The first apple orchards were planted by the family, in 1969, to compliment the hop gardens. The fertile Kilkenny limestone soils are uniquely suited to produce delicious apples and apple juice organically.
The varieties of apples are specially chosen for their juicing properties which are uniquely complex and full of health giving vitamins and minerals.
As artisan producers we do know our apples. All of our production is to the strictest of organic standards. No chemicals are sprayed on the apples, neither are any herbicides or chemical fertilizers used. GMOs are shunned to the extent that we avoid the use manure from animals fed on GM food.
Highbank Orchards is home to the original and innovative and multi award winning Highbank Orchard Syrup. We also produce several delicious Apple juices, including our acclaimed non alcoholic Drivers Cider as well as Highbank Proper Cider and Medieval Cider, matured on their wild yeasts with no added sulphites. 2014 brought the addition of Dodonus – the smallest Distillery in Ireland which was built in the old Highbank Dairy and now produces Highbank Organic Apple Spirits – the first Irish and Kilkenny Organic Apple gin known as Highbank Crystal Gin (out of the rocks of Kilkenny), Highbank Orchard Spirit, Highbank Orchard Liqueur Brandey and Highbank Organic Apple Vodka.
All these products from just apples………………………………………………….
A great deal of the Calder-Potts family history is embedded in, Highbank Farm and coach yard with its beautiful stone-arched shop, orchards, lakes, and apples.
“Highbank Farm in Co. Kilkenny was a 17th-century farmyard and the present farmhouse was built by my family in the 19th Century. How my family returned to Kilkenny is a great adventure story, some of which I relate below.
My great grandfather Robert Murison, left his job as a gamekeeper on Rousey, one of the Orkney Islands, to manage the Farmley Estate for Colonel Hansford Flood in about 1880. He built and took up residence in what is now our family home. After the turbulent events of “the troubles” he, like many other employees of absentee landlords, availed of the opportunity of acquiring the small farm on which the family lived. We signed the last Land commission cheque in the 1980s.
My grandmother was born on the farm whilst it was still part of the Farmley Estate. She married Joclyn Iago from Kinsale and raised their family in County Down.