I’m from a place called Garrison in Co Fermanagh. It’s on the border with Donegal and Leitrim. I would have grown up on a farm here, but only a very small farm. I bought this other farm then about 10 years ago.

Here we have sheep, sucklers and a couple of Kunekune pigs. Kunekune is a rare breed, they’re from New Zealand and they’re quite a small little pig.

We used to have Tamworths, but we couldn’t keep them in. They were devils for getting out. I got these Kunekunes last year and they’re a lot tamer. They’re doing quite well and are actually with the boar at the minute, so we’re expecting another batch of piglets in a couple of weeks’ time.

Conal Treacy of Scotts Irish Whiskey.


I bought this farm here, Scotts farm, after the crash. It was zoned for 80 houses. There was no demand in a small rural village like ours for 80 houses at the time, although things are picking up now a bit.

It’s a very beautiful site. You have a waterfall at the back of it. The front looks over Leitrim’s mountains and Lough Melvin.

We got this idea then, with Irish whiskey being on the ascendency, of opening a distillery on the farm. I decided to do a bit of research. I went down to west Cork and met with West Cork Distillers, who are lovely people.

I flew over to Scotland to meet a company, Forsyths. They’d be one of the biggest manufacturers of whiskey stills in the world. They talked me through the whole process. That’s when all the trouble started!

We’ve the building for the distillery up and we’re launching now on 25 November.

The distillery is smack bang in the middle of the farm. It’s all fenced off, the sheep are grazing there beside it and the pigs are over there on the other side of it.

It all feeds in together, because the residues we can feed to the pigs, so we’ll have a complete cycle. It’ll fit into the whole farming operation.

It’s going to be what’s called a destination distillery. We’re going to be manufacturing whiskey here. Then we’re also going to have a visitor centre and we’re building a cookery school.

We’ll be making our own whiskey here, but in the interim period our master distiller, John Donnelly, has created a special blend of whiskey which will be launched on 25 November as well.

It’s called Scotts Irish Whiskey. We have Irish malting barley, then we’ve a bit of peated from Scotland, rye and corn.

For our whiskey we’ll mature it here. We’re just putting the stills in now at the minute. It’s going to be four years before it’s available. It has to mature for three years and a minute to be called Irish whiskey, and it’ll mature in sherry oak casks.

Home and away

Myself, I always enjoyed farming. I find it therapeutic. I was in business as well though. I went to university in Manchester, England. Then I was in London for 20 years. I worked there in buying for a big builder’s merchant chain. I was in charge of all the timber buying for them, so I used to fly all over the world buying timber.

The distillery, it’ll be a great tourist attraction here in Fermanagh. I know myself when I was a kid and my parents brought me to France, we went to Cognac. We went around the vineyards and then into where they were making the cognac. So you will get tourists and there are whiskey aficionados who will spot out these distilleries and visit them. Scotland has a massive industry in this.

The Irish Whiskey Association and Tourism Ireland are doing a lot of work to build whiskey tourism. One of the things they’re going to do is an ‘Irish Whiskey Trail’. So basically you get a map and all the distilleries will be on it. People can visit them then at their leisure.

The other great thing we have in our favour here is that we’re just on the Wild Atlantic Way. Well, it’s 10 miles down the road to the Atlantic. The lake here actually runs into the Atlantic. We’ll pick up a lot of visitors from that as well.

Garrison is a small town. Actually in the 50s, it was quite a buoyant tourism hub, with the fishing on the lake people used to come from all over the world. In fact, Lough Melvin was Charlie Chaplin’s favourite fishing destination. Then with the Troubles and that all, that dried up, but it’s great to be bringing it back again.

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