Jobs boost for West Donegal with plans for famous doll factory to be turned into a distillery

The project involves refurbishing the old Crolly doll factory

Staff Reporter


Staff Reporter

Connacht’s first whiskey for over one hundred years to be launched in Drumshanbo

Twelve jobs are to be recreated with a new whiskey distillery and visitors’ centre in west Donegal.

Údarás na Gaeltachta has given a support grant of €121,000 to Drioglann Thír Chonaill Teo for the project at Coillín Darach in Crolly.

The proposal involves refurbishing the old Crolly doll factory and the provision of a distillery. The proposal also includes a new visitor centre.

The Tír Chonaill distillery project is expected to create 12 jobs when fully operational in three years time.

The first batch of distilled whiskey will go on sale by 2022.

Donegal TD Joe McHugh has welcomed the support package to help get the project off the ground.

“The boost that this investment will bring to the region should not be underestimated,” the minister said.

“The entrepreneurs behind the idea and support from government and Údarás for this brilliant project will breathe new life back into an old landmark in west Donegal.

“Drioglann Thír Chonaill Teo will be a go-to destination for any tourist coming to the county and it will undoubtedly draw passing visitors who want to see history in the making.

“The Irish whiskey industry aims to produce 24 million cases a year and tourism chiefs are targeting 1.9 million people to visit distilleries by 2025.

“Less than five years ago there were just four distilleries in Ireland and the growth since has been phenomenal.

“With the support of Údarás and the Government  Donegal is going to capitalise on this huge local and international success story.

“Seosamh Ó Duibheannaigh, Conor McMenamin and Kieran Davis deserve huge credit for the foresight they’ve shown to drive this development and help create new and diverse employment in west Donegal.

“I wish them every success and look forward to seeing the finished product.

“Support for inventive projects like this is invaluable and could not be achieved without the 7 million euro in capital funding in the budget this year for Údarás and this figure will continue to increase over the lifetime of the 10 year capital plan.

“I am delighted that funding will be going to this important project.”

Boost for the area

Donegal TD Pat the Cope Gallagher, the  Leas Cheann Comhairle of the Dáil, has also welcomed the funding package agreed by Udaras na Gaeltachta.

“The announcement is a great boost for the Crolly area and the proposed Distillery will be an immense addition to tourism in the area and source of employment for west Donegal in the years ahead,” he said.

“The proposal involves refurbishing the old Crolly doll factory and in excess of € 1 million is granted to carry out these necessary works. In addition to the provision of a distillery, the proposal also includes a new visitor centre. The Tír Chonaill distillery project has the potential to create 12 jobs when fully operational in three years time.

“Meantime, the entire premises at Crolly will undergo a major refurbishment in order to facilitate the new distillery; the building previously famous for the production of the Crolly Dolls is an iconic building and well-known structure located along the N56 in the village of Crolly.

“The Tír Chonaill project has further proposals for greater expansion after the first phase is completed. This is welcome news and the development offers great potential for the area and job creation for west Donegal.

Iconic building

He wished those involved in the new project every success.

“This Distillery project ticks all the boxes – it provides a product in an ever-growing market of whiskey production, it is utilising an iconic building for a new purpose, it is creating employment in a rural area and provides for further tourism diversity along the Wild Atlantic Way. This is a good news story for west Donegal and the entire county.”