Kilbeggan Distillery

Whiskey Adventures in Ireland

It’s fun to explore the local beverage options while travelling. There is so much to try, and so much that doesn’t get exported to Canada. My trip to Ireland was a great opportunity to explore the beauty that is Irish whiskey.

I find it incredibly bizarre that I didn’t get into Irish whiskey sooner. Granted, I only started drinking whisk(e)y of any kind in the last five years or so. I’m not sure why I didn’t go out of my way to try Irish whiskey again, but it didn’t happen until we were booking our trip.

Dude.

The base-level Jameson is not all there is to Irish whiskey.

Dublin Publin'

Dublin Publin’ in Templebar, Dublin

5 Ways to Enrich Irish Travel with Whiskey

1. Cold Relief

You know what Irish whiskey is great for? Soothing a throat that is raw from a bad head cold, and 8 hours in a dry plane. It was the only thing I could taste at the time, forcing me to push my first Guinness of the trip to the next day.

2. Historical Tourism

A visit to a whiskey distillery museum is a great way to spend your day! The best one we toured was the old Kilbeggan Distillery. It wasn’t as slick and produced as some of the bigger brands; to its benefit! It felt like a moment back in time, in a quaint town, followed by a delicious sample. We were glad we upgraded to the Gold package – the guided tour and tastings were incredible!

Kilbeggan Truck

Truck at the old Kilbeggan Distillery

3. Talk to the Locals

One of the best things to do when travelling is talk to some locals – but how do you get an ‘in’? Start with the bartender! We had lots of fun chatting up the bartenders, talking about different whiskey brands and what we should try next. This can easily lead to good restaurant and lodging recommendations you won’t get from a guidebook.

4. Souvenirs

Don’t feel like bringing back any corny leprechaun t-shirts? Buy some whiskey instead! There are so many brands that don’t often come across the pond, and when they do they can be really expensive. You can even grab some at the last minute! There are fantastic whiskey options at duty-free in the Dublin airport, and some deals to be had. Our best deal was a bottle of Tyrconnell for just 18 euro!

Don’t forget to look for exclusive items if you do a distillery tour. We got a bottle of Jameson Distillery Reserve, which can only be bought at the distillery museums.

5. A nice change from Guinness (or Bulmer’s); goes well WITH Guinness!

Sidenote here – we saw more Irish folk drinking Bulmer’s cider than Guinness. It seems to be what the kids are drinking these days.

Bonus Round: Whiskey Ice Cream!

… and holy cow, is it ever good!

Kilbeggan - whiskey ice cream

Kilbeggan – whiskey ice cream

Kilbeggan Whiskey Distillery, Ireland

the Greek Alfaveeto

It’s All Greek to Me

When I was a child, my Opa’s odd sense of humour was often lost on me. Case in point, let’s consider the time he told me he could speak every language in the world.

In disbelief, I asked him to say something in some language I randomly selected, to which he replied “It’s all Greek to me”. It all fell apart when I asked him to say something in Greek.

Fast forward to today, and I’m trying to learn some Greek. This is where I start to learn a bit of every language in the world.

After my trip to Spain, I decided that I was tired of being the tourist that relies on tour guides to tell me what’s going on, or assuming that restaurant staff understand English. If I’m going to travel, I need to be able to communicate a little bit better.

Greek isn’t exactly the easiest language to jump into.

My name, in Greek (Στεφανια)

Στεφανια – don’t judge my penmanship! I’m working at a JK level!

To start, the characters are SO DIFFERENT. The trickiest part, for me, is disassociating certain characters with sounds. My favourite way to learn some of the Greek alphabet was to figure out how to write my name and my husband’s name. His was actually trickier, since he has some letters in his name that don’t have a single-character counterpart in Greek.

I’m actually really happy with some of the resources I’ve found online. Since I’m focusing on useful phrases (as opposed to starting with the basics and verb conjugation), I’ve really latched on to GreekPod101.com. I’ve been listening to their “Survival Phrases” series as I walk to work, trying not to scare the people around me by yelling things like “Nostimos!” out loud. Go figure I keep repeating the Greek taverna lessons.

The first things I learn before a trip:

  • please and thank you (I’m Canadian!)
  • Two beers, please.
  • Two coffees, please.
  • Hello
  • Good morning

I’m happy to say that I’ve added these to my Greek repertoire, as well:

  • Excuse me
  • Do you speak English?
  • I don’t understand.
  • How much does this cost?
  • Where is the toilet?
  • The bill, please.

… and the longest phrase I have learned so far is  <<Μπορείτε να το επαναλάβετε;>> (“Boreíte na to epanalávete?” - Can you repeat that?)

Honestly, I know I won’t be fluent before I go to Greece later this year. My goal is to be able to understand a bit, say a few key phrases and show that I’m willing to learn.

αντιο!

A Love Story

This site is hosted by blog.ryerson.ca. Opinions expressed in this site do not necessarily represent those of Ryerson University.