Slane Castle & Distillery
Slane Castle and Distillery is a fairly new and fairly fantastic double-header of a visit on the Boyne Valley scene. The Boyne Valley drive already has a multitude of worthy historical visits but this is the first distillery and a fine one at that.
Slane Castle is famous amongst the Irish as the venue of a top end annual music festival. The grounds of Slane Castle has seen up to 80,000 packed in to see Queen, U2 and David Bowie down the years and will welcome Metallica in 2019. The sloped greens, counterpoint of the castle and River Boyne flowing in the background really do make for a stunning arena.
The music festival was the brainchild of the charismatic current owner Lord Henry Conyngham and the stand out point of the tour of Slane Castle is a candid video interview with the charismatic man. Most of the time these grand houses are mausoleums to super rich families or absentee owners who had more money than sense but this simple video brings a real humanity to the place.
Also on the grounds of Slane Castle is the brand new Slane Distillery. A supremely polished tour takes you through the distillation process, barrel making and tasting. Importantly this is a working distillery so it's not all information boards and videos. The fact that the multi-million Euro distillery has been created from scratch by Brown Forman - of Jack Daniels fame - does detract from the rustic-distillery-in-the-Irish-countryside vibe.however more Irish distilleries and breweries are owned by mega corporations than you'd like to think so no need to get hung up about it..
There's also a comfy bar and restaurant - no soulless visitor centre café - which is nice way to split up the visit.
A combination visit to both the castle and the distillery will set you back over €20 so in non-Dublin attraction terms it is on the high end however for a good couple of hours this place will keep you entertained. Plus it's close to the Hill of Slane - religious ruins on a hill with great views - which is free of charge and always a good addition to a main event.