The Jameson Distillery in Dublin was founded on Bow St. in the Smithfield neighborhood more than 200 years ago. The whiskey distillery filled its first order in 1780 and has since become one of the world's favorite Irish tipples. If you want to get a taste of Irish whiskey directly from the source, here is the complete guide to how to visit the Jameson Distillery in Dublin — including how to get tickets, book a premium tasting experience, and what to do nearby once you have toured the copper stills.
History of Jameson Whiskey in Ireland
Jameson may be Ireland’s most famous whiskey, but John Jameson, the founder of the distillery, was not born on the Emerald Isle. Jameson was actually Scottish rather than Irish, but he moved to Dublin when he sensed that Ireland was lacking a good quality whiskey and thought he could be the man to take advantage of the opportunity.
In 1805, John Jameson II, the founder’s son, took over control of the operations. Two more John Jamesons followed (the grandson and great-grandson of the founder), meaning that the family ran the booming business until 1905.
By 1887, the Bow St. distillery was producing a million gallons of spirits a year. It took 300 workers spread out over five acres to keep up with demand for the drink. Naturally, each worker was entitled to a drink of whiskey at the end of every shift.
Despite this early and long success, Jameson nearly went out of business in the early 1900s. First came World War I when barley (a key ingredient) was strictly rationed. Next, the Irish Revolution cut off ties with the British market. American prohibition and World War II quickly followed, further limiting sales of the Irish spirit.
In the 1960s, Jameson decided to rebrand in an effort to boost sales. Until then, the whiskey had always been sold by the barrel but the company began to bottle the spirit in the distinctive green glass to better promote the Jameson name at the bar, as well as to have more control over the quality of the product. Shortly after, in 1971, the company moved its distillery to County Cork to be closer a water source and to the farms producing the barley that was so key to the drink.
Tour the Jameson Distillery in Dublin
Jameson is no longer produced in Dublin, having left the city behind for more space in the countryside, but it is still possible to tour the original distillery on Bow St. A visit to the Jameson Distillery in Dublin includes a 40-minute tasting tour lead by a Jameson Ambassador who explains the whiskey making process, the brand’s focus on ingredients and the key innovations that have made the drink such a beloved Irish tipple. The tour includes a comparative whiskey tasting where guests can sample Jameson side-by-side with bourbon and scotch.
Finally, the experience ends with a free drink at JJ’s Bar, all included in the ticket price.
Whiskey Tastings in Dublin
A tour of the Jameson Distillery includes a small comparison tasting of whiskey, bourbon, and scotch, as well as a whiskey-based drink at JJ’s Bar at the end of the visit. However, it is also possible to book a more in-depth tasting experience.
The distillery offers an expert-led Whiskey Tasting of four premium spirits. The 40-minute whiskey tasting experience is held in John Jameson’s old office and available every day of the week. If you want to learn how to make drinks in addition to enjoying them, book the Whiskey Shaker’s Class. A bartender will instruct participants in how to mix three Jameson cocktails (a Whiskey Sour, an Old Fashioned, and a Whiskey Punch) - and there is no rule against sampling your own creations.
Finally, true whiskey lovers can join an hour and a half long Whiskey Blending Class. During the course, participants sample premium whiskeys and even blend their own whiskey to take home - the perfect Irish souvenir.
How to Get Tickets
Tickets to tour the Jameson Distillery are available through the online booking system and cost €22 for adults (discounted to €18 for students with ID). You can save by booking a morning tour.
What Else to Do Near the Jameson Distillery
After a visit to the Jameson Distillery, stay in the area to discover some of the other activities in the Smithfield area.
St. Michan’s church is just around the corner. The 900-year-old church is well preserved, but the real draw is the small crypt complete with mummies.
A little further down the road, against the banks of the River Liffey, is Four Courts — Ireland’s main criminal and civil court.
Cross the river to sample a pint at The Brazen Head — one of Dublin’s liveliest pubs.
Finally, continue the city tour with a visit to the medieval Christ Church Cathedral.