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The county of Cork is the largest in Ireland – and although small by international standards, there is a sense of a clear divide and friendly rivalry between East Cork and West Cork .
So, with a nod to our friends in the Eastern part of the county we are off to visit the town of Midleton that is located about 10 miles east of Cork City.
Midleton, meaning “monastery at the weir” gained the name Midleton or “Middle Town” as the main midway town, 10 miles between Cork and Youghal. It was incorporated as a market town and postal depot in 1670, receiving its charter from Charles II . The town was in fact founded in 1180 when the Normans, led by Barry Fitz Gerald established a Cistercian abbey at a weir on the river. Sir Walter Raleigh lived nearby between 1585 and 1602, and he is credited in planting the first potatoes in Europe and Ireland!
Let’s park the car in the main Street and take a look around . The Streetscape that we see was mainly laid out in the 1700’s and one of the most handsome buildings is the old market house and meeting rooms that were built in 1789. It is still in everyday use as a library these days.
As we head towards the Eastern end of town – this is where I especially want to bring you today – to the Jameson Distillery experience ! The town is home to the Old Midelton Distillery, which was established by James Murphy in 1825. The distillery operated independently until 1868, when it became part of the Cork Distillers Company which was later amalgamated into Irish Distillers in 1967.
Unfortunately, the visitor centre is being refurbished – it’s been open to the public since 1992 so is in need of a bit of a makeover but there is still plenty to see around the buildings that have stood here since 1825 . In fact, the whiskey is made nowadays in a modern building tucked away from view .. but hey let’s take a peek around the Distillery, which boasts the world’s largest pot still – a copper vessel with a capacity of 140,000 litres, that was in operation until 1975 .
Did you know that the word “ whiskey “ in Irish is “ Uisce Beatha “ … the water of life. Also pay attention that Irish whiskey is spelt WHISKEY whereas the brew that they make in Scotland is known as WHISKY. Here at Connemara Marble our Whiskey Stones are always a popular choice to pair with Irish Whiskey.
The Midelton distillery produces several whiskeys – the iconic Jameson brand as well as Redbreast, and Paddy ( which is a favourite of the locals in Cork ! ) it also produces Vodka and Gin .. so it’s a really busy operation and a great employer for the population of the town .
We can take a visit to the shop and select something from their extensive collection … we can even bottle our own individual of Black barrel cask strength whiskey – boy would that make the perfect gift for a whiskey lover !
Before we head back to the car, we can take a look at many of the fine houses that were built near the distillery clearly there were many prosperous inhabitants in the town.
If you are planning a trip to Ireland, I would definitely recommend a visit to The Middleton distillery and I hope that you got a taste of what’s in store with me today and that you enjoyed our walk. If you are interested you can see our whiskey flavoured tea and fudge over at www.connemaramarble.com
Until next time , please take care, Stephen.
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