We have always dreamed about having an Irish Whiskey distillery in Dublin. We set upon a journey of finding the perfect location, and in 2013, we discovered St. James’ Church and were drawn to its rich history and The Liberties.
There is a cast of colourful characters associated with St. James’ Church, including my grandfather, John Hubert Lyons, who is buried in the graveyard.
Dublin has deep historical routes with world class Irish whiskey. Official records have revealed that Irish Whiskey production grew to some four million gallons in the 1820s. Of course, this did not account for the illegal Irish Whiskey that was also being distilled without permission.
At one time, close to 40 distilleries were in operation in Dublin, nestled in a one mile radius better known as the “Golden Triangle.”
St. James Way, commonly known as the Camino de Santiago, is a large network of pilgrim routes starting across several European countries, including North Africa, ending at the tomb of St. James in Santiago de Compostela in north-west Spain. The pilgrimage has always been popular amongst Irish Catholics, who traditionally would sail to France before walking to Spain.
The history of St. James Way dates back to the beginning of the 9th century with the discovery of St. James tomb at Santiago de Compostela. The Way then became defined by a network of Roman routes that carried an impressive human traffic flow, all of whom made the pilgrimage on foot.
Stained glass windows have been in production since ancient times, with evidence of these colourful windows found in Christian churches as early as the 4th and 5th centuries.
They were at their most popular during the Middle Ages when they were commissioned to illustrate narratives from the Bible.
Stained glass windows are traditionally made by either adding coloured metallic salts to glass or by painting details onto clear glass before the pieces are carefully hung as illuminating windows.
Pearse Lyons Distillery is truly history in the remaking. St. James’ Church dates back to the 12th century. The present church was constructed in 1859–1860 in a Gothic design with a cross shape, a tower and a spire at the southwest corner. In 1948, the top 30 feet of the church spire was removed due to structural problems. The church was then closed for worship following a decline in the number of parishioners in 1963. It underwent various transformations, including becoming a lighting store and a food warehouse, until finally being renovated as you see it today.
In December 2011, as the last independent Irish Whiskey distillery, Cooley Distillery, was sold to Beam Inc., Dr. Pearse Lyons organised for two small-batch copper pot stills from Kentucky to be sent to Ireland. Six years later, as Dublin’s only independent Irish Whiskey distillery, Teeling Whiskey, is partially sold to Bacardi, Pearse Lyons Distillery opened its doors.
The site is now home to our two small-batch copper pot stills following their pilgrimage to Ireland. They are an unusual pair of Kentucky small-batch copper stills...