Belfast Telegraph

Belfast duo behind New York Dead Rabbit bar compile whiskey guide to Ireland

Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry of The Dead Rabbit in New York
Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry of The Dead Rabbit in New York
Claire McNeilly

By Claire McNeilly

The Belfast men who co-founded a famous New York bar have written a guide to the best pubs and distilleries in Ireland.

Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry opened The Dead Rabbit in 2012 and have been collecting awards for it ever since.

And while every aspect of the popular hostelry, which has been named the world's best bar twice, is inspired by Ireland's pubs, the idea behind the guide was to allow everyone to enjoy their favourite watering holes.

Sean said they decided to write From Barley To Blarney: A Whiskey's Lover's Guide To Ireland because they are always being quizzed about their best-loved spots.

"We are constantly asked for our recommendations of where to go in Ireland, what to see and what to do," he told Metro US.

"The book sums up our collective wisdom and was truly a labour of love."

They visited Ireland on research trips for the guide twice last year and clocked up 4,000 miles on a road trip that took them through 29 counties, visiting 111 pubs and every whiskey distillery.

They said Irish whiskey expert Tim Herlihy helped them pick 50 essential pubs and 22 distilleries to best explain Ireland's whiskey-making history.

Among the standout pubs are one founded in 900 AD, possibly the oldest tavern in the world; a pub in a hardware store; one that was once a mortuary, and a pub that claimed President John F Kennedy as a fan.

Jack, who also created 12 original Irish whiskey cocktails for the guide, said it lets readers "see what Ireland is all about in terms of the pub and the hospitality of the people behind the pub".

"There are some amazing characters in there, and if you go there I think you'll understand (The Dead Rabbit) a whole lot better also," he added.

Tim said the number of distilleries has grown from seven in 2014 to 23 today.

Sean, who's been in America for over eight years, added: "Ireland is experiencing explosive growth in both distilleries and whiskey, and we wanted to capture this unique and historic revival."

In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph, the north Belfast man previously revealed how he and best mate Jack ended up in the Big Apple in the first place.

It started in 2011 when he was The Merchant Hotel's bar manager and Jack was a bartender, at a time when the bar had a reputation of its own as one of the city's finest.

Sean recalled how a prominent American businessman stopped in one day and made him an offer he couldn't refuse - "take what you've achieved in Belfast and I'll set you up in New York".

He obviously didn't need to be asked twice.

"New York is a city of opportunity; it's where dreams become reality," he said.

Belfast Telegraph


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