Sliabh Liag Distillers filled their first cask

The privately owned Irish distillery brings whiskey distilling back to Donegal


Whiskey is now also distilled in the far north of the Republic of Ireland: The Sliabh Liag Distillers (SLD), based in Carrick in County Donegal, not far from the mighty cliffs Sliabh Liag (Slieve League), have filled their first cask.

It is the first legal whiskey distillery in Donegal since 1841, we learn from the press release of the privately owned company. James Doherty, who founded and runs SLD together with his wife Moira, explains: “While Burt Distillery ceased production in 1841, we know illegal distilling continued during the intermittent years, not least by my grandfather who was creating a smoky, double distilled spirit under the authorities’ radar on the hills ‘up the glen’ in Kilcar. I think my grandfather would approve that we are now distilling the first legal whiskey in Donegal for nearly 200 years, and there’s a lovely sense of coming full circle.”

Irish barley is used for the production of the smoky whiskey. It grows in Meath and is malted over peat from Meenavaghran (Mhín na bhFachrán), not far from Carrick. Distillation is done twice in the pot still, which is called “Méabh”, Maeve. The first cask filled by Sliabh Liag Distillers  was a first fill ex-bourbon barrel.

The small distillery in Carrick is planned to be joined by a larger one in Ardara, 15 miles away. The Dohertys want to combine latest distilling technology with traditional Donegal distilling know-how. To be able to build the new distillery, Sliabh Liag Distillers will start a crowdfunding campaign on August 26th. The aim is to collect 1.5 million euros on the platform

Image: Sliabh Liag Distillers