Boatyard Distillery: Ireland’s Great #1 Sustainable Distillery

Updated On: July 21, 2023

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Boatyard Distillery, nestled in the idyllic town of Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, stands as a testament to the harmonious blend of craftsmanship, sustainability, and innovation in the world of spirits.

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Boatyard Distillery blends tradition and innovation.

From its picturesque location on the shores of Lough Erne, the distillery not only produces high-quality spirits like Boatyard Double Gin and Boatyard Vodka but also champions a commitment to environmental responsibility.

To prove that Boatyard Distillery is an amazing attraction in County Fermanagh, we’ve explored its history, sustainable practices, unique products, and inviting visitor experience. Through their determination, Boatyard Distillery has earned a place as a true gem in the heart of Enniskillen’s captivating countryside.

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Boatyard Distillery is known for their gin.

History of Distilleries in Ireland

The history of distilleries in Ireland is deeply rooted in the country’s rich and ancient traditions. The origins of Irish whiskey can be traced back to the early Christian period when Irish monks are believed to have learned the art of distillation during their travels through the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

They brought back the knowledge of distillation and began producing uisce beatha, which evolved into what we now know as Irish whiskey.

During the late Middle Ages, Irish whiskey had gained popularity, and distillation was practised in various regions of the country. The 18th century marked a significant turning point for the Irish whiskey industry, witnessing its growth and reputation as a smooth and distinct spirit.

The triple distillation process used in Ireland set their whiskey apart from the double-distilled Scotch whisky, leading to its unique character and flavour profile.

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Enniskillen is a scenic town.

The 19th century marked the peak of Irish whiskey’s prominence, with the country becoming the leading producer of whiskey in the world. It was exported in large quantities to various international markets, cementing its status as a premium spirit.

However, the industry faced challenges during this period, including the Irish Potato Famine and economic hardships, which led to the closure of many distilleries.

The 20th century brought further setbacks to the Irish whiskey industry. Prohibition in the United States, the Irish War of Independence, and the Irish Civil War resulted in a decline in production and distribution, leading to the closure of several distilleries. By the mid-20th century, the Irish whiskey industry was struggling to survive.

However, in the late 20th century, the Irish whiskey industry experienced a remarkable resurgence. New distilleries emerged, and existing ones were revitalised, catering to the growing global demand for premium and craft spirits.

The introduction of the Irish Whiskey Act in 1980 helped protect the authenticity and quality of Irish whiskey, setting production standards and geographical indications for the spirit.

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Boatyard Distillery was the first legal distillery to open in Fermanagh since 1980.

Today, Irish whiskey has firmly established itself as a symbol of Irish heritage and craftsmanship. The industry continues to thrive with a diverse range of offerings, including single malt, single pot still, blended, and grain whiskeys.

Irish distilleries are celebrated for their innovative cask finishes, ageing techniques, and commitment to preserving the traditional methods that have made Irish whiskey a beloved and sought-after spirit worldwide. With its long and storied history, the legacy of distilleries in Ireland lives on as they continue to produce some of the finest whiskeys enjoyed by enthusiasts around the globe.

Where is Boatyard Distillery Located?

Located on the scenic shores of Lough Erne, Boatyard Distillery draws inspiration from its beautiful surroundings. The distillery’s name itself pays homage to the area’s maritime history and the legacy of boat building on the lough. This sense of heritage and connection to the land is evident in the spirits they produce.

Enniskillen is situated almost exactly in the centre of the county and is the county town of Fermanagh. The charm of Enniskillen lies in its connection to the waterways. The interconnected lakes of Upper and Lower Lough Erne offer a host of water-based activities, from leisurely boat trips to water sports and fishing.

The lush green islands that adorn the lakes, such as Devenish Island, add to the allure, drawing history enthusiasts to explore ancient ruins and medieval sites. Enniskillen’s setting amidst this natural wonderland creates a sense of tranquillity that captivates locals and tourists alike.

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Enniskillen hosts cultural events throughout the year.

Beyond its natural beauty, Enniskillen boasts a vibrant cultural scene. The town hosts various festivals and events throughout the year, celebrating music, literature, and traditional Irish heritage.

Visitors can experience the warmth of Irish hospitality in the local pubs and restaurants, where traditional music sessions and delicious cuisine create a lively and memorable atmosphere.

Enniskillen is a hub for commerce and services. While the town embraces modern amenities, it manages to preserve its historic character and traditional charm. Its location between Belfast and Dublin makes it easily accessible, attracting travellers looking to explore Northern Ireland’s stunning countryside.

History of Boatyard Distillery

Boatyard Distillery in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, is a relatively young but rapidly emerging player in the world of spirits.

Founded in 2016, the distillery has quickly garnered attention for its commitment to craftsmanship, sustainability, and the production of exceptional spirits. Upon opening, Boatyard Distillery was the first legal distillery in Fermanagh since 1980.

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The first bottle of Boatyard Distillery gin was sold in 2016.


The idea behind Boatyard Distillery was conceived by Joe McGirr, a former wine merchant with a passion for the art of distillation. He had never planned on working on the family farm with his father, so he moved from Northern Ireland to Scotland to pursue his passion.

After gaining distillery experience in Scotland, Joe McGirr returned to his hometown of Enniskillen. His plan was to create his own distillery and produce the world’s finest gin. The first bottle of gin was sold in late 2016.

Drawing inspiration from the rich history of boat building on Lough Erne, Joe chose the distillery’s name to pay homage to the area’s maritime heritage and reflect a sense of connection to the local community and landscape.

Quickly, interest in Joe McGirr’s gin was growing internationally. Over the years, the spirit has been stocked in bars and pubs throughout Ireland, England, and more. Bottles have also been made available on shop shelves for private consumers.

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Boatyard Distillery uses local ingredients.


From its inception, Boatyard Distillery has been focused on producing spirits of the highest quality. They take pride in sourcing organic wheat from local farms to create the base for their spirits, ensuring the use of premium, locally-sourced ingredients. This attention to detail in sourcing and production contributes to the distinctive character of their spirits.

While still relatively young in the spirits industry, Boatyard Distillery’s dedication to quality, sustainability, and its connection to the local community have garnered recognition and acclaim. The distillery’s future is promising as they continue to innovate and produce exceptional spirits that capture the essence of the beautiful landscape and heritage of Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.


Boatyard Distillery in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, takes immense pride in crafting a range of exceptional and distinctive spirits. From their picturesque location on the shores of Lough Erne, the distillery produces high-quality products that showcase their commitment to craftsmanship and sustainability.

One of the flagship products of Boatyard Distillery is their Boatyard Double Gin. This premium gin is meticulously crafted using a careful selection of botanicals inspired by the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape.

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Boatyard Distillery uses traditional Irish distilling methods.

The gin’s unique flavour profile is attributed to the use of local sweet gale, along with other botanicals such as juniper, coriander, and lemon. The result is a harmonious blend of herbal and citrus notes.

Boatyard Double Gin is triple-distilled, a nod to the traditional Irish distillation method, ensuring a smooth and refined spirit that has been well-received by gin enthusiasts and connoisseurs.

Another standout product from Boatyard Distillery is their Boatyard Vodka. This smooth and pure vodka is distilled from organic wheat sourced from local farms in Northern Ireland. The careful selection of the wheat as the base for their vodka plays a pivotal role in delivering a clean and elegant spirit with subtle sweet undertones.

The use of organic wheat is a testament to the distillery’s commitment to sourcing the finest ingredients while maintaining their environmentally responsible practices.

Additionally, Boatyard Distillery has ventured into producing cask-aged spirits, showcasing their versatility and dedication to innovation. By ageing their spirits in bourbon and oloroso sherry casks, they infuse rich and complex flavours into their products.

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Boatyard Distillery’s products have received many accolades.

These cask-aged spirits demonstrate the distillery’s passion for experimentation while preserving the core values of craftsmanship and quality that define Boatyard Distillery.

Boatyard Distillery’s products have been recognised with various awards and accolades, further solidifying their reputation as a distinguished distillery in the spirits industry. As the distillery continues to grow, their commitment to producing exceptional spirits while upholding sustainable practices remains at the heart of their ethos.

Whether it’s the Boatyard Double Gin, Boatyard Vodka, or their unique cask-aged offerings, each spirit embodies the essence of the beautiful surroundings of Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, and showcases the expertise and passion of Boatyard Distillery’s team of dedicated craftsmen.


Boatyard Distillery in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, stands as a shining example of a distillery deeply committed to sustainability and environmental responsibility. From its inception, the distillery has woven sustainability practices into the very fabric of its operations, making it the first carbon-neutral distillery in Northern Ireland.

At the core of Boatyard Distillery’s sustainability practices lies their dedication to reducing their environmental impact. They have implemented renewable energy sources to power their distillation process, reducing their carbon emissions significantly.

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Boatyard Distillery is committed to sustainability.

By utilising renewable energy, the distillery aims to minimise its reliance on fossil fuels and transition towards a more sustainable energy model.

Boatyard Distillery also focuses on sourcing ingredients responsibly. They use organic wheat from local farms to produce their spirits, emphasising the importance of supporting local agriculture and reducing the carbon footprint associated with transportation.

The commitment to using locally-sourced ingredients not only ensures a high-quality product but also strengthens the connection between the distillery and the surrounding community.

In addition to their sustainable sourcing and energy practices, Boatyard Distillery emphasises waste reduction and recycling. They continuously strive to minimise waste generation during their production processes, and any waste that is produced is managed in an environmentally responsible manner.

Recycling initiatives further contribute to their sustainable ethos, ensuring that materials are repurposed and reused whenever possible.

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Boatyard Distillery is the first carbon-neutral distillery in Northern Ireland.

Education and community involvement also play crucial roles in Boatyard Distillery’s sustainability values. The distillery actively engages with the local community, raising awareness about environmental issues and promoting sustainable practices beyond their own operations.

They aim to inspire others in their community to adopt eco-friendly practices, creating a ripple effect that contributes to a more sustainable future for the region and beyond.

Boatyard Distillery’s commitment to sustainability extends beyond producing exceptional spirits. Their actions demonstrate a genuine passion for protecting the environment and leaving a positive impact on the community.

By embodying these values, Boatyard Distillery sets a high standard for other distilleries and businesses, inspiring the industry as a whole to embrace sustainability as a vital part of their mission.

Distillery Tours

Boatyard Distillery offers an engaging and immersive distillery tour that allows visitors to delve into the world of craft spirits while experiencing the beauty of their picturesque location. The distillery tours provide an opportunity for guests to witness the craftsmanship and sustainable practices that make Boatyard Distillery unique.

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Tours provide visitors with an inside look into the distillery’s processes.

During the distillery tour, visitors are taken on a journey through the production process, guided by knowledgeable and passionate staff. The tour typically begins with an introduction to the distillery’s history, its commitment to sustainability, and its connection to the local community.

Guests get an insight into the founder’s vision and the distillery’s mission, giving them a deeper understanding of the values that underpin every bottle of spirits produced.

As the tour progresses, guests get a behind-the-scenes look at the distillation process, from sourcing organic wheat to the meticulous blending of botanicals for their gin. The guides explain the intricate steps involved in producing their premium spirits, sharing the distillery’s expertise and dedication to craftsmanship.

An exciting highlight of the tour is the opportunity to taste Boatyard Distillery’s signature spirits. Visitors get to savour the distinct flavours of their Boatyard Double Gin, Boatyard Vodka, and other cask-aged offerings.

Experienced staff members guide guests through a tasting experience, showcasing the subtle nuances and unique qualities that define each spirit.

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Boatyard Distillery is on the shores of Lough Erne.

The stunning location of the distillery adds to the enchanting experience of the tour. Situated on the shores of Lough Erne, the backdrop of scenic beauty enhances the sense of tranquillity and connection to the natural world.

As guests learn about the distillation process, they are also immersed in the breathtaking landscapes that inspire the creation of Boatyard Distillery’s spirits.

The distillery tours at Boatyard Distillery provide a captivating blend of education, sensory exploration, and appreciation for sustainability. It is an opportunity for visitors to not only enjoy exquisite spirits but also gain an understanding of the distillery’s commitment to crafting exceptional products with a deep respect for the environment.

Whether groups are made of enthusiasts or novices in the world of spirits, guests leave the tour with a newfound appreciation for the art of distillation and a lasting connection to the beauty of Enniskillen and its surrounding landscape.

Other Nearby Attractions

Enniskillen Castle Museums

Enniskillen Castle Museums is a captivating historical site that offers visitors a fascinating journey through the region’s rich heritage. The castle itself is an imposing and well-preserved structure, dating back to the 16th century, and stands proudly on the banks of the River Erne in the heart of Enniskillen.

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There are 2 museums at Enniskillen Castle.

Today, Enniskillen Castle houses two museums that comprehensively explore Fermanagh’s past. The Fermanagh County Museum offers an extensive collection of artefacts and exhibits that span the centuries, showcasing the area’s cultural, social, and industrial heritage.

From ancient archaeological finds to more recent historical artefacts, the museum provides insights into the lives of the people who have lived in Fermanagh throughout history.

The second museum, The Inniskillings Museum, focuses on the military history of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards. The museum exhibits military memorabilia, uniforms, weapons, and more that tell the story of these regiments and their contributions to various conflicts, including World Wars I and II.

Marble Arch Caves

The Marble Arch Caves are a breathtaking underground marvel that showcases the wonders of nature’s geological formations. Located within the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark, the caves are a designated UNESCO Global Geopark, highlighting their significance as a site of geological importance.

The caves have been shaped over thousands of years by the eroding forces of water, creating a labyrinthine network of stunning caverns, passages, and awe-inspiring stalactites and stalagmites.

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The Marble Arch Caves are a UNESCO Global Geopark.

Visitors to the Marble Arch Caves are treated to a unique and immersive experience as they embark on guided tours led by knowledgeable and experienced cave guides. The tours take visitors through the winding passages and chambers, revealing a subterranean world of natural wonders.

As visitors venture deeper into the caves, they are greeted by captivating rock formations, underground rivers, and ethereal limestone formations that are breathtakingly illuminated to highlight their beauty.

The highlight of the Marble Arch Caves tour is undoubtedly the Boat Trip, where visitors board small boats to float along the subterranean River Cladagh.

This serene and magical boat journey allows guests to experience the caves from a different perspective, gliding through chambers and passages that have been carved out by the flowing waters over millennia.

Erne Water Taxi

The Erne Water Taxi in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, offers a unique and scenic mode of transportation that allows visitors to explore the stunning waterways of the region.

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Water taxis take visitors to the islands in Lough Erne.

The taxi service operates on the picturesque Lough Erne, a network of interconnected lakes that create a mesmerising landscape of calm waters, lush islands, and tranquil shorelines. The taxis provide an enjoyable and convenient way for tourists and locals to navigate the vast expanse of Lough Erne and its numerous islands.

With a fleet of comfortable and well-equipped boats, the water taxi service offers personalised tours, private charters, and scheduled transfers between various points on the lake. It is a fantastic option for those seeking to experience the natural beauty of Fermanagh from a unique perspective.

The water taxi tours are led by experienced and knowledgeable skippers who share insights into the history, culture, and wildlife of the area.

As passengers cruise along the peaceful waters, they are treated to breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes, including historic castles, ancient monastic sites, and charming villages that dot the shores of Lough Erne.

Cole’s Monument

Cole’s Monument, also known as the “Carrowmore Cromlech,” is a remarkable historical site in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. This ancient megalithic structure is a Neolithic tomb that dates back thousands of years, making it one of the region’s oldest and most significant archaeological sites.

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Cole’s Monument is located in Forthill Park.

The monument consists of a large, imposing capstone supported by three massive stone pillars, forming a distinctive dolmen or portal tomb.

The capstone is estimated to weigh several tons. The precision with which it is balanced on the upright stones is a testament to the advanced engineering skills of the Neolithic people who constructed it.

Cole’s Monument is a mysterious and awe-inspiring reminder of the ancient past, and its significance extends beyond its architectural marvel. As with many megalithic tombs, it is believed that the site was used for burial rituals and as a place of reverence for the Neolithic communities who inhabited the area.

Surrounded by lush countryside and offering panoramic views of the serene landscape, visiting Cole’s Monument provides a unique opportunity to connect with Ireland’s ancient history and the enduring legacy of its earliest inhabitants.

The monument’s location amidst the peaceful and picturesque surroundings adds to the sense of wonder and tranquillity experienced by those who make the journey to explore this ancient marvel.

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Boatyard Distillery sets the standard for the industry.

Boatyard Distillery is a Top-Notch Attraction in County Fermanagh

Boatyard Distillery in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, exemplifies the perfect marriage of craftsmanship, sustainability, and innovation in the world of spirits.

It is clear that Boatyard Distillery has established itself as a true gem in Northern Ireland’s spirits industry, capturing the hearts of enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike. Boatyard Distillery has set a high standard for the industry with its harmonious blend of tradition, innovation, and environmental consciousness.

It serves as an inspiring example of how a commitment to quality and sustainability can create exceptional spirits that leave a positive impact on both the community and the planet.

If you’re interested in touring some of the world’s best distilleries, check out the Top 10 Best Distilleries in the USA to Visit.

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