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Jameson Distillery

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The Jameson Midleton distillery is responsible for the majority of all Irish Whiskey produced in Ireland today. The old distillery is now open to the public and has been developed into an interesting tour and a major tourist attraction.

The distillery started life as a woolen manufacturing business in 1796. By the 1820s the buildings were lying empty until three brothers James, Daniel and Jeremiah Murphy decided that the perfect purpose for these fine buildings should be the manufacture of whiskey. Initially run as a family concern calling themselves James Murphy & Co they ultimately merged with several other distillers in the area to be come known as the Cork Distillers Company.

The Midleton Distillery had many advantages being situated in the countryside not least of which was the low operating overheads as opposed to those experienced by the City Distillers. A greater advantage was perhaps that Midleton boasted not only Irelands but the world's largest still with a capacity of 31,618 gallons!

In 1966 The cork distillers Company joined forces with their city rivals John Jameson and John Powers together these three formed the Irish Distillers Group. The newly formed Irish Distillers Group decided that a new all purpose distillery would be built and Midleton with it room for expansion was chosen as the site.

The opening of the new Midleton Distillery was impressive, whilst the new distillery was being built the workers continued their craft in the old distillery buildings. Then one evening in 1975 they finished work as usual and left the old distillery. The following morning they returned not to where they had left the night before but to the new distillery a few hundred yards away, from here they carried on their craft as if nothing had happened.

The History of Midleton
In the 1180’s advancing Normans led by Barry FitzGerald established an abbey at a weir on the river to be populated by Cistercian Monks from Burgundy. The abbey became known as “Chore Abbey” and “Castrum Chor”, taking its name from cora or weir in Irish, although some say that “Chor” comes from “Choir” or “Choral”. The abbey is commemorated in the Irish name for Midleton, Mainistir na Corann, or “Monastery at the Weir”, and of the local river Owenacurra or Abhainn na Cora meaning "River of the Weirs". St John the Baptist’s Church (Church of Ireland}, erected in 1825, stands today on the site of the abbey.

Captain, and later Sir, Walter Raleigh had a association with Midleton living for periods in Youghal between and 1585 and 1602. His presence was due to a distribution of land in reward for helping suppress the 2nd Desmond Rebellion of 1579-1583. As part of this suppression he was ordered to seize Barry’s Castle at nearby Cahermore. The Seneschal, or steward of Imokilly, on being expelled from the castle, took refuge in the Abbey, but was again forced to flee by Raleigh. Raleigh is credited with planting the first potatoes in Ireland, also at Youghal.

The town, now named Midleton or “Middle Town” because of its stop-off status between Cork and Youghal was incorporated as a market town and postal depot in 1670, receiving its charter from Charles II, as the “borough and town of Midleton”.

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