and retail outlets throughout the Boyne Valley.
Coole Swan is an exquisite mix of full single-malt Irish whiskey, real white Belgian chocolate and fresh dairy cream. Mary Sadlier and Philip Brady’s family business is run from a converted barn on their fourth-generation family farm. Watch out for it while you are in the Boyne Valley in restaurants, bars and retail outlets.
Dan Kelly’s Irish Cider is made from apples harvested in Boyne Grove Fruit Farm, their own family farm in the Boyne Valley at Drogheda.
The Dan Kelly’s Cider family has a range of three different blends none of which contain any sulphites or cultured yeasts. They don’t add acid, artificial colours, sweeteners or anything else, they simply press the apples and let wild yeasts do their thing! Watch out for it while you are in the Boyne Valley in restaurants, bars and retail outlets.
Sixling Gin, owned by husband and wife Tom & Nicola Grills, is Ireland’s first and only cloudberry gin. They source their cloudberries from Scandinavia and use locally sourced Cooley Mountain elderflower with an additional 8 botanicals. This superb combination creates a truly unique fruity floral gin with a smooth herbal finish. Watch out for it while you are in the Boyne Valley in restaurants, bars and retail outlets.