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New Ardara Distillery Gets The Green Light

Sliabh Liag Distillers receive sign off on planning permission

Sliabh Liag Distillers, producers of An Dúlamán Irish Maritime Gin and The Legendary Silkie Irish Whiskey, have been given the go ahead to start work on their new distillery, with planning permission having now been signed off. This move starts off their ambitious plan to bring whiskey distilling back to Donegal for the first time in 177 years, with the site based at the Show Field in Ardara.

Led by company directors, James and Moira Doherty and James Keith, construction for the whiskey distillery is scheduled to start later this year, with distilling operations commencing in 2020. The new building has been carefully designed by Corner Stone Architecture to complement the village and its natural surroundings.

The new €6m distillery aims to employ at least 40 people and will have the capacity to produce 400,000 litres of pure alcohol per annum, which equates to approximately 1700 filled casks, and over 1.2m bottles of whiskey when the spirit is finally sold. The company’s operation in Carrick, where they produce An Dúlamán Irish Maritime Gin and Assaranca Vodka and bottle their Silkie Irish Whiskey, will move to the new building upon completion. The visitor experience will include a poitín history, tasting bar and shop and will be an additional reason for tourists on the Wild Atlantic Way to stop in Ardara. There will be no café or restaurant, with visitors encouraged to make use of the village’s many offerings.

The company plans to create a number of brands, including the Ardara and Sliabh Liag single malt and pot still whiskeys, heavily peated and authentic to the style of 19th century whiskeys from the county.

Commenting on the news, James Doherty, Managing Director of Sliabh Liag Distillers, said: “We are really excited to get the go ahead from Donegal County Council and we look forward to commissioning the distillery and reclaiming the distilling heritage of Donegal. The mix of contemporary and traditional finishes will complement the village of Ardara our aim is to create an opportunity for visitors to park in the village, walk along the Owentocker river, across a new footbridge and into the Show Field. It is important to us that local businesses benefit from the foot fall, and if we can get visitors walking in the village, increasing their dwell time, then so much the better for the entire community.”

“Enhancing Ardara’s offering to its community and visitors has been a major consideration throughout the design process.   We intend to conserve the portion of the land nearest to the village as an open green space, with walk ways and ponds providing a beautifully landscaped area to be enjoyed by everybody,” added James.

Gavin Shovelin of Corner Stone Architecture said: “We have really enjoyed working on this exciting project and designing such a major landmark for what is my home town. We see spin offs for all aspects of the community and have designed a building that we think is truly unique but will look very much part of the town.”