British Open 2019: Here are the closest whiskey distilleries to Royal Portrush

July 18, 2019

This week tens of thousands of fans will descend on Royal Portrush. That’s not a guess — tickets to this 2019 British Open sold out long ago. Many of these golf-loving spectators will no doubt look to partake in another of Ireland’s great traditions: whiskey. But are there any distilleries near the course to have a tour and a little fun? Glad you asked.

One of Ireland’s largest and most acclaimed whiskey companies has planted its HQ less than a 15-minute drive straight east from the 18th hole: Bushmills. The venerable brand claims to be Ireland’s oldest licensed whiskey-maker. And because that license was granted in 1608, it’s hard to argue otherwise. The place will no doubt be a popular spot this week. After the facility tour is complete, fans can chase their samplers with more libations at the Distillers Arms Pub, right outside the distillery, which offers gourmet cuisine to pair with the drinks.

Bushmills Distillery could be a popular spot this week during the British Open.
Visit Ireland

For fans looking for a little adventure in the form of a side trip, they can take a 30-minute drive east of Portrush, where a ferry awaits to open a new world. At Ballycastle Marina, fans can hop the Kintyre Express Ferry and make two separate stops that will lead to a whisky-infused adventure. The first drop-off is at Campbeltown on Scotland’s peninsular West Coast. Once upon a time that province was known as the “whisky capital of the world.” (Note the Socts drop the “e” in whiskey.) In Campbeltown several interesting distilleries await, including Springbank, just a couple blocks off the boat. Established in 1828, Springbank throws special events and offers limited-edition pours. I bet they’ll be ready for something special this week for golf fans who make the trip.

Also in Campbeltown: a GOLF top-100 golf course, Machrihanish, and its top-100-worthy sister track, Machrihanish Dunes. Both courses are one-of-a kind and they make it worth dragging your clubs onto the ferry.

The boat will also drop you at Port Ellen on the Isle of Islay, which happens to be the starting point for what’s known as the Three Distilleries Pathway. Lagavulin, Laphroaig and Ardbeg distilleries are all situated in a 15-mile radius. If you do those in one day, may we humbly suggest hiring a driver? But hey, that’s part of the fun from a week at the Open. Fans looking for an Irish pour or a wee dram, consider this your playbook. Enjoy the Open.

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