Whisky, Whiskey and the Stiletto in the Ghetto

Old Jameson Distillery

Touring the Old Jameson Distillery today. Last trip we toured the Guinness Storehouse. These attractions are very popular. Book online, in advance.

When we drove across Ireland in 2011, we stopped for a tour at the Old Bushmills Distillery in Northern Ireland, it was much more low key and was an actual working distillery. Being in a small village (Bushmills) vs a large city, provided a different feel to the experience.


The tour lasts less than an hour, depending on how long you stay in the tasting room (end of the tour).

There is a discernable difference in the way whiskeys taste based on whether they are single (Jim Beam), double (Johny Walker) or triple (Jameson) distilled and whether they are aged in new vs aged oak (Jameson) barrels.

Interestingly, Jameson came from Scotland to start his distilling business in Ireland. So what makes the difference between Scottish whisky, which is shortened to ‘Scotch’, and Irish whiskey? it’s all down to how the barley is treated at the beginning. In the Irish process they use both raw and malted (the barley is soaked in warm water to start the germination process) barley and don’t generally use peat to dry out the grains whereas in Scotch whisky the distiller  soaks the barley to induce germination, then dries it out to stop germination using peat fires and the peat smoke is what gives the barley a very unique flavor. Jameson uses coal fired dryers which don’t impart the taste of peat.

The Scots spell it whisky and the Irish spell it whiskey, with an extra ‘e’. This difference in the spelling comes from the translations of the word from the Scottish and Irish Gaelic forms. 

Jameson & Sons no longer distills in Dublin, having moved to Middleton, just as Guinness no longer brews in Dublin. They’ve moved operations outside the city. In Jameson’s case, they are closer to their farmers who supply the barley, a primary ingredient. But these venues are nice showcases for their products. No liquid souvenirs were acquired.

We walked down O’Connell Street, one of the main streets downtown and where the GPO (General Post Office) , scene of the headquarters of the 1916 Easter Rising is located and where the the leaders of the armed insurrection against British rule headquartered and read the Proclamation
Almost 500 people were killed in the Easter Rising. About 54% were civilians, 30% were British military and police, and 16% were Irish rebels. More than 2,600 were wounded. Many of the civilians were killed as a result of the British using artillery and heavy machine guns, or mistaking civilians for rebels. Others were caught in the crossfire in a crowded city. The shelling and the fires it caused left parts of inner city Dublin in ruins.

Today, you can still see the bullet holes in the columns and parts of the façade of the GPO from the Easter Rising conflict.

A century later, O’Connell Street (Sráid Uí Chonaill) is a busy commercial area with loads of fast food shops , pubs, shops and the “Stiletto in the Ghetto” one of the many impolite terms for the Spire of Dublin.

More photos on Flickr. Ireland 2011 album.

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