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Sliabh Liag Distillers apply for planning permission

Sliabh Liag Distillers have taken the first step in their ambitious plan to bring whiskey distilling back to Donegal for the first time in 177 years. They are planning on building a new Ardara Distillery.

The distillery which produces An Dúlamán Irish Maritime Gin and The Legendary Silkie Irish Whiskey, has acquired the Show Field in Ardara. They will be formally submitting a planning application to Donegal County Council this week.

Led by company directors, James and Moira Doherty and James Keith, construction for the Ardara Distillery is scheduled to start later this year. This subject to planning approval, with distilling operations commencing in 2020. The new building has been carefully designed by Corner Stone Architecture. Designs have been created to complement the village and its natural surroundings.  

Ardara Distillery
Artist’s Impression of Ardara Distillery

The new €6m Ardara Distillery aims to employ at least 40 people.

They will have the capacity to produce 400,000 litres of pure alcohol per annum. This equates to approximately 1700 filled casks, and over 1.2m bottles of whiskey when the spirit is finally sold. 

The company’s An Dúlamán gin still will be moved from its current location in Carrick to the new building, and a visitor centre is also planned.  The visitor centre will include a poitín museum, exhibition space, tasting bar and shop. It 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. These will be 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: “The design of the development is a mix of contemporary and traditional finishes which complement the village of Ardara.

We have put considerable thought into the visitor experience and aim 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.”

Following a public consultation in Ardara on 2nd April at The Nesbitt Arms Hotel, the Planning Application is being submitted on the 4th April.

Tags: Ardara DistilleryDonegalSliabh Liag Distillers
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My name is Greg, and I’m a brand strategy consultant, writer, speaker, host and judge specialising in premium spirits. My mission is to experience, share and inspire with everything great about whisky, whiskey, gin, beer and fine dining through my writing, my brand building and my whisky tastings.

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