Craft Gin Club Summer Road Trip: Trailblazing and Blarney on Ireland's Blackwater River

Blackwater No. 5 gin

Summer time = traveling time! What's better than throwing your gear in a suitcase and throwing your work into the dustbin as you leave your stress and troubles far behind in exchange for a sun-filled season of new adventures? We can't think of much - except sipping a cool, craft G&T. But what makes that G&T even better? Drinking it at the distillery where the gin was made!

This summer, we're taking a trip through the regions of our craft distiller partners, the places where they make the delicious, small-batch gins that Craft Gin Club Members enjoy every month.

In March, we featured an exclusive gin that only Craft Gin Club Members have had the opportunity to taste in the UK, a gin that our members still rave about. The beautiful gin comes from the Blackwater River Valley in Ireland’s south and is made at the Blackwater Distillery. The distillery’s Founder and President, Peter Mulryan, is a whisky man at heart but learned to love gin in his travels outside of Ireland where the only spirit that passed for gin was the industrially-produced Cork Dry Gin, a gin that Peter says tastes “ghastly.” Once a producer for a BBC travel show and a whisky writer, Peter’s many voyages brought him back to his homeland. Here are a few things to do in the area where Peter has set up Ireland’s First Craft Distillery. 

Banner image credit: John Foley

Where to drink 

where to drink blackwater no. 5

The team at the Blackwater Distillery would be happy to introduce you to their beautiful still named after a common site in the region, the heron. The Gaelic name for the still, Sile na Bportach, actually means “Sally of the Bog” and a colloquial term for “heron”. Peter Mulryan, the distillery’s Founder and President, is always experimenting with new spirits and would love to use you as his lab rat. 

Once you’ve had your fill of gin, whisky and spirits, you can head to the Dungarven Brewing Company or Radikale who invites you to “join the revolution one pint at a time.”

How to live like Blackwater Lords and Ladies

blackwater no. 5 gin

The Blackwater - also known as the Irish Rhine - was a popular spot for English gentry attracted to the region for the wealth that floated up the river with the spice trades amongst other commerce. The region’s riches provided for a number of manors and castles that you can visit and stay in today. Here are a few:

How to get wet on the Blackwater River

blackwater no. 5 gin

The Blackwater is world-renowned for its salmon angling but trout are also abundant. If fishing isn’t your thing, they you can swing by Blackwater Outdoor Activities which can organise kayaking, river tubing and rafting as well as dry-land fun such as zip lining and paint ball.

How to best take in the scenery

best scenary

The Blackwater Way is a trail that follows the eponymous river - all 104 miles of it. Taking ten days to walk the entire length, the trail stretches from Tipperary, through Cork and into County Kerry passing through the green landscapes that Ireland is famous for as well as several of its mountain ranges.

Where to catch some sun

ireland black water no 5 gin

At the Blackwater’s estuary sits the port town of Youghal, self-described as “one of the best preserved examples of a 13th century town in Europe.” With three wide, sandy beaches, the town attracts tourists looking to breathe in the sea air, take a dip and even go whale watching.