Our Story

Meet the Team Behind the Mead

Kinsale Mead Co was founded by Kate and Denis Dempsey in 2016 to rediscover the ancient art of mead making and to create a delicious, refreshing new Irish drink. They lovingly hand-craft each batch with care and passion and source the best natural ingredients.

They make their meads at their new meadery in Kinsale, the first in Ireland in many years. The town holds a special place in their hearts as it was where they were married many years ago.

The inspiration for their meads comes from sourcing natural ingredients from the local region as well as reflecting the rich tapestry of trading and maritime history in Kinsale and its stunning location in West Cork at the start of the Wild Atlantic Way.

Kate and Denis hail from Coventry and Rosscarbery in West Cork. After raising a family, they decided it was time for a change. And at some point they joked, why don’t we start our own meadery? Where do you go to make that kind of decision? – for them, it was on the Hill of Tara in the footprint of the Great Mead Hall where they said ‘Why not?’

They sold up, told the kids (how to shock your friends and family – tell them you’re leaving the hi-tech multinational world to make mead) and headed south. Now they’re working hard, making delicious mead in their new home in West Cork.


Their honey comes from Spain along traditional trade routes to Kinsale, particularly the orange blossom honey in their Atlantic Dry Mead. Their Wild Red Mead is a melomel mead type, made from solid fruit and natural fruit concentrate including Wexford blackcurrants.

They developed their process from a blend of old recipes and modern techniques. They mix the honey and fruit with Innishannon water and then sit back to let nature and time turn it into their delicious mead. Perhaps over time, the salty air from the wild Atlantic will add its own unique flavours.

Their journey wouldn’t have been possible without the great support and guidance from working with the Food Academy at Supervalu, Bord Bia (Irish Food Board) and Enterprise Ireland in Co Cork. The local community in Kinsale is a hive of artisan food and drink producers, lively pubs and hotels great to collaborate with on mead food pairing, interesting mead serves and mead tours.

Here's a link to a short radio documentary on RTE Lyric FM here


Kinsale (Cionn tSáile, meaning "Tide Head") is a beautiful historic seaside town in West Cork situated in  a safe anchorage where the Bandon river enters the Atlantic Ocean. It is known today for its historic streetscape, brightly coloured buildings, many gourmet restaurants, yachting, fishing and world glass golf. It has been known for many years as the Gourmet capital of Ireland. It marks the start of the Wild Atlantic Way (WAW), a 2,500km tourist driving and cycling route around Ireland’s south and west rugged Atlantic coastline (Harbour pic). The outer harbour approaches are guarded by the Old Head of Kinsale with its stunning lighthouse and majestic sea cliffs. The inner harbour is guarded by the striking Charles Fort, a stunning star fort completed in 1677.

The town’s charter was granted in 1333 by King Edward III of England. Sitting in a strategic location between Europe and North America, it was an important fishing, military and shipping centre. In 1601, the last of the Spanish Armadas launched against Britain landed in Kinsale to join the Irish rebel forces under the princes, Hugh O’ Neill and Hugh O’ Donnell. The ensuing Battle of Kinsale resulted in the defeat of the Irish and Spanish armies.