This week, I embarked on a most exciting adventure with Jameson, introducing me to both Dublin and Ireland for the first time as well as a fascinating discovery of whiskey that took us all over (and under) the city.
Although their main distillery is near Cork, it’s obvious that Dublin is the spiritual home of Jameson (pardon the pun) and always has been since it was founded in 1780. Whiskey is to Ireland what wine is to France, so what better way to become acquainted with a city, than with a brand who’s connection to its streets and people is not only engrained in its heritage, but its inspiration for the future.
This is the Jameson guide to Dublin; exploring the past, present and future of the city’s culture, history and culinary talent.
Under The Streets Of Dublin
We started our journey under the streets of Dublin and taken to the Fitzwilliam Lane cellars. Here, we met Ger Buckley the master cooper of Jameson, who’s family have looked after the cooperage, (maintaining the whiskey barrels) for five generations. The cooper broad axe and hammer Ger uses to maintain the barrels for Jameson have been passed down from his father and his father before him and are ancient tools that date back 9000 years. For such a global company, I find this really rather romantic and a testament to Jameson’s artisanal values.
The Culture Of Dublin – Past, Present and Future
Next stop was the Dublin Writer’s Musuem on the north side of Parnell Square, which showcases the original work of some of Ireland’s biggest literary talents. Here you’ll find the collections of Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, James Joyce, Bram Stoker and Jonathan Swift.
This beautiful Georgian building is the former home of George Jameson, who commissioned the intricate stained glass windows that bear his monogram and coat of arms.
We then went on a walking tour of Temple Bar with street and graffiti artist, James Earley who has designed this year’s limited edition Jameson bottle. Temple Bar, is actually an area and not just a pub as I thought the name suggested!
At night, it is alive with revellers that slosh their way from pub to pub, but during the day it is a cobbled, cultural gem punctuated with rickety Irish pubs and incredible graffiti street art. James Earley is the man behind many of the outstanding and colourful pieces that adorn the walls of Temple Bar’s buildings and he was the most fascinating tour guide, telling us each painting’s deeper meaning, all of which are poignantly inspired by the people of Ireland. This particular piece of a cow trampling a cowboy, represents the uprising of people against the ‘cowboy’ bankers during the global recession.
One of his most impressive pieces is the mural on the walls of the Bloom Hotel. Earley’s inspiration for this, is the book Ulysses by James Joyce and was painted entirely by free hand. You must go and see it for yourself.
This is the limited edition bottle by James Earley and includes these Dublin landmarks in his design:
Walking through Dublin also opened my eyes and ears to the thriving live music scene here. There’s something very sexy about the Irish voice; it’s gravelly, raw and bursting with passion. It’s also bursting out of almost every pub in Temple bar and many of the other establishments we encountered on our exploration of the city. Suitably therefore, we were taken to a secret gig at the Jameson Bow Street Sessions, where Dublin-native band Kodaline played a headline set.
The next day marked one of the biggest in the Irish calendar; St Patrick’s Day and what better time to visit Dublin than on this national holiday, where the patriotism of the Irish is stronger than ever and everyone dresses in green. Sadly, I didn’t see any leprechauns, but some of the costumes from onlookers of the St Patrick’s Day parade were ‘grand to be sure’!
We spent our St Patrick’s Day at the Old Jameson Distillery, which hosted a huge party with live bands, Irish craft stalls and the opportunity to tour the distillery itself. Did you know that the word “uisce” is Gaelic for water, which is the root for the English word “whiskey”? If ever there was proof of how important whiskey is to the Irish, then I think this is it!
Where To Eat In Dublin
If you’re looking for creative and delicious food, then Dublin offers some of the very best.
Our first dinner was at The Fumbally, where hotly-tipped Katie Sanderson created the most incredible 7 course tasting menu for us to enjoy. This is a chef who creates her own salt, so as you can imagine her intricate style yields some very exciting culinary experimentation. Proudly using only local produce, the menu was inspired by Irish food from past to present.
We also ate lunch at The Drury Buildings on Drury Lane (no muffin man in sight unfortunately). This is in the hipster area of town near Temple Bar and the food did not disappoint. I opted for the stone bass with potato gratin as a main, which was delicately cooked and divine to taste.
Not to be missed is dinner at L Mulligans Grocer, a traditional pub and grocer that has now become one of the best gastro-pubs in Dublin. Here we paired Irish cheese and Jameson whiskey, a most delectable combination before tucking into our hearty meals. Although traditional, the dishes here are lifted with hints of unexpected flavour, such as the ginger and lime butter that accompanied my smoked salmon starter. Of course, Irish produce is the name of the game here and the whiskey, beer and food menu change with the seasons.
The Burgers we had for lunch at Jo Burger, on site at the Old Jameson Distillery are out of this world. Literally, they are about the size of a planet and absolutely delicious. Make sure you order fries and choose three of the five types of Mayo they offer; we had curry mayo, pesto mayo and garlic mayo -INSANE!
Our final meal was at Angler’s Rest, a seafood restaurant that has been entertaining Dubliners since 1865 with fine food and great live music. I was still so full from my burger that I could only manage some of my soup and wild mushroom tart, but the food and ambience here is really quite magical. Its rustic oak and stone decor is the perfect setting for traditional Irish music played by the open hearth and as we watched the band and sipped the golden swirls of our Jameson whiskey aperitif, I couldn’t have felt more content.
Thank you Jameson for an absolutely fantastic week!
Are you heading to Dublin? If you have any comments or questions, please leave them below!