Walsh Whiskey logo with two rabbit silhouettes.

Walsh Whiskey Distillery

  • Ireland
  • Irish Whiskey Awards (2021), London Spirits Competition (2018)
  • http://www.walshwhiskey.com/
Phone Number
  • +353599133232
  • Deerpark Business Park, Equity House, Dublin Rd, Carlow, R93 K7W4, Ireland

Walsh Whiskey Distillery building and logo barrel.

History of Walsh Whiskey Distillery


Founding and Early Years

Walsh Whiskey Distillery, a notable name in Ireland’s whiskey renaissance, was established in 1999 by Bernard and Rosemary Walsh. The distillery, situated in the scenic setting of Holloden House near Carlow, Ireland, represents the realization of the Walsh family’s dream to revive traditional Irish whiskey distilling in their home county.

Development of Core Brands

The Walsh’s journey into the whiskey world began with the creation of Hot Irishman Limited, aiming to blend the perfect Irish Coffee. This venture expanded into the Irish cream liqueur market with the launch of The Irishman – Irish Cream Liqueur in 2005. But it was in 2006 that the Walsh’s made a significant move into whiskey distillation. Through a long-term supply agreement with Irish Distillers, they began distilling and aging Irish whiskey to their specifications. This agreement enabled the Walshes to introduce their first whiskey, The Irishman, followed by the Writers’ Tears range.

Expansion and Innovation

The distillery’s innovative approach is evident in its unique whiskey offerings. They have utilized Sicilian Marsala wine casks from their partner Illva Saronno for aging, alongside the more traditional bourbon, sherry, and rum casks. This innovation has added a distinctive character to their whiskey portfolio.

Present and Future

Today, Walsh Whiskey Distillery stands as one of the largest independent manual whiskey distilleries in Ireland. It is the only independent distillery in the world to produce all three types of Irish whiskey — pot still, malt, and grain — under one roof. The distillery’s production capacity is impressive, aiming to reach 650,000 cases or 8 million bottles per year.

A Blend of Tradition and Modernity

A key aspect of Walsh Whiskey Distillery’s philosophy is providing an authentic Irish whiskey experience. This experience is not just about the whiskey itself but also about the environment in which it is enjoyed, with the restored estate house and visitor centre playing a significant role.

A Legacy of Excellence

The Walshes’ dedication to quality and tradition has earned them recognition and awards in whiskey. Their brands, particularly The Irishman and Writers’ Tears, have received critical acclaim and are beloved by connoisseurs globally.

The journey of Walsh Whiskey Distillery, from its inception to its current status as a key player in the Irish whiskey industry, reflects a blend of passion, tradition, and innovation, making it a distinct and revered name in the world of spirits.

Awards Won by Walsh Whiskey Distillery

Irish Whiskey Awards (2021):

  • The Irishman 17 Year Old: Best Single Malt Whiskey (16 years and older).
  • The Irishman Single Malt Marsala: Best Single Malt Whiskey (11 years & under).
  • Writers’ Tears Icewine Cask Finish: Best Blended Whiskey Limited Release.
  • Gold Medals: Awarded to Writers’ Tears Red Head, The Irishman Founder’s Reserve Rum Finish, The Irishman 12 Year Old, The Irishman Peated Red Ale Finish, and Writers’ Tears Cask Strength 2021.

London Spirits Competition (2018):

  • The Irishman – Single Malt: Won four awards including ‘Spirit of the Year’, ‘Whiskey of the Year’, a Gold Medal award, and ‘Best in Show from Ireland’.

Walsh Whiskey Distillery Tour Information and Experience

Walsh Whiskey Distillery, nestled in the beautiful surroundings of the Georgian Holloden House in Carlow, Ireland, offers an immersive whiskey experience. The distillery is a significant player in Ireland’s whiskey renaissance and is known for its use of traditional and innovative cask types, including Sicilian Marsala fortified wine casks.

The Distillery Tour

  1. Guided Tours: Visitors are led by knowledgeable guides like Woody Kane, who provide an in-depth look into the whiskey-making process, from grain to glass. The tour allows visitors to engage closely with the different stages of production.
  2. Tasting Sessions: The tour culminates in a tasting session where guests can sample distinctive whiskeys like The Irishman Founders Reserve and The Irishman Single Malt. These tastings highlight the unique flavors imparted by different cask types, including those aged in Marsala casks.
  3. Interactive Experience: The tour is interactive, allowing visitors to ask questions and learn about the intricacies of whiskey production. The guides ensure both an educational and enjoyable experience, balancing depth of knowledge with attention to safety.
  4. Exclusive Insights: The tour also offers insights into the latest developments at Walsh Whiskey, including new whiskey expressions and the distillery’s commitment to the local community and sustainable practices.

The Distillery Setting

The distillery’s location adds to the experience, with its setting on the banks of the River Barrow and the historic Georgian estate, providing a perfect backdrop for whiskey enthusiasts and tourists alike.

Booking Information

  • Schedule: For current tour times and availability, it’s recommended to contact the distillery directly.
  • Contact: You can reach out to Walsh Whiskey Distillery at +353 59 918 6653 or via email at booking@walshwhiskey.com for more information or to book a tour.

A visit to Walsh Whiskey Distillery is not just about tasting fine whiskey; it’s about experiencing the rich tradition and innovative spirit of Irish whiskey-making. Whether you’re a connoisseur or new to the world of whiskey, the distillery offers a memorable and educational experience.

Flask & Barrel Review of Walsh Whiskey Distillery

As someone who’s toured several whiskey distilleries, I recently had the pleasure of visiting Walsh Whiskey Distillery in Carlow, Ireland, and I must say, it was quite an experience. I’d rate it a solid 4.7 out of 5.

First off, the setting is stunning. Nestled by the River Barrow, the Georgian Holloden House adds a historical charm to the whole visit. It’s not just a distillery; it’s a piece of Irish heritage, and you feel that as soon as you set foot on the grounds.

The tour itself was top-notch. Our guide, Woody, was not only knowledgeable but also had a great sense of humor. He took us through the entire whiskey-making process, from grain to glass, making it easy to follow yet detailed enough to satisfy my curiosity as a collector. It’s one thing to enjoy whiskey, but understanding the craftsmanship that goes into each bottle makes you appreciate it on another level.

The tasting session was the highlight for me. Having tried various whiskeys in my time, I was impressed by the unique flavors here, especially those aged in Marsala casks. It’s a taste you don’t come across every day, and for a collector like me, that’s exciting.

I also appreciated the insights into the distillery’s future plans and their commitment to the local community. It’s clear that they’re not just about making great whiskey but also about sustainable practices and contributing positively to their surroundings.

If I had to point out a downside, it would be that I wish the tour was a bit longer. Just when I was getting fully immersed in the process and the stories, it seemed to end. But then again, maybe that’s just me wanting to soak up as much as I could.

What To Do Nearby Walsh Whiskey Distillery

Duckett’s Grove: Located about 11 miles from the distillery, this 19th-century Gothic Revival house is a must-see for history enthusiasts. The gardens here are particularly beautiful, featuring historical rose varieties and exotic peonies​​.

Carlow County Museum: Situated approximately 6 miles away, the museum showcases fascinating items like a 19th-century carved pulpit from Carlow Cathedral and a trapdoor from the gallows at Carlow Gaol​​.

VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art: This modern arts centre, about 6 miles from the distillery, hosts a variety of visual art exhibitions and has a state-of-the-art theatre for music and comedy shows​​.

Brownshill Portal Tomb Dolmen: A notable Neolithic site about 8 miles away, home to what’s reputed to be the heaviest capstone in Europe, weighing over 100 tonnes​​.

Altamont Gardens: These stunning gardens, located about 12 miles from the distillery, are a delight throughout the year, with special highlights in spring and autumn​​.

Borris Viaduct: An impressive 19th-century railway viaduct with 16 arches, situated around 15 miles away. It’s a great spot for scenic views and learning about local engineering history​​.

Borris House: About 15 miles from the distillery, this is the ancestral home of the McMorrough Kavanaghs, open for guided tours during the summer months​​.

Oak Park Forest Park: Located about 7 miles away, this park offers lovely woodland walks and is ideal for nature lovers​​.

Frequently Asked Questions

What restaurants are near Walsh Whiskey Distillery?

Supermac’s Dublin Rd Carlow: This family restaurant has a rating of 4.1 stars. For reservations, you can contact them at +353 59 918 2855. Their address is Dublin Rd, Pollerton Little, Carlow, Ireland.

Lennons @ Visual: This restaurant boasts a high rating of 4.6 stars. To contact them, you can call +353 59 917 9245. Lennons @ Visual is located at Old Dublin Rd, Carlow, Ireland, within VISUAL Carlow.

The Clink: With a rating of 4.3 stars, The Clink is another excellent choice. For reservations or inquiries, their phone number is +353 59 918 2418. The address for The Clink is 37 Dublin St, Carlow, R93 W7W4, Ireland.

What hotels are near Walsh Whiskey Distillery?

Seven Oaks Hotel: It has a rating of 4.2 stars. For reservations, you can contact them at +353 59 913 1308. Their address is Athy Rd, Carlow, Ireland.

Woodford Dolmen Hotel: This hotel boasts a rating of 4.4 stars. To make a reservation, you can call +353 59 914 2002. It’s located at Kilkenny Rd, Mortarstown Upper, Carlow, R93 N207, Ireland.

Dinn Rí Hotel: With a rating of 4.2 stars, Dinn Rí Hotel is another excellent choice. For bookings, their phone number is +353 59 913 3111. The address for the Dinn Rí Hotel is Tullow St, Carlow, Ireland.