The dairy farming industry in Ireland dates back thousands of years. Temperate climate and fertile soils have long provided ideal conditions for producing milk, butter, cheese, and other dairy products. The importance of dairy farming to the Irish and their livelihood is mentioned even in Early Irish Law or “Brehon Laws,” which valued milk cows as the highest form of currency.
Farmers in Cork began producing butter commercially as early as the 1700s, and it was soon one of Ireland’s chief exports. Eventually, Cork became one of the main shipping points in Ireland.
The term whiskey originates from the Gaelic phrase “uisce beatha,” or “water of life.” Though it has never been confirmed, many believe that Irish monks passed on the technique after they learned to distill perfumes in the Mediterranean around 1000 A.D. The Irish adapted the recipe to make their signature whiskey.
Whiskey distilleries are currently experiencing a resurgence in Ireland, and contemporary Irish distillers are revitalizing the centuries-old tradition through hard work and dedication. As of August 2017, there are now 18 active whiskey distilleries in the country.