Fine Irish whiskey was first produced on the site at Kilbeggan Distillery in 1757, making it one of the world’s oldest licensed distilleries.
Matthew McManus founded the operation, and his family oversaw operations until the business was acquired by John Locke in 1843. Lockes Distillery ran successfully for many years before global conditions including prohibition, trade wars, and competition, coupled with an aging infrastructure eventually made operations unsustainable, forcing the distillery to close in 1958 after 201 years of trade.
The distillery reopened in 1987 under the management of a locally established group and today Kilbeggan, Locke’s Blend, and Locke’s Malt whiskies are now produced at the site. Original distillery features, including a water wheel and a steam engine, have been fully restored and a museum and popular restaurant can also be enjoyed.
Oh, and yes – the Kilbeggan Distillery is also haunted.
A mysterious figure in a black robe has been spotted in the courtyard. It is possible that this spirit may be related to a Cistercian abbey that once stood nearby and which was dissolved in 1539. Loud noises and the sound of footsteps have been heard emanating from empty lofts, and the sound of whispering is also common when the building is quiet.
Matthew McManus is said to roam the buildings, obviously keeping an eye on things and making sure all is well. His son John has also been spotted at the site. A medium who visited the distillery claimed that John could not rest having been executed by the British in 1798.
Another medium, the late Derek Acorah, was said to have been “engulfed” by spirits during his visit and he claimed to have connected with the spirit of Flo (Florence) Eccles (her maiden name was Locke) – the last in a 120-year line of Lockes to manage production at the site before its closure.
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