The Pearse Lyons Distillery is arguably the most beautiful out of the many whiskey distilleries in Dublin.
Although the Jameson Distillery, the Teeling Distillery and the Roe and Co Distillery are all great in their own right, none go toe-to-toe with Pearse Lyons for sheer uniqueness.
The relatively new distillery is housed inside the impressively restored St James’ Church on James S, not far from the Guinness Storehouse.
Below, you’ll find info on the various Pearse Lyons Distillery tours, the interesting history behind how it all came about and more handy visitor info.
Some quick need-to-knows before visiting the Pearse Lyons Distillery
Although a visit to the Pearse Lyons Distillery is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit to one of the most unique whiskey distilleries in Ireland that bit more enjoyable.
Just a stone’s throw from the iconic Guinness Storehouse, the Pearse Lyons Distillery is a unique distillery in a unique location. Set inside the impressively restored St James’ Church on James St, the distillery is easy to find with numerous bus links from O’Connell Street (the 13/40/123 buses) and the LUAS Red Line tram passing nearby too.
2. Opening hours
The distillery is closed from Monday to Thursday. It’s opened Friday and Saturday (first tour is at 11, last is at 17:00) and on Sundays and Bank Holidays (first tour 12:00, last tour 17:00). See the most up-to-date opening hours here.
There are three types of general admission tours: The Legacy Tour & Tasting Experience includes five tastings and costs €30. The Signature Tour & Tasting Experience includes four tastings and costs €25. The Trilogy Tour & Tasting Experience includes three tastings and costs €20.
4. Numerous tours on offer
As you can see from the above, there are a fair few tours available! And they’re not the only ones either, as you’ll be soon to discover. It’s one of Pearse Lyon’s strengths that they offer so much to the visitor and not just the bog-standard tour.
The story behind the Pearse Lyons Distillery
As you’ll see from the outside, this hasn’t always been a distillery! While there’s been a church on the site since 1707 and a shrine dating back to medieval times, the existing St James’ Church you see today was built in 1859.
The Gothic Church of Ireland structure was a place of worship for over 100 years until it closed in 1963 due to a decline in numbers. Though frankly, it had had problems 15 years earlier when the top 30 feet of the church spire was removed due to structural problems in 1948 (leaving an odd-looking hole where the spire should have been).
The in-between years
With its headless shape and lack of parishioners, St James’ church cut an odd figure in the Liberties for many years, while all of its furniture and fittings were cleared out.
During those lost decades, the church underwent various transformations while all of its furniture and fitting s, including becoming a cash and carry, a lighting store and a food warehouse!
After its life as Lighting World came to an abrupt end in 2009, it was purchased by a certain Pearse Lyons four years later and a wonderful regeneration story was about to begin.
“We have always dreamed about having an Irish Whiskey distillery in Dublin,” said Pearse Lyons when the Pearse Lyons Distillery opened in 2017.
Sadly, Lyons passed away the following year but the distillery is left in the safe hands of his family are there are loads more stories to discover about the place (his grandad John Hubert Lyons is buried in the nearby graveyard, for a start). Also, look up and check out the new glass steeple!
The different Pearse Lyons Distillery tour options
There are several different tours of the Pearse Lyons Distillery on offer, depending on the type of experience you’re looking for.
1. The distillery tour (€18 – €30)
If you truly want to pull back the curtain and learn all about the Pearse Lyons Distillery, then definitely jump on the Distillery Tour. Hosted by a friendly team of cracking storytellers, you’ll find out about the fascinating local history, curious characters and the unique whiskey itself during your time with them.
Running every hour on the hour, you’ll have a choice of three different tour packages depending on how much you want to sample (check the admission section above). The tours are fairly small in size too which makes for a more personal experience. You’ll also get a guided tour of the graveyard included.
2. Food Pairing Experience (€85 p/p)
If you want to take your gastronomy experience to another level (and much further beyond steak going well with red wine!), book onto the Pearse Irish Whiskey Food Pairing Experience. Sourcing seasonal food pairings to complement their four signature whiskeys, the team here work with local food producers to provide visitors with the very best possible combinations.
Included in your €85 ticket is a cocktail with Pearse Irish Whiskey on arrival and a private Pearse Lyons Distillery tour with a local storyteller. The tour is relatively intimate too as there’s a limit of 10 visitors per tour.
3. The Art of Whiskey Distilling Experience (€200 p/p)
The creme de la creme of Pearse Lyon’s whiskey tours! The Art of Whiskey Distilling Experience isn’t cheap at €200, but you’ll get plenty of bang for your buck.
Limited to intimate groups of six people, visitors will receive a VIP tour and tasting, specialty food pairings and an opportunity to create and blend their own Irish Whiskey with Pearse Lyon’s head distiller.
The fun starts straight away as you’ll be greeted with cocktails and Pearse Irish Whiskey on arrival and at the end, you’ll be able to bottle your own whiskey to take home!
4. The cocktail experience (€75 p/p)
Of course, the experience of drinking whiskey isn’t just limited to drinking it neat or on the rocks (though I’m perfectly happy with either of those!). At Pearse Lyons’ Cocktail Experience, and with the help of their own mixologist, you’ll be able to create modern-day cocktails using traditional Irish whiskey.
For your €85 ticket, you’ll also enjoy a Pearse Lyons Distillery tour with a local storyteller and complimentary post-drinks in McCann’s bar. Another thing to note is that there’s a discount for groups of 8-10 people – especially of use if there’s a bunch of you planning to visit.
5. The Ha’Penny Gin School (coming soon)
Not only does Pearse Lyons offer you all these tours, they also throw in a gin experience too! You really can’t knock them. Anyway, the Ha’Penny Gin School experience is a two-hour gin experience where in-house experts will guide guests through the history of gin and then let you take the reigns at crafting your own gin.
Choose your botanicals before putting their miniature copper pot-still to work and then enjoy local seasonal bites served and paired with their signature Ha’Penny Gin and Tonic. Once the unique gin is distilled, you’ll have the opportunity to check the alcohol strength before bottling and sealing the 70cl bottle (included whacking a personal label on it for taking home!).
Things to do near the Pearse Lyons Distillery
The Pearse Lyons Distillery is a stone’s throw from some of the most popular places to visit in Dublin, with a mix of historical and natural attractions nearby.
Below, you’ll find more distilleries and the world’s best-known brewery to some walks and unique things to see.
1. Guinness and more whiskey tours (3 to 6-minute walk)
Just a 5-minute walk away, the Guinness Storehouse is a great window into (arguably) Ireland’s most famous export and comes with a cracking rooftop view to finish. However, if you want to keep the day whiskey-based then make the short walk to the equally excellent Roe and Co Distillery (look out for the twin smokestacks!).
2. Phoenix Park (11-minute walk)
An enormous space and one of the largest enclosed public parks in any capital city in Europe, the Phoenix Park is a deadly spot to visit if you need to stretch your legs and get away from the hum of the city for a little while. Just an 11-minute stroll across the Liffey, it’s a vast green expanse but the bars and restaurants of Stoneybatter are nearby too if you need refreshments.
3. Irish Museum of Modern Art (11-minute walk)
Even if you’re not a huge fan of modern art, a visit to the beautiful location is reason enough to make the 11-minute walk to the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Housed in a building in Kilmainham dating back to the 17th-century, the Museum presents a wide variety of art in a changing programme of exhibitions. The lushly manicured gardens are lovely to explore too.
4. Kilmainham Gaol (17-minute walk)
Infamous for being the site of incarceration for many Nationalist leaders including harles Stewart Parnell, Patrick Pearse and Eamon de Valera, Kilmainham Gaol has played a hugely significant and symbolic part in Irish history and the prison is well worth a visit. Located a 17-minute walk west of Pearse Lyons Distillery, I’d say it would be better to start your day there and head over for a drink afterward!
FAQs about visiting the Pearse Lyons Distillery in Dublin
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Who was Pearse Lyons?’ to ‘When was the Pease Lyons Distillery in Dublin built?’.
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.
Is the Pease Lyons Distillery worth visiting?
Yes. This is arguably the most beautiful distillery in Ireland (possibly even the world!) and the tours are brilliantly delivered.
How much do the Pease Lyons Distillery tours cost?
The general admission tours vary between €20 and €30. However, there are also some more expensive experiences on offer, too.