My Travel Blog

Our Foray Into Falconry… and Irish Whiskey

Sheen Falls Lodge had even more excitement to offer after our amazing introduction to falconry.  Lisa has competed for years with her .22 caliber rifle shooting targets, and she’s a pretty darn good shot.  Today we tried our hand at skeet shooting.  Lisa went first and was disappointed in her performance.  I was given the 12-gage shotgun, and managed to hit about half the clay birds.  That’s all it took for Lisa.  On her second round she started to hit the skeet on a regular basis.  After a couple more rounds it was time to take a break.  We were handed a drink that was mostly of all things, Irish whiskey mixed in with a little milk, sugar and coffee.  It must have really hit the spot for on our last round both Lisa and I hit doubles.  That’s when they shoot one skeet right after the other and you hit both clay pigeons.

Lisa shooting skeet.

Here I am shooting skeet or was it a tree?

Lisa and I enjoying a little Irish whiskey mixed in with some coffee and milk.

Lisa and I enjoyed high tea until she checked the calories. I think it was close to a billion.

Sheen Falls was wonderful, but it was time to head to the city of Cork.  When you’re in Cork there are two things you have to do.  The first is go to the Princes Street Market.  It’s huge and the selection and quality of merchandise is exceptional.  I was especially impressed with the fruit and meat that was being sold.

Fresh fish at the market.

There were plenty of goodies to buy.

After the market we went to the other famous Cork attraction the Jameson Whiskey factory.  The tour takes you through the inner workings of the old factory. Some of their handmade whiskeys are still made there.   The new modern factory is next door, which makes for an interesting contrast.

The waterwheel that powered the old factory was installed in 1852 and has been turning ever since.  While it no longer runs the factory, water still turns the 22 ft. diameter wheel.  Just watching the ancient gears mesh was mesmerizing.


The old waterwheel is still turning.

“These gears have been turning for over 160 years.”

The new Jameson factory next door.

The huge copper stills were also impressive and beautiful.  They are called pot stills, and one of them is the largest in the world.  It can hold 31,000 gallons. After fermenting the wash was fed into the still where it was heated, and the distillation process was started.  The still burned four tons of coal every 24 hours.  I know how expensive copper pots and wire is; I can’t imagine what it would cost to reproduce one of the huge pot stills.

One of the old pot stills.

These three stills were just installed in the old factory. They will be used for special blends.

The Jameson factory once had its own cooperage where they made the wooden barrels to age their whiskey in.

The old Jameson factory when it was out in the countryside. The city of Cork has grown, and now the factory is in the middle of an industrial area.

I have never been a big scotch or whiskey fan.  At the end of our tour Lisa and I were selected to do a whiskey tasting.  We were each given a shot of Jack Daniels, a single malt scotch, and a shot of Jameson.  There was a noticeable difference.  We were told the big difference was in the way they stopped the germination of the barley.  Irish whiskey uses an open kiln at lower temperatures than the closed kilns used by the others.The other difference is in the number of times the whiskey is distilled.  Both Lisa and I thought the Jameson was the smoothest of the three, which was also distilled three times.

– Tom Miller
Author of “The Wave”  and “When Stones Speak”– 
Chuck Palmer Adventure novels


About the Author:

Tom Miller graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Geology. He is a consummate adventurer with over 1,000 dives as a recreational scuba diver, and an avid sailor who has traveled 65,000 miles throughout the Pacific including the Hawaiian Islands. Miller has also cruised the canals of Europe on his canal barge and given numerous lectures on cruising the canals of Europe, as well as sailing in the South Pacific. Piloting is also an interest of Miller's, and He has completed over 1,000 hours flying everything from small Cessnas to Lear jets.