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Ireland's first Irish-made whiskey casks in over 60 years coopered and made in Dair Nua Cooperage, Foxford, Co. Mayo

Posted on: 25 Mar 2024

The team at Dair Nua Cooperage are thrilled to announce that on the 14th March 20204, the first Irish-made casks in over 60 years in Ireland have been coopered and made at its cooperage in Foxford, Co. Mayo. The team of coopers and management, are delighted to re-introduce barrel making skills back to Ireland after all these decades.

According to Diageo/ Guinness Ireland archives, the last cask made there was filled and dispatched from St. James's Gate on 15th March 1963, after almost 200 years of wooden cask use. Fifth generation cooper and Master Cooper, Ger Buckley of Midleton Distillery Irish Distillers participated in the event as a guest also and mentioned that his cooper father would have built the last casks at Midleton Distillery around the same decade. Other invited guests included apprentice coopers from Tullamore DEW.  

Given the lack of Irish oak wood stock in Ireland dried and suitable for cask making, quality FSC accredited new Romanian virgin oak (Quercus Petraea/Quercus Robur) air dried for 18-24 months, was sourced by the cooperage where it was then constructed into casks using ancient skills and tools along with some new equipment specially commissioned for the cooperage locally in Foxford. The staves were gently bent to the rounded familiar barrel shape using flames and shaped into place by the coopers. Following the process of fixing new hoops and the making of the heads, the casks were toasted to finish the whole process.
32  200L casks are to be made and they will become rather special collectors’ pieces to age some special Irish whiskeys.
Dair Nua Cooperage wishes to thank its cooperage team as well as the supporting team in Bordeaux, France, for making this happen. And a big warm thank you to Kevin Staunton - engineer extraordinaire, our valued customers who have supported us over the last few years and especially to the Tullamore DEW Distillery coopering team and to Ger Buckley and the super cask and maturation team at Irish Distillers in Cork. Sláinte!


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