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Visiting The Midleton Distillery In Cork (Ireland’s Largest Whiskey Distillery)

Visiting The Midleton Distillery In Cork (Ireland’s Largest Whiskey Distillery)

The Midleton Distillery in Cork is one of the best known whiskey distilleries in Ireland.

Jameson Whiskey is emblematic of every Irish pub, with the drink being so special that it even comes from the Gaelic word “uisge beatha” meaning “water of life”. 

A trip to the Jameson Distillery in Midleton offers visitors the chance to discover how whiskey is made along with offering an insight into the story behind one of Ireland’s most famous distilleries.

In the guide below, you’ll discover everything from what the Midleton Distillery tour involves and how much it costs to what to do nearby and more.

Some quick need-to-knows before visiting the Midleton Distillery

jameson distillery in midleton

Photos via Jameson Distillery Midleton on Instagram

Although a visit to the Jameson Distillery in Midleton is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.

1. Location

You’ll find the the Jameson Distillery in Midleton in Cork. It’s a handy, 23-minute spin away, which means you can easily pair a visit with some of the other worthwhile things to do in Cork City.

2. Getting there from Cork City

There is a bus service that runs every 30 minutes from Cork bus station to Cork Parnell place bus station ( which drops you right outside the brewery). There are also regular trains from Cork’s Kent station to Midleton, too.

3. Home to the most expensive Irish whisky

You can find bottles of whiskey at the Midleton Distillery that were distilled as far back as 1974 and cost a staggering €35,000 each, making them the most expensive Irish whisky in the world. The Old Midleton Distillery closed down back in 1975, so these whiskey bottles are extra rare.

4. The Jameson link

Back in 1966, the Cork Distillers Company joined with their city rivals, John Jameson & Son and John Power & Son, forming the Irish Distillers Group. The newly formed company decided to build a new all-purpose distillery in Midleton, closing the old Midleton Distillery in 1975 and moving production to the New Midleton distillery that was built right next to it. 

The history of the Midleton Distillery in Cork

Old Midleton Distillery

Photos via Jameson Distillery Midleton (Website & Instagram)

Back in 1825, the Murphy brothers, James, Daniel and Jeremiah, converted an old woolen mill into what we now know as the Old Midleton Distillery.

Part of this building can be visited on the Midleton Distillery Tour (more on the tour in a moment!).

A tasty proof of concept

5 years later and the Old Midleton distillery had produced 400k proof gallons and they had 200 workers. But the sales of Irish whiskey was to sharply decline due to Anglo-Irish trade wars and the rise of blended whiskeys.

By 1966, there were only three surviving distilleries in Ireland so John Jameson & Son joined forces with rivals John Powers & Son, creating the Irish Distillers company.

The future

This amalgamation resulted in the closing of the Old Midleton Distillery in 1975 and the closing of poorly located distilleries in Dublin.

The result was that all production moved to Midleton and the company opening what we know as the New Midleton Distillery. The old Midleton distillery was turned into a visitor center and is home to the world’s largest pot still of 31,618 gallons.

The Midleton Distillery Tour

Visiting the Jameson Distillery Midleton

Photo by Chris Hill via Ireland’s Content Pool

The Midleton Distillery Tour is arguably one of the best things to do in Cork when it’s raining (especially if you’re visiting Cork City, as the distillery is a short spin away).

The tour of the Jameson Distillery in Midleton is pretty straightforward, and the reviews online are excellent. Here’s everything you need to know.

1. What’s involved

The Midleton Distillery Tour is a fully guided tour that starts off at the Old Midleton Distillery where you can see where all the magic was first created as well as learn stories about Jameson’s rich heritage. It’s also fascinating to learn about those that worked at the distillery and the field-to-glass processes.

Your guide then takes you around some of the key buildings such as the warehouses and the microdistillery. The whole distillery is set over 15 acres and the setup is impressive to say the least.

2. How long it takes

The Midleton Distillery Tour takes around 75 minutes when you do the guided tour, this includes a short film about the history from its establishment right up to present day. Group sizes are limited to up to 15 people currently and kids are welcome but must be accompanied by an adult.

3. How much the tour costs

The tour costs €23 for adults but for students or anyone over the age of 65, it costs €19 Students. There is a family rate for just €55  (2 adults and up to 4 kids under 18 years old). If there is a big group of 15 or more adults, the discounted rate is €18 per adult (prices may change, so check here in advance).

Things to do near the Jameson Distillery in Midleton

One of the beauties of Jameson Distillery in Midleton is that it’s a short spin away from a clatter of other attractions (there’s lots of things to do in Midleton).

Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from the Old Midleton Distillery (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).

1. Ballycotton Cliff Walk

The Ballycotton Cliff Walk (Cork)

Photo via Luca Rei (Shutterstock)

The Ballycotton Cliff Walk is a non-looped, 7.4 km trail that’s loved by tourists and locals alike. It can get windy so do prepare in advance with good grip shoes. Close to the parking area are picnic tables and you’ll be treated to glorious coastal views along the way.

2. Roches Point Lighthouse

roches point

Photo by mikemike10 (Shutterstock)

Located at the entrance of Cork Harbour is the landmark Roches Point Lighthouse. First established on the 4th June 1817 to help guide ships into the harbour, it was ultimately replaced with a larger tower because it was deemed too small back in 1835. You can climb the top of the lighthouse and get some amazing views from the balcony.

3. Cobh

cobh houses cork

Photo by Chris Hill

The cute, colourful village of Cobh is best known as the last port of call to the Titanic and the Titanic Experience attracts tonnes for visitors every year. There’s plenty of other things to do in Cobh, like Spike Island and a number of walking trails.

4. Cork City

cork city walks

Photo by mikemike10 (Shutterstock)

Cork city is under 30 minutes from Midleton so you might as well pop in for something to eat. If you love food, the English Market is the go-to spot (although there are lots of great restaurants in Cork City). For a bit of history, Cork City Gaol will give you an insight into prisoner life over 100 years ago. Cork is very walkable so you could easily visit a number of landmark locations in a few hours.

FAQs about the Jameson Distillery in Midleton

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from whether the New Midleton Distillery tour is worth doing to what there is to see nearby.

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

What whiskeys are made at the Midleton Distillery?

As Ireland’s largest whiskey distillery, the Jameson Distillery in Midleton produces a large number of spirits, from Midleton and Powers, to Jameson, Redbreast and much more.

Is the Midleton Distillery Tour worth doing?

Yes. The Midleton Distillery Tour should tickle the fancy of both those fond of whiskey and those just looking for an interesting tour to ramble around. The distillery is packed with history and the areas story is told brilliantly on the Midleton Distillery Tour.

Is there much to do near the New Midleton Distillery?

Yes – there’s plenty to do a stone’s throw from the New Midleton Distillery, with everywhere from the historic City of Cork to the fishing village of Cobh a short spin away.

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