Today often seen as second to Scotch Whisky in the British Isles, the 19th century saw Ireland as the leading whisky-producing country. In fact, the Irish are often credited with bringing distillation to Britain, though many wouldn't know it as the Scottish quickly swooped in and took the reign. At one point Irish Whiskey seemed on the brink of extinction, with only one company and two distilleries remaining, but the past thirty or so years have seen a resurgence in investment and popularity of Irish Whiskey with new producers and new distilleries in the mix.
Ireland's unique flair is its single pot still Whiskey, which was introduced by John Jameson of the famous Irish Whiskey brand. This traditionally includes both malted and unmalted barley, the latter of which contributes a characteristic spicy note fans of Irish Whiskey associate with brands like Jameson, Redbreast and Bushmills. That being said, there are many wonderful single malts made, and many producers are experimenting with column distillation or a combination of pot and column distilled Whiskeys (and the occasional peated style, too!).