Cape Clear Island Distillery

Our Story

OUR ISLAND ¦ AN t-OILEÁN

The Perfect Location for Ireland’s Only Island Distillery

Our island is one of doers; we don’t just dream of ideas, but work hard to realize our goals. It’s Ireland’s southernmost inhabited island and is proudly Gaeltacht (designated Irish speaking). It’s also an island that, like all Irish offshore islands, has experienced population decline over the years due to a lack of employment opportunities. Cape Clear Island has 130 full-time residents and our school has seven students. Several years ago, some islanders got together to discuss the idea of building a distillery. One that would provide employment to islanders, that could one day provide opportunity to the children in the island’s school, and most importantly, that would one day produce some of the finest Irish spirits available. We received planning permission for this state-of-the-art facility in 2016 and have been working toward that goal since.
Like many whiskey distilleries, the path toward producing whiskey involves starting with gin. Only we wanted a gin that could, and would continue to stand on its own. We wanted a gin that reflected our unique island’s character, and one that could be considered among the best in the world. After nearly a year of development, with involvement from the islanders and consultants from the mainland, we finalized a recipe that did just that. We began bottling 3 SQ. MILES in November of 2019.
Now, the distillery site is a beehive of activity. With demand increasing for our gin, we’re distilling away, and happily adding employees. While most activity is handled by local islanders, the head distiller commutes via the ferry from the nearby village of Baltimore. The distillery enjoys complete community support, with many islanders holding some equity in the company, and always available to lend a hand when things get busy. We’re proud of the product we’ve produced and look forward to its continued success.
“Now, people living on Cape Clear Island, eight miles off the rugged southern coast of County Cork, have decided to make gin offshore in an attempt to branch out from the farming and tourism that dominate.”
– The Financial Times, December 2019

Meet the Team

Séamus Ó Drisceoil

Founder and manager, Séamus O Drisceoil has had a professional business background before promoting and managing a range of enterprises on Cape Clear Island and elsewhere. He is also the manager of award-winning Cape Clear Ferry Service, connecting the island to Baltimore and Schull, while also doing trips to the Fastnet Rock. Séamus is focused on our step-by-step strategy to building a sustainable and successful distillery on Cape Clear.

Máirtín Ó Méalóid

Máirtín is the chairman of the island’s co-op, and serves on the board of the distillery. He and his wife are key components of the new product development committee.

Christopher Mason

Not exactly a West Cork native, Christopher Mason has lived on the mainland, near the village of Schull, since 2016. Before that, he lived in Los Angeles for many years. With a digital marketing background, he has been a big driver of getting the website up to the standard it is. Also a candidate for a degree in Brewing and Distilling Operations from the Cork Institute of Technology, Mr. Mason is our Head Distiller and Operations Manager.

we are now distilling!

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