Though Irish whiskey is enjoyed throughout the world (often mixed into coffee and topped with a dollop of cream for a tempting Irish cuppa), there’s no way better way to appreciate it than in its homeland. Take a car tour of Ireland’s distilleries and “taste” the country’s culture and history. Discover why it’s considered “uisge beatha” or the Water Of Life, and how it evolved from the science of perfumes (introduced by no less than St. Patrick, who picked it up from his journeys in the east) to today’s liquor of choice, enjoyed on the rocks or in a flavored cappuccino. The best way to experience Ireland’s Whiskey Tour is to hire a car. Car hire gives you flexibility: you can choose the route of your car travel, dawdle as long as you like in each destination, take frequent stops and detours, and enjoy the company of good friends. You can find car hire agencies in any airport and major cities. The first agenda on your car trip is a “pilgrimage” to Old Bushmills Distillery. Established in 1608, it is the world’s oldest pub. It is in Northern Ireland, located half a mile from Giant’s Causeway, a major historical site. You might want to swing by there since you’re in the area—that’s one advantage of car rental: freedom to go where you please. The next distillery is in Eire. Your car trip should take south, along the eastern coast, where you’ll reach Cooley in Dundalk, North of Dublin. It is the only locally owned brand, since others have since been acquired by international companies. The next leg of your car trip will bring you to the Southeast, where the Jameson Heritage Center waits in County Cork. It has a museum that pays tribute to whiskey (and its homegrown brand) and gives visitors a tasting tour that culminates in a “Qualified Irish Whiskey Tester” certificate. This alone makes the car travel worth taking!
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