Sip Trips #77: Whiskey in the Jar (Part 1)

Mrs. Sip and I have returned from our adventures in Ireland and what a trip it was, full of wonderful food, drink and experiences. Today, I’ll share part one of the vacation with all you little sippers, so buckle up for a tour around the Emerald Isle!

Upon arriving, Mrs. Sip and members of the Sip Syndicate picked me up from the airport, having touched down a few hours before me. We were off to the small village of Robinstown, where after checking into our accommodation, we made the five-minute jaunt to the local bar, Ryan’s of Robinstown. There, we dove into pints of Smithwick’s Irish Ale and Guinness Stout (of course) and tried to stay awake so we could align our body clocks with the new time zone. This is where I learned quickly that many Irish beers that would be available on tap are much lighter than I’m accustomed to at home.

irish-beer-odouls

The next day, we were en route to Galway, but stopped in Athlone to have a pint at Sean’s Bar. What made this layover so significant? Sean’s Bar has been recognized by Guinness World Records as the oldest pub in Ireland, Europe and even the world – providing something else doesn’t come along disproving this claim. Here, I ordered a pint of one of the pub’s own brews, the Iuain’s Red Ale. Before leaving Athlone, we decided to grab lunch at the nearby Murphy’s Law pub, which had a diverse menu of both food and drink. To accompany my club sandwich, I drank the Murphy’s Red Ale, which I found to be a really good beer with a nice creamy finish.

Once we arrived in Galway, we promptly picked up beer and other provisions. The craft beers I grabbed included the Buried at Sea Chocolate Milk Stout, O’Hara’s Dry Hopped Irish Pale Ale, Curim Celtic Wheat Beer, and Galway Bay Full Sail Dry Hopped Irish Pale Ale. I also snagged a bag of Roast Beef and Irish Stout chips to snack on. That evening, we explored Shop Street, ending up at the King’s Head Pub, which featured live music with cover songs by a one man guitarist, who nailed his Johnny Cash impression. My libation of choice was the Smithwick’s Pale Ale. The next night, we returned to Shop Street to celebrate my recent birthday. Our base on this evening was Taaffes Pub, where numerous brews were consumed, as well as my first Jameson on Irish soil and a Baby Guinness shot (Kahlua and Bailey’s), courtesy of Mrs. Sip.

irish-meal

Our next accommodation was in Killarney, but along the way, we popped into Limerick and visited The Locke, another “oldest pub in the city” occasion. The bar had a decent craft beer lineup, of which I selected the Black Lightning Black IPA from 9 White Deer Brewery. It paired nicely with my absolutely delicious fried chicken burger. Mrs. Sip ordered a carafe of wine for herself and fell in love with their seafood chowder, which was a hit with our entire table.

Arriving in Killarney, we had trouble finding a place to eat, given most locations closed early. We ended up at The Smoke House, which was a very fortunate accident, as we each had a good meal. I also enjoyed a pint of the Killarney Brewing Company’s Scarlet Pimpernel Irish Pale Ale here. After dinner, we visited Courtney’s Bar, which provided an opportunity to try Crean’s Lager, which Cousin Sip and her husband had raved about. I didn’t really have the same experience, but it was a solid beverage.

irish-toast

With our crew getting a little worn out, most elected to stay in Killarney, while Mrs. Sip and I ventured out, taking our lives into our own hands on the narrow, curvy roads of the countryside (and all while driving on the opposite side of the car and road for my first time ever). Our first stop of the self-guided route was Blarney Castle, where we both went upside down and kissed its infamous stone. While popping into their tea house, I purchased a can of Guinness because when will I ever drink a beer on castle grounds again!?

Moving on, we made our way to Midleton for the Jameson Experience. I had hoped to hit this attraction later in Dublin, but that spot is closed for renovations for the next six months. Thankfully, this opportunity came up as the grounds and tour was amazing, filled with so much history. The Sip Advisor was even included among eight volunteers who got to do an Irish, Scottish and American whiskey cross comparison. The tour concluded with a cocktail (Jameson, ginger ale and lime) which was really good and may have even turned Mrs. Sip back onto whiskey. After chatting with some fellow tourists, I was encouraged to buy a bottle of Jameson Distillery Reserve, which is only available at the distillery and nowhere else in the world.

That wraps up part one of our journey to Ireland. Tomorrow, we arrive in the Irish capital of Dublin for more debaucherous activity!

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