Hi - I’m Eddie Healy. I retired five years ago. I tried golf like many of my peers but I soon discovered that I was a danger to shipping and I was hoarse from shouting “FORE!”
I was looking for a hobby that would suit my sedentary lifestyle when I bumped into one of the proprietors of Langton’s house Hotel in Kilkenny - Mr Eddie Langton.
Eddie, Jim (Dylan Whisky Bar) and Cyril Briscoe had set up Kilkenny Whiskey Guild in early 2017 with a view to turning Kilkenny City into one of the country’s leading Irish Whiskey tourism destinations. Ten of the city’s best establishments were on board and all were willing to stock a minimum of sixty Irish Whiskeys, offer a dedicated menu, tasting platters, Whiskey displays and to have a staff educated on Irish Whiskey. Eddie asked if I would be interested in attending Guild events and the rest is history!
I didn’t quite know how to break it to my wife though - so I told her that as a mature student I was considering a course in further education. She was thrilled with the prospect of me receiving a diploma or a degree. So I asked her for a lift to my first class. I directed her to a very imposing building on The Parade and I told her she could let me out t The Left Bank. She asked me what sort of class I was going to in The Left Bank and it was then I told her I was going to educate myself about one of Ireland’s Oldest Distilleries & Producers Of Fine Irish Whiskey - “Powers”. She revved the engine of our car, the tyres screeched on the tarmac and she disappeared in a cloud of smoke and dust. I didn’t realise the car could go that fast. When I dusted myself down I joined all the other ‘mature students’ at the class. I was pleasantly surprised that all my classmates shared a ‘common thirst’ for ‘further education’.
The brand ambassador on that night was Mr. Michael Carr, a very imposing man with a long red beard. I associate beards with knowledge so I grew one myself. It’s not in the same league as Mr. Carr’s and unfortunately my daughter associate’s mine with ‘homelessness’. So Michael Carr gave us the history of Powers Whiskey that night and samples of their finest Whiskeys including ‘John’s Lane’, ‘Signature’ and ‘Three Swallows’ with a twist at the end with a mystery Whiskey for us to identify. We all thought it was a new high-end Whiskey but in fact it was my old favourite ‘Powers Gold Label’ - very clever Mr. Carr!
The first class was a total success. That was the 9th of March 2017. I had a debriefing with Eddie Langton and Peter Brady (The Left Bank) after the class and I must admit that when I woke up the following afternoon my head hurt a little from my education on Powers Whiskey.
Since then we have gone on from strength to strength in Kilkenny Whiskey Guild. We have had presentations from Bushmills, Midleton, Walsh Whiskey, Tullamore D.E.W., Pearse Whiskey, Jameson, Kilbeggan, Method & Madness, Tyrconnell, Slane - the list goes on! I hope I haven’t left anyone out! The hospitality from the participating houses has been outstanding.
There have been many highlights such as participating in The Irish Whiskey Awards blind tasting and launching our very own single Cask Whiskey but I would like to give special mention to the Midleton Dair Ghaelach presentation in The Parade Tower of Kilkenny Castle on 11th January 2018. The barrel oak used to mature these Whiskeys was sourced in Kilkenny and it was a very special occasion to have the Whiskey launched right here in Kilkenny and with the Guild as hosts.
I have learned so much in my studies so far. I hope you find this journey as interesting as I have, Well done to Eddie, Jim, Cyril and all the Kilkenny Whiskey Guild Houses on your outstanding success. I look forward to each and every one of the events and to meeting my fellow students on our quest for education.