During the “Athlone Whisky Tour” I had the pleasure of meeting the founder Deirdre. During the tour as we got to know each other I shared my interest in whisky with here and asked her some questions like:
How did you get the idea to establish the Athlone Whiskey Walking Tour?
Last year I launched my business Midlands Whiskey Experiences. My key goal when setting up the business was to establish the Midlands region as a viable whiskey tourism destination over the next few years. This was the first step and through my research into Midlands Whiskey history, I discovered that there was much undiscovered whiskey history relating to Athlone. I met with the Senior librarian in Athlone library Gearoid O'Brien and we started to look into the topic and found some amazing facts that had never been shared or researched before this. We were in awe to discover that Athlone was once a bustling hub of distilleries and brewery's. The earliest record of distilling in Athlone can be traced back as far as 1740 and brewing can be traced back to the 1730's! From this my idea was born and I also then decided to establish the Athlone Whiskey Trail to complement the offering further.
How long did it take to get all the information together?
From my time spent managing Kilbeggan Distillery, I had a huge interest in Irish whiskey history and have really been looking into it ever since. For the Athlone Whiskey Walking Tour itself it took around 8 months to complete all of the research and develop the tour.
What do you think I should do on this tour?
The tour allows visitors to Athlone to fully discover the centuries-old tradition of whiskey production in Athlone that encapsulates over 270 years of whiskey heritage. In Athlone there are plenty of historical sites relating to brewing and distillery from the 18th and 19th century that we visit as part of the tour. We also delve into the history of the families who were involved in the industry and learn about the distillers, brewers and town bailiffs of the past, who owned these thriving establishments. We of course will enjoy some local whiskeys from the Midlands region along the way and also enjoy local chocolate pairings with two of the whiskey samples, to include 2 types of chocolate, handcrafted by a local producer, Kilbeggan Handmade Chocolate. The chocolate is specially made for the tour so you will need to come along to taste it as it cannot be purchased anywhere else in the world!!
I then enjoyed the tour through the city with the help of a little liquid gold. Special thanks to Deirdre for answering my questions!