Dublin 2016 – #BeOriginal
A while ago I received an email, asking me if I would be able to attend a four day trip to Dublin with Jameson (@JamesonWhiskey), what answer was there other than yes? So on a rather grey, Edinburgh day, I set off for Dublin. I bumped into fellow whisky blogger, Tom Thomson (@Tomswhisky) whilst sampling a few whiskies at the World Duty Free shop, just to warm up the palate of course, and before I knew it, it was time to board the plane and head over to the Emerald Isle.
We were met by one of Jameson’s drivers, and after a short and comfortable journey we arrived at the stunning Marker Hotel (@themarkerhotel), after a little downtime, I met up with Greg Dillon (@GreatDrams) and we were soon bussed off for dinner. There we were introduced to Coralie Grassin (@ChoCoralie) from the wonderful Teatime in Wonderland blog over dinner at Fumbally Café. Next up was bespoke bar The Drury Buildings and numerous cocktails, before returning to the hotel.
Another busy day lay ahead, starting with being taking underground for a coopering demonstration by Jameson/Middleton’s head cooper, this was my first time seeing a cask being dismantled and rebuilt and it really was a work of art, even now I can’t believe how fast and skilfully the cask was rebuilt. It was all the more magical for the atmospheric setting and with the hot Jameson and ginger I was clutching.
Next up was a tour of the Dublin Writer’s Museum, which is situated in a magnificent 18th century mansion in the north city centre, the collection features the lives and works of Dublin’s literary celebrities over the past three hundred years.
The building, at 18 Parnell Square, dates back to 1780 when Lord Farnham was its first occupant. There were several other owners until finally it was purchased by George Jameson in 1891. George Jameson had quite a grand vision for the house and made some major refurbishments, and created the Gallery of Writers on the first floor, which is truly spectacular.
There is plenty to see and do, and many of the greats including Swift and Sheridan, Shaw and Wilde, Yeats, Joyce and Beckett are among those presented through their books, letters, portraits and personal items. The Curator was a fascinating man, who had endless knowledge and stories, I would highly recommend paying it a visit if you find yourself in Dublin.
It wasn’t time to rest there though, next up was a walking tour with James Earley (@jamesearleyart), It was James who had designed the iconic label to celebrate this year’s Jameson’s St Patrick Day bottle.
James Earley is a contemporary urban artist based in Dublin, Ireland. He has been active since 1997. James told showed us many of the places where he found inspiration for this year’s design, and told us about his family’s background in stained glass art with their business Earley Studios for over 100 years.
James’ specialises in graffiti art, and there are many buildings in Dublin which he has been commissioned to create large pieces, with perhaps the most impressive being Blooms Hotel.
We had time to squeeze in an quick lunch, before moving on to the next activity, a chance to sample and recreate (or in my case) try to recreate, the perfect Irish coffee.
Jameson have paired up with Jameson Head Blender Billy Leighton, renowned mixologist Nick Strangeway and local coffee roasters TwoFifty Square, who started to deconstruct one of the most famous cocktails of all time. When you pair up such expertise, you take something simple and make it magnificent.
The setting for this masterclass was a very cool Butchers. When you stand at the front door there is nothing to make you think it is anything other than a butchers, but when you go downstairs there is a super cool underground bar, which Jameson use, for staff training, Bartending classes and for press and media visitors.
I had a go at trying to float the cream, but sadly put far more cream, far quicker than I expected, but it was still fun, and somebody even still drank it, so it couldn’t have been all bad. Find out more, including the recipe here.
There was time for a quick change at the hotel, before heading back out for a wonderful meal and a cheese and whiskey pairing at Mulligan’s Grocers, the food was stunning, and this is one hidden treasure I would recommend seeking out, if visiting Dublin.
Next up was a private Bow Street Session gig that Jameson had set up for competition winners, and for VIP’s. We were soon settled on the upper level, with a bar and overlooking the crowd, watching Little Hours, Walking on Cars and Kodaline, not bands I knew before, but I had a great time watching them, and spent a large part of the evening drinking Jameson and ginger (I drank a lot of this, and boy was it refreshing), with Billy Leighton talking whisky, it was a great moment. All too soon the night was over, and after a final dram in the bar it was time for bed.
Then it was St Patrick’s Day! A very exciting time to be in Ireland, we avoided the parade, as it was very busy and headed out to the Old Jameson Distillery. Trust me Jameson know how to throw a party, there was so much to do at every turn. The drinks were flowing, there were live bands inside the distillery, and a DJ outside.
The first thing I did was to make a leather washbag, bearing Stewart’s initials, hand marked by myself and riveted by my own fair hand. To be fair the bag was pre made, but I am still pretty proud of my efforts. Next up a hand printed Jameson Sweatshirt with the James Earley design from this year’s Jameson bottle. Time for a quick lunch and then some more Jameson and ginger.
I don’t think I quite have vocabulary to put into words just how enjoyable and exciting the day was, the atmosphere is something that you really need to experience for yourself and it was amazing!
Then back to the hotel again for a quick change before heading out for a lovely dinner, with traditional Irish Folk music, sumptuous surroundings and lots of fun, and of course back to the hotel for a dram or two before packing for the flight out the next morning.
A nice comfy transfer to the airport once more, and it wasn’t long until I was greeted by the familiar face of some Jameson team members, who were showcasing Jameson in the Duty Free Lounge, of course we shared (well I drank, they poured) a dram or two, whilst recounting the trip, before boarding the plane, to touch back down in Edinburgh.
I’m not sure I’ve even come close to doing this trip justice, I am so very grateful to Jameson for inviting me to take part in this trip, with such a great bunch of people.
I was looked after so well, and nothing was too much trouble for the Jameson Team, who were professional, polite, helpful and fun throughout. I don’t know how they managed to keep so many of us in the right place at the right time but they did, and it was amazing, I hope they all enjoyed a well-deserved rest once we went home.
Kirsty Clarke (@KirstyClarke29)