The Glen

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

The Glen Distillery, Kilnap, Cork.

A drive of about two miles from the “Beautiful City” brought us to Kilnap Bridge, at which point there is also a magnificent and graceful viaduct, containing seven arches of immense span, over which the trains pass between Cork and Dublin; both span the valley and river of Glen. From the bridge we had an excellent view of the Distillery, which, although nearly a quarter-of-a-mile higher up and embosomed in the steep green depths of the wooded valley, seemed placed almost at our feet. This old-fashioned structure was used as a mill for nearly a century, but some few years since was converted into a Distillery, and we were surprised to find so quaint a building - its walls mostly covered with ivy and ferns - containing the very latest inventions of modern distilling.

This old-world structure is placed almost at the head of the valley, on the banks of the river Glen, and within fifty yards of the waterfall, where the river comes tumbling over the high rocks, some small portion of its volume having been previously imprisoned and conveyed through an aqueduct, which supplies a water-wheel of huge dimensions, capable of driving all the shafting, pumps, elevators, gearing, &c.

Half a century since this glen was a favourite holiday resort of the Cork citizens, and there are relics which testify to the fact that there was rollicking and merrymaking here in those days. The Distillery and buildings cover about six acres, and are approached by a short drive off the main road. The corn buildings of three floors are on a level with the road, and from this point we descended the hill to the Distillery proper. All the work is done by gravitation and water-power, of which there is always an abundant supply, indeed there is no steam engine on the premises.

The Corn Lofts above referred to contained about 7,000 barrels, and communicate direct with the Kiln, a building 36 feet square. The Mill, which commands the Dried Corn Loft, contains four pairs of stones, and adjoins the Grist Loft, which is over the Mash Tun.

The fine Boiler, 26 feet long and 8 feet in diameter, is protected by Dunne’s patent lagging, which consists of woven hair, feathers, and other non-conducting material, enclosed within thin iron sheets, laid on in segments over the surface of the boiler, which has the advantage that every portion of it can be taken off at will; by this arrangement no heat is lost. The three Brewing Tanks, which supply the hot liquor for the Mash Tun, &c., are of the latest type, having steam distributors, or turbines, which consist of steam pipes, with wheel valves, and large copper globes, which inject the high pressure steam into the liquor at certain angles, thereby avoiding all vibration and noise.

The Mash Tun measures 17 feet in diameter and 8 feet in depth. It has double-action carriage rakes for stirring, and strainer plates. The two Underbacks are situated below the Mash Tun. There are two handsome sets of three-throw pumps, which send the liquor up to the Worts and Water Coolers and Refrigerators, situated on the top of the building, and also through cooling pipes laid in the bed of the river.

The six Washbacks hold 40,000 gallons each, and the Wash Charger 5,000 gallons. Near the Mash Tun there is a neat glazed office for the use of the distiller.

The Still House contains two “Old Pot” Stills, of the most modern make, containing 3,000 and 3,500 gallons, respectively, with internal steam coils. These Stills work into two large worm tubs, which are placed some distance above them.

In the Can-pit Room there are two neat copper safes, of ingenious construction; also five receivers, for the unfinished and finished spirit

The Spirit Store contains two vats, each holding 600 gallons. There are at present three Bonded Warehouses, capable of storing 2,000 casks, and there is another large one in course of erection 200 feet long, which will hold about 8,000 puncheons of Whisky.

The Grains House and Spent Wash Tank are in the yard, and there are good Stables and Cart Houses. There are three houses on the premises which are used as dwellings and Excise office, and the company have just built a handsome villa, on the hill above the Distillery, for Mr. T. Creagh, the manager and distiller.

The water used for brewing and distilling purposes is of the best quality. Twenty workmen are employed. The Whisky made is pure Malt, and of a high-class quality, and the annual output about 60,000 gallons.

The City office of the Distillery is at No. 1, Carrol’s Quay, Cork.