In a unique collaboration with Irish artist, David Rooney, Ahascragh Distillery introduce new packaging for our Family Bond whiskeys, UAIS and Clan Colla Irish Whiskey.
We enrolled the help of celebrated Irish artist, David Rooney, to retell the story of The Three Collas. David has over thirty years’ experience as an artist and illustrator, focusing, most recently, on cultural and historical projects including 100 illustrations for BBC’s documentary series ‘The Story of Ireland’. His award winning ‘1916 – Portraits and Lives’ book, published by the Royal Irish Academy, saw all 40 original portraits purchased by the OPW. Exhibited in Kilmainham Gaol as part of the Centenary Celebrations, the print show subsequently toured the world. David’s ‘Famine Artworks’ are on display at The Irish Workhouse Centre in Portumna, just ten miles from where he grew up in Eyrecourt, Co. Galway.
We couldn’t think of a better fit to bring The Three Colla brothers back to life and to elevate their spirited journey to ruling over ancient Ireland.
The Three Collas
Irish legend tells the story of The Three Collas. Caireall Colla Uais, Muiredach Colla Fo Chrí and Aed Colla Menn, three brothers who conquered and ruled over most of Ireland, with Colla Uais becoming Ard Rí: The High King of Ireland in the 4th century.
History tells us there was a rule or ‘geis’ against the slaying of a sitting Ard Rí. If a person were to violate that geis, none of their descendants would ever accede to the throne. But Colla Uais and his daring warriors slew the sitting Ard Rí and defeated his followers thus becoming Ard Rí of all Ireland for four short but glorious years from 322 AD. However, none of his descendants would ever occupy the same throne. The Three Collas were driven from the throne in 326 AD. Their clans were banished from Ireland to Scotland. When The Three Collas returned to Ireland after a difficult three years, they assembled an army and succeeded in establishing the Kingdom of Airgialla in Ulster.
Descendants of The Three Collas are amongst the noblest families of Ireland and Scotland, more commonly recognised as the ‘Clan Colla’. The McAllisters are one such family, and through the 1800s McAllister’s “Clan Colla Irish Whiskey” was known far and wide for its exceptional quality. However, the well-documented fall of Irish Whiskey took Clan Colla with it. Today, bound by honour and tradition, Gareth and Michelle McAllister have brought it back, with the vision to return it to its rightful place amongst the world’s great whiskeys.
Family Bond Series
In 2021, we launched the Family Bond series of hand-selected releases including Clan Colla Irish Whiskey and UAIS Irish Whiskey.
Clan Colla Irish Whiskey is a celebration of Gareth and Michelle McAllister’s ancestors. The collection now comprises a variety of aged Irish Whiskey releases and continues to experiment with finishing casks including Pedro Ximénez, Amarone, Oloroso, Peated and most recently, Panamanian Rum.
UAIS Irish Whiskey honours Caireall Colla Uais. Against tradition, Uais overthrew the sitting monarch and ruled as High King of Ireland. UAIS is a triple blend of Single Malt, Single Pot Still and Single Grain. It honours the past but moves in bold new directions, presenting opportunities for new ideas, new flavours and new traditions.
A host of common Irish surnames originated from the Clan Colla including McDonald, Connolly, Carroll, Kelly, Larkin and so many more. Information about Clan Colla is easily accessed online. We encourage people to find out if they are also part of the Clan.
Ahascragh Distillery’s new packaging and labels were designed by Conor Smyth of Backbar studios with illustrations by Irish Artist, David Rooney. Clan Colla Irish Whiskey and UAIS The Triple Blend are available to buy at Celtic Whiskey Shop, Irishmalts.com and in all good stockists.