Irish goddess of the River Boyne
Any journey to our artisan distillery, located by the River Boyne, alongside the kingfishers and the herons, instills in the soul a sense of mysticism. Legend has it that the Irish goddess Boann created this river.
Boann is the Irish goddess of the River Boyne, a river in the province of Leinster, Ireland. According to legend she was also the wife of Nechtan, then leader of the Tuatha dé Danann.
Nechtan was a very powerful figure who ruled over vast amounts of land and in particular he ruled over the ancient Well of Segais. Nine sacred hazels of wisdom surround this well, all blooming and fruiting in the same hour. It is told that anybody who feasted on the hazelnuts that fell into the well, or drank its crystal clear waters, would be granted knowledge and a poetic tongue.
One day Boann went walking with her Irish wolfhound, Dabilla and though forbidden to by her husband, she approached the ancient well where she challenged its power by walking around it widdershins, causing the waters to surge up violently and rush down to the sea, thus creating the River Boyne.
In this catastrophe, she was swept along in the rushing waters and lost an arm, leg and eye and ultimately her life, in the flood.
The River Boyne has been known since ancient times and despite its short course, it has huge historical, archaeological and mythical importance, all of which are deeply engrained in Irish culture.
SHE CIRCLES THE WELL TWO TIMES IN VAIN, THEN CIRCLES A THIRD TO TEMPT THE SAME. FIVE STREAMS RISE HIGH IN HALLOWED FRIGHT, THE BEAUTY OF WISDOM NOW DIMS HER GOLD LIGHT.
Boann and the Well of Segais
From the goddess of the River Boyne, we take our name. From the goodness of the Boyne Valley, we take our pure ingredients.
Drogheda has more than just a passing connection with the history of Irish whiskey. One of the first written records of whiskey production in Ireland appears in the Act of Parliament in Drogheda in 1556. The act made it illegal for anybody, with the exception of peers, gentlemen and the freemen of the larger towns of Ireland to make Aqua Vitae without a licence to the Lord Deputy. In 1774, Drogheda hosted no less than eighteen distilleries which slowly declined to just one in 1822. This last distillery was owned by John Woolsey and had one of the greatest outputs of whiskey spirit in Ireland. It closed sometime in the 1850s and in 1886 the Preston brothers arrived to Gormanston and bought the now empty distillery buildings and established a whiskey bonding business. They bonded Bow street spirit for almost a century. It was eventually taken over by the Cairnes family of Cairnes Brewery Drogheda, a fitting move as one of the Cairnes sisters had married John Jameson of Dublin whiskey fame. They were eventually absorbed into Grants of Ireland in 1964 and the business finally closed in 1968 when the last barrels of Prestons whiskey were removed from bond and moved to Dublin to be lost forever.
Aeneas Coffey, made famous from his invention of the Coffey still, began work as sub-commissioner of Inland Excises and Taxes for Drogheda in 1812. Shortly after he was promoted to Inspector General of Excise for the whole of Ireland. In 1824 he resigned and entered a patent for a new type of still which allowed quicker and cheaper distillation of spirit. This invention was rejected by the Irish but the Scots began to use the Coffey still to distill grain in large quantities and blended with single malt to create Scotch as we know it today. The demise of Irish Whiskey was nigh. Civil war, Prohibition in the US and a trade dispute with the UK saw Irish distilling in sharp decline. By the turn of this century, there were three distilleries in Ireland and no distilleries left in Drogheda. However a revival, a renaissance has begun. With Irish whiskey consistently outperforming its competition and the fastest growing spirit in the world, up to thirty Irish distilleries are now planned to meet this global demand. When the first spirit flowed from the Boann pot stills, it heralded the return of distilling to Drogheda in over 160 years.