Tour Operators

Heritage Tour and Whiskey Tasting

Tour Operators: Heritage Tour & Whiskey Tasting

Heritage Tour and Whiskey TastingIn 2020 we are delighted to introduce this new whiskey tasting option for groups & Tour Operators. This tour is inspired by the soon-to-come-to-market (July 2020) Clare Island Whiskey, matured at sea experience.

Clare Island Sea Aged Whiskey is the first whiskey worldwide to be matured at sea for three years and a day. We do not have our own distillery yet and buy our new-make spirit from the Connacht Distillery in Ballina. We focus on the 85% character which whiskey takes from its maturation process.

The whiskey is being matured on the old Clare Island Ferry boat called the Dolphin, which was built by O’Malley’s Boat Builders of Curraun for Chris O Grady in 1968.

While you won’t be able to taste our whiskey until the first release in late July, the tasting experience available from May 2020 will cover three Irish whiskeys that focus on alternative maturation processes.

The tour itself will start at the pier once you arrive off Clare Island Ferry (O’Grady’s) boat. Your group will be brought to Grace O’Malley’s Castle where they will learn of her life and times as the infamous Pirate Queen. You will also learn about the 5000 year old megalithic landscape, the great famine, the Congested District Board and current life and times of the local community. Then the group will be brought to the pier to see the Dolphin (whiskey boat) and hear the story of Clare Island Whiskey.

After this the group will walk to the 12th Century Cistercian Abbey to see the burial place of Grace O’Malley and the 12th Century ceiling frescos. While at the abbey there are a number of stories about war times which come to life.

After this the group will walk to Sailor’s Bar for lunch (not included) and following lunch the group will partake in a whiskey tasting which will focus on the complexities of maturation, and how different process have such a significant impact on the final taste profile.

Ferry departs Roonagh Pier at 11.00am and 1.45pm and returns at 5.15pm and 6.45 to Roonagh Pier. There are other options which include departure from Roonagh Pier and return to Achill Island. Please contact us for further information. The overall tour should take three and a half hours, including one hour for lunch break.

Price – €40 per person includes return ferry crossing to Roonagh Pier, your guide and whiskey tasting. Lunch is not included. Sailors Bar has a great lunch menu with plenty of options for all. The whiskey tasting will take place at Sailor’s Bar after lunch.

Your guide for the day will be Carl O’Grady who is a Clare Island local and owns Sailors Bar. Carl is also the founder of Clare Island whiskey and his family has operated the Clare Island Ferry since the mid 1800’s. Carl’s brothers, Alan and Brian O Grady, operate the ferry service today.

Minimum group size: 20

As usual, we have additional options for Tour Operators that don’t include whiskey tasting. To discuss your needs, email