Jones Road

The below is taken from The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom by Alfred Barnard first published in 1887.

Jones Road Distillery, Dublin.

THIS Distillery is situated on the historic river Tolka, in one of the most picturesque suburbs of Dublin, and close to the estuary of Clontarf. From any point it commands fine views of Howth, a peninsula of considerable extent, which from its height and situation has been considered not unlike Vesuvius, in the Bay of Naples; it is the most prominent feature in the scenery of the north side of the City, and contains, besides an ancient castle that has been spoiled by modern restoration and whitewash, a very interesting abbey ruin which contains many curious tombs; it was founded in 1228, and is situated close to the sea in the quaint little town of Howth. The beautiful plains of Clontarf stretch from Howth to the Distillery, and the whole country round is rich in historic memories; here, within a hundred yards of the Distillery gates was wrought out the grandest chapter in Ireland’s history, and the Danish power in Ireland crushed for ever by King Brian Boromhe, who, in the year 1014, with his powerful native princes and chieftains, fought and totally defeated the Danes on the plains of Clontarf. The Danish Commander commenced the battle early on Good Friday morning, and the venerable King Brian - he was eighty-eight years old - addressing his army, held aloft in his left hand a crucifix, and wielding his good broad-sword in his right, called upon them through the mercies of Christ who had died for them upon that holy day, to summon up their utmost strength and extirpate for ever the base confederate pirated before them. The battle lasted all through the day, and the Irish totally defeated and routed the Danes; but alas! the triumph of the conquerors was dimmed by the death of their grand old king, and also that of his son, the lion-hearted Mortogh (who performed prodigies of valour), his brave nephew, many princed and nobles, and eleven thousand of his valiant soldiers.

The river Tolka flows through the grounds of the Distillery, pursuing its course to the sea, distant but a few hundred yards; it rises high up beyond the valley of the Tolka, and its water is used for driving power only. There is a fine well on the premises one hundred feet deep, but the water used for distilling purposes is brought through a mile of pipe from the high level of the Royal Canal; no other distilling firms other than Messrs. John Jameson & Son and the Dublin Whisky Distillery Company have access to this water.

The following is a brief description of this the most modern of the Distilleries in Dublin; it was commenced on the 22nd day of July, in the year 1872, and on the 22nd day of July, 1873, the Company were mashing; thus showing what Irish enterprise is capable of doing. The Distillery buildings are a fine stately work in red brick, some sixty-five feet high; at a distance the place looks like some public building, the architect having given it that character. The chimney stack, one hundred and thirty-five feet high, is also built of red brick, handsomely designed, and of great ornamentation; it rears its proud head from the centre of the courtyard in front of the gateway, and at a distance looks like a monument built to commemorate the virtues of some dead hero. The Distillery is partly surrounded by water, and is approached by a picturesque bridge; just before passing the works the river falls over a fine weir or waterfall.

The grain is received from the factors and farmers under a verandah or covered siding, and dropped into a cylinder on the sub-ground floor, from whence it is elevated to the different lofts and kilns, and depositing where required by means of continuous screws. There are five large corn lofts, elegantly lighted and ventilated, contiguous to which are two spacious Kilns, floored with perforated iron plates. The Malt Deposit is a spacious apartment, and adjoins the Mill, which contains eight pairs of stones, and the usual grinding machinery. Shut off from the Mill, by two sets of fireproof doors, is the Grist Loft, capable of holding 4,000 quarters, and underneath is the Mash House, where are two large Mash Tuns with the usual stirring gear, capable of working together or separately; each Tun has the new covers and curtain exclosures to prevent the loss of the fine grist. In close proximity hereto the Brewer has a capital office with glazed sides, enabling him at all times to see the whole of the operations in this important department. In the Tun Room there are eight Washbacks, and the usual number of Wash Chargers. The three Spent Wash Tanks are away in the court-yard, conveniently arranged for dairymen and farmers. In the building, under the Mash Tuns, which are supported by two colossal stone piers and iron girders, there is on the left-hand side a forest of pumps, which to the uninitiated look most perplexing, but the brewer assured us that he knew every one of them as well as an organist would know his stops and pedals. At the other side of this apartment there is a huge metal Underback and a double-acting “plunger pump” - supplied by Pearn & Co. of Manchester - acknowledged to be the finest specimen of hydraulic machinery in any Distillery in Dublin, being capable of raising 1,000 gallons of water per minute.

There are two powerful engines, one of them working up to 100-horse power, and three boilers 30 feet long by 8 feet in diameter; over these boilers are placed the four brewing tanks. There is a Leffel Turbine Wheel, the only one in use in any Distillery in Ireland, fixed in the middle of the stream, with a water power equal to 50-horse power; the shafting of the large engine is attached to this wheel. The roofs of the whole pile of buildings, which are all in one block, are, with one exception, quite flat, and entirely covered with tanks of water, the size of small lakes, some of them holding 100,000 gallons; and it may here be mentioned that there is a continuous stream of water constantly running through the whole of the iron columns which support the buildings, so that in case of fire they would not collapse. The whole arrangement for extinguishing fire are very perfect, water and hose being laid on to every floor, whilst depending from the walls are fire buckets and patent apparatus.

The Still House, or Distillery proper, is upwards of 60 feet high, with a double tier of wide iron galleries like those in the Crystal Palace at Sydenham. This building contains four “Old Pot Stills” on the ground floor, and on the first gallery there is an excellent Safe and Sampling Safe, Spirit Receivers, &c. on another gallery up in the roof are the Coolers, and four of Morton’s Refrigerators, and on the outside, communicating with this gallery, there are two Worm Tubs 28 feet square and 15 feet deep. Gazing down below from the upper gallery at all the arrangements and ingenuity displayed, we were compelled to acknowledge that a master mind and skilful hand had planned this great work. Across one of the galleries, through brick arches, we perceived the intermediate Charger erected in the roof of the next department. On ascending the Stage or Observatory of this building, we had such a delightful view of the City and surrounding country as to amply repay for the toil and climb of ladders and staircase; it consisted of distant views of cornfields; river and sea almost beneath our feet; Holy Cross College with its beautiful grounds; Clonliff College, where lie the remains of the venerated Cardinal Cullen; Glasnevin Cemetery, with O’Connell’s Monument, and last, but not least, the Dublin Mountains, forming a background to the grand old City. The large Maltings connected with this Distillery are situated in Russell Place and Cork Street, and the Midland Railway is only a short distance off. There are four Warehouses, one a two-decker building, also a fine Spirit Store. The Cooperage, Stables, Cart Sheds, Smiths’ and Carpenters’ Shops, are at the back of the works, whilst there is a handsome terrace of offices

It may here be mentioned that the six Directors, whose names we give below, are business men, and have devoted themselves to the development of this business. The product made is of the highest class of Dublin make; only the best corn is used, and the distiller is a practical and experienced man. The Distillery is worked entirely by gravitation, the machinery is of the most modern style, and only “Old Pot Stills” are used.

The annual output is 560,000 gallons, but the Company could make nearly 800,000 gallons if required. The Whisky is sent to England, and is also shipped to India and the Colonies.

The Directors are Mr. George John Alexander, Mr. Mathew H. Chamberlaine, Mr. James Costello, Mr. William H. Maturin, and Mr. O. T. Allingham.

Images of Jones Road