Ancient Skellig Michael steps inspire Irish distillery

A newly opened craft gin and whiskey distillery on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way is inspired by the island of Skellig Michael, the UNESCO World Heritage Site that lies off the coast of County Kerry.

Situated directly on Kerry’s wild Atlantic coastline in the town of Cahersiveen, the Skellig Six18 Distillery takes its name from the number of steps needed to reach the summit of the legendary island. The six hundred & 18 steep stone steps on Skellig Michael were carved into its rockface in the 6th century by monks as a route to their monastery, that was built at the edge of the world.

Skellig Six18 Distillery came to be after a group of people with deep connections to Cahersiveen. Inspired by the grit, resilience and muinín (the Irish word for a mindset of calm assured confidence) of both the monks of Skellig Michael and the people of South Kerry, they decided to return home and pursue a vision of opening a distillery and establishing a global brand.

Skellig Six18 Gin is an artisan, premium, handcrafted gin, distilled in small batches at the distillery in Cahersiveen, County Kerry. The Skellig Coast has a landscape rich with natural ingredients from the woodland to the Atlantic seashore. Crafted in collaboration with sea foragers, land foragers, chefs and fishermen a range of local botanical ingredients were selected for the gin.

With a total of ten botanicals, the defining aromatics of the Skellig Six18 Gin include local botanicals Yarrow, Douglas Fir needles and Birch Sap, which deliver a herbaceous gin with citrus and grapefruit notes. The complex liquid, rich in flavour and depth, pairs beautifully with a variety of foods.

Guided tours of the Skellig Six18 Distillery reveal the process behind the special recipe, rooted in the surrounding landscape. During a tour, there is a chance to enjoy a gin and whiskey tasting experience and take a moment to savour the taste of the Skellig Coast, characterised by its stunning mountain to sea landscapes and views.

Visitors to the distillery learn all about Irish whiskey production traditions and get to hear the distillery’s ambitious plans for the forthcoming Skellig Six18 Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey. While they  wait for their own new whiskey to mature (minimum three years in a cask), they have sourced very rare and old Irish whiskey which is continuing to mature on-site and finished in casks from prestigious European vineyards. 2021 will see the launch of a premium whiskey experience at the distillery.

There is also the opportunity to buy spirits and associated merchandise from the on-site shop, together with other premium Irish goods, crafts, gifts and art. Skellig Six18 Gin can also be ordered on the online shop.

Skellig Six18 Distillery’s unique position on the Ring of Kerry, one of the most scenically beautiful drives in Europe, means there are many attractive routes to take travellers directly to the doors as soon as overseas trips are fully back on the agenda.

The home of Skellig Six18 is also located within the Kerry International Dark-Sky Reserve, the only Gold Tier Dark Sky Reserve in the Northern Hemisphere and one of only three in the world.