Duleek man Cianán Redmond shares secrets of his unique product
The benefits of donkey milk have been well-documented since Egyptian times, and now you can experience the Cleopatra effect thanks to a Duleek native!
Ex-US Marine Cianán Redmond has turned to pursuits less treacherous in recent years, and he and his Estonian partner Liisa Laas now have a range of beautifully carved donkey milk soap available for purchase online and in selected stores across the globe.
“This all started when Liisa’s mum Tiina began to make soaps on the kitchen table, as she knew the great benefits of the milk as a moisturiser and exfoliator,” says Cianán, whose parents Tony and Ger Redmond breed Irish Wolfhounds in their Athcairn home. “We were selling them at Farmer’s Markets and were getting a great response from people, and I thought we could start putting them into retailers, and they could sell themselves.”
They now sell in a network of retailers right across Canada, the US, Ireland and Europe, and are adding to their range all the time.
“We were going all guns blazing until COVID hit and then all our retailers closed, but luckily we already had our online shop up and running by then and could ship all over the world,” he explains.
While using donkey milk for products might sound like a novelty, Cianán says people have been doing it for centuries.
“When you talk to people in rural parts of the country they will tell you they have been using goats, horses or donkeys’ milk for everything, as the PH of it is a more natural fit for our stomach, and had been used for old remedies for years,” he says. “The health benefits are amazing, and the founding father of medicine Hippocrates prescribed it for 35 different ailments, like asthma, psoriasis or upset stomach, and it is perfect for our skin too, very soothing.”
As if the benefits themselves weren’t attractive enough, the soaps are carved into a plethora of different shapes, from horses, rabbits and puppies, to Irish Wolfhounds of course.
“We’re working on creating different colours and smells too and add black clay from Siberia or Brazilian clay to change the colours and of course that adds to the exfoliant effect for dead skin,” he says.
What also has to be imported is the donkey milk, as their local supply is not that generous!
“We import the milk from Portugal for the simple reason that donkeys only produce about a litre and a half of milk per day, and I would need about 100 donkeys to make our soaps,” he says with a laugh. “The gestation period for a donkey is 11 to 14 months, so there’s only about three months when you can get milk, so we buy it in powered, and in fact have started to sell it that way too, as people with asthma find great benefit from drinking a glass a day.”
You can buy Irish Handmade Donkey Milk Soap from their website www.12quailfarm.com or at selected stockists listed on their site.