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    A Winter Warmer – Irish Coffee

    There are few better things on a cold winter evening than relaxing by a warm open fire with a creamy Irish Coffee….

    At Foynes, County Limerick on the Wild Atlantic Way, the first transatlantic passenger flights from the United States arrived, and it was also in Foynes that Chef Joe Sheridan invented the world’s most famous drink the ‘Irish Coffee’, way back in in 1943.

    Foynes and flying boats are closely connected to Irish coffee, playing a significant role in the invention of this favorite Irish treat. Of course, as with anything in Ireland, the weather played a role, too.

    Late one night in the winter of 1943, a flight left Foynes for New York. After flying for several hours in bad weather, the captain decided to return to Foynes to wait for safer conditions. A Morse code message was sent to the Foynes control tower to inform them of the return. Staff were called back in and the passengers were brought to the restaurant upon landing for food and drink. When Chef Joe Sheridan was asked to prepare something to warm the weary passengers, he was inspired to put some good Irish whiskey in their coffee. And so was born the Irish coffee.

    Irish Coffee © O’Neill’s Pub, Dublin City

    However while you are waiting to travel to Ireland you might like to attempt to make your own Irish Coffee – Irish coffee has only four ingredients: coffee – Irish whiskey, sugar and cream.

    Just in time for the festive season, Tourism Ireland have a video demonstrating how to make the perfect Irish coffee! The step-by-step video uses a recipe straight from Foynes, where this deliciously warming drink was invented.

    The Original Irish Coffee Recipe. 

    Step One: Preheat your Irish coffee glass by filling it with boiling water for 5 seconds, then pour the water out. 

    Step Two: Add 1 teaspoon of brown sugar and a good measure of Irish whiskey into the warmed glass. 

    Step Three: Fill the glass to within 1 cm of the brim with hot, strong black coffee. Stir well to dissolve all the brown sugar. 

    Step Four: Carefully pour lightly whipped cream over the back of a spoon so that it floats on top of the coffee. 

    Step Five: Do not stir after adding the cream; optimal flavor comes from drinking the coffee and Irish whiskey through the cream. 

    Enjoy your traditional Irish coffee! Cheers or, as we say in Ireland, Sláinte meaning “health”.

    Irish Coffee at Foynes Flying Boat Museum ©

    Chef Joe Sheridan. 

    Joe Sheridan was born in 1909 in Castlederg, County Tyrone in Northern Ireland. One of six sons, his family moved to Dublin after the death of his father, where he worked in a restaurant. In 1943, he applied for the job of chef at the airport in Foynes. Joe Sheridan’s rather concise application came in to Brendan O’Regan, simply stating, “Dear Sir, I’m the man for the job. Yours sincerely, Joe Sheridan.” Brendan O’Regan later said that it was the impudence of Sheridan’s application that made him decide to arrange an interview. He hired Sheridan following their meeting. While working at Foynes airport, Joe Sheridan invented his new beverage that quickly caught on and is well-known still today: Irish coffee.

    When Foynes airport closed in October 1945, Chef Sheridan and the rest of the catering staff moved across the Shannon Estuary to the new airport at Rineanna (now Shannon International Airport). There he continued to serve his renowned Irish Coffee. A famous journalist named Stan Delaplane transited Rineanna in 1951 and was served an authentic Irish coffee. By then, it had become the traditional welcoming drink at the airport. When he returned to San Francisco, he told his friend, Buena Vista owner Jack Koeppler, about the Irish Coffee. The Buena Vista staff tried reproducing it, but it never came out quite right as they had a problem with the cream. Jack Koeppler offered Joe Sheridan a position at Buena Vista in 1952 and he decided to accept the job and emigrate to America. Joe Sheridan died ten years later in 1962. He’s buried in Oakland Cemetery just outside San Francisco.

    Joe Sheridan & his Irish Coffee © Foynes Flying Boat Museum

    Foynes Flying Boat Museum

    On a tour of Ireland discover the Foynes Flying Boat Museum at the original terminal building in Foynes, County Limerick. As the celebrated “home of Irish Coffee,” Foynes is a quaint scenic harbour village that is a recommended Wild Atlantic Way discovery point. The Foynes Flying Boat Museum is conveniently located just 35 minutes from Limerick City and 20 minutes from Adare town. It recalls the nostalgic era of 1939 to 1945, when Foynes was the centre of the aviation world. Follow in the footsteps of Maureen O’Hara, John F. Kennedy, Bob Hope, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the dignitaries, movie stars and refugees who landed here during World War II. See how this unique story is told by an original film in a 1940s style cinema. Check out the World War II exhibits and take the chance to board a life-size replica of the Boeing 314 Flying Boat.

    Foynes Flying Boat Museum, County Limerick ©Failte Ireland

    The Irish Spirit. 

    Take a journey with Specialized Travel Services in 2021 and discover our native spirit, beautiful landscapes, buzzing cities and our warm welcome. We love hearing from our friends around the world who share a passion for Ireland like our team here at Specialized Travel Services and we’re more than happy to answer your travel to Ireland queries. Just drop us a line at

    There is a special treasure trove in Ireland waiting to be explored and to find out more please don’t hesitate to get in touch 

    You could also check out our private chauffeur vacations for even more ideas on what to visit in Ireland. Soak up the hidden gems of the Emerald Isle with our knowledgeable driver guides.

    Our “Gift of Ireland” gift certificates allow you to choose a customized vacation that is both personal and wonderful. There is flexibility to use our gift certificates for any of our travel services, including self-drive tours, escorted tours, private group tours and tailor made vacations. You can use the “Gift of Ireland” towards hotel accommodation, airport transfers, visitor attractions, a round of golf, afternoon tea, a medieval castle banquet or a romantic evening meal….. The list is endless. Plus they are valid for 5 years from date of purchase.

    The “Gift of Ireland” really is the special gift that keeps on giving!


    Irish Coffee for Two ©



    Note: Featured image at the top of the blog is of an Irish Coffee ©

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      Irish Coffee, Slane, Co. Meath © Slane Distillery
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      Irish Coffee at Foynes, Co. Limerick ©Failte Ireland
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      Irish Coffee at Foynes ©Failte Ireland


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