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Maurice O’Connell of Wayward Irish Spirits says the Liberator brand pays tribute to his relative. Photo: Frank McGrath

Maurice O’Connell of Wayward Irish Spirits says the Liberator brand pays tribute to his relative. Photo: Frank McGrath

Maurice O’Connell of Wayward Irish Spirits says the Liberator brand pays tribute to his relative. Photo: Frank McGrath

A descendant of Daniel O'Connell, the Irishman who fought to allow Catholics the right to sit in Westminster in the early 19th century, has released his own whiskey brand in Ireland.

Maurice O'Connell and his wife Francesca yesterday launched The Liberator Irish Whiskey range through their Co Kerry company, Wayward Irish Spirits. The product is a blend of 13-year-old Cooley Distillery whiskey and a four-year-old whiskey from the Great Northern Distillery.

The Liberator Irish Whiskey, which will retail at €65, was matured initially in first fill American ex-bourbon casks and then finished for nine months in tawny port casks.

The inaugural release will include 700 bottles which will be available in stores including L Mulligan and James Fox in Dublin, Fine Wines in Limerick and Carryout in Killarney, Co Kerry, as well as online through IrishMalts.com. Drinks distributor Barry & Fitzwilliam has taken on The Liberator Irish Whiskey for a wider release.

O'Connell said he was delighted to have finally launched his own whiskey brand, which celebrates the legacy of his forebear Daniel O'Connell.

"I wanted to develop something that could support the family estate through my love of Irish whiskey," he said. "Whiskey up until now had been all about the huge industrial stuff; it hadn't been possible to make an artisan product.

"The market for whiskey is getting younger and this product may appeal to a wider audience. We have great ambitions for our whiskey; we want to take it from Kerry, Ireland, and then to the world."

He plans on opening his own distillery on his Co Kerry estate around 2024.

O'Connell said there will be more variations of the range, including a luxury blend and a peaty malt, released in the near future.

He also plans on releasing a gin. He has registered the name Deora Dé (Gaelic for 'Tears of God') for the gin, which will be made using botanicals from Co Kerry.

O'Connell said he plans to utilise his ancestor's rebellious spirit when it comes to developing future drinks. "The company is named after what Robert Peel, a former British prime minister, called Daniel O'Connell - that 'wayward Irishman'. We've taken that on with pride."

"That gives us licence to play with things going forward," he added. "We hope to do some weird and interesting things."

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