By Ilona Kauremszky

ireland beer tourismAll Images: Ilona Kauremszky

Delicious. Here’s some Canadian bacon on a bun served with O’Hara’s Irish Stout, which  now available on draft in Canada. The stout debuted at Toronto’s Festival of Beer at the Irish Pavilion.

Ireland’s known for a lot of things--and one of the biggest is its awesome beer scene.

So in true Irish fashion during Toronto’s huge Festival of Beer, the Tourism Ireland office hosted a fun outdoor get together at the Irish Pavilion this week, inviting guests to sample a collection of fine craft beers and delectable Irish snacks.

I’m here to attest: thumbs up on both fronts!

ireland beer tourism

Dana Welch, manager in Canada with Tourism Ireland, Seamus O’Hara from O’Hara’s, Jerry O’Sullivan from Dingle Brewing, Sarah Cashen with Crean’s Irish Lager, Stephen Clinch with Trouble Brewing, and Jonathan Sargeant, trade promotions and e-marketing executive with Tourism Ireland.

Ireland’s craft brew scene has upped the ante recently, with many clever brew masters creating intricate flavours--and many masters are basing their operations in the country's most breathtaking spots.

ireland beer tourism

Now here’s a heavenly pint of Crean’s Irish Lager. Sláinte!

Take Dingle in County Kerry. Located on the southern tip of the Great Atlantic Way, “It’s the prettiest place in the world,” according to a charming Jerry O’Sullivan, director at the Dingle Brewing Company, which produces Crean's Irish Lager in Dingle. Crean’s Irish Lager is named after the celebrated Irish hero, Tom Crean, an Antarctic explorer who came from ‘out the road in Annascaul’.

Then there’s O’Hara’s. This local craft beer company located in Ireland’s hop and malt haven tapped into the market in 1996. “We’re fairly new but still one of the longer established (craft) breweries,” said Seamus O’Hara in an exclusive interview with CT. The brewery in Bagenalstown (about an hour south from Dublin in County Carlow) is an ode to the town’s old water powered brewery.

“It closed in the 1800s and there was no brewing going on for that length of time even though the area produces malt for the brewing industry. Our brewery is the connection back to that.” Agents can pre-book O’Hara’s brewery tours for clients.

ireland beer tourism

Cuan Greene and Harry Colley from Dublin Pop Up with Tourism Ireland’s Alison Metcalfe, executive vice-president for the United States and Canada, Dana Welch, manager in Canada, and Jonathan Sargeant, trade promotions and e-marketing executive.

Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s executive vice-president for the United States and Canada, told CT about the close proximity between Canada and Ireland: “We’re only about six hours from Toronto,” she said, clarifying that the destination offers a fabulous short or long holiday with many opportunities in the booming culinary and craft beer scene.

“Over the last couple of years we have seen a number of craft breweries and start ups,” she told CT, adding that this craft beer scene has been elevated by the inclusion of local food producers.

ireland beer tourism

Famous oysters from Galway.

“The breweries are working with local ingredients and recreating ancient recipes. Beer is something that has very much been associated with Guinness, but you’re beginning to see a new culture of boutique craft breweries. It talks to food. It talks to music and you see it popping up in festivals.”

ireland beer

Tourism Ireland’s Alison Metcalfe, executive vice-president for the United States and Canada with Mary Heron, regional sales manager in Canada for Aer Lingus.

Aer Lingus, Ireland’s national airline has year-round service from Canada.

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