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29th Aug 2022

Whiskey distillery officially opens in former Donegal Doll Factory this week

Fiona Frawley

man working at a whiskey distillery

The historic building has been completely transformed as part of a €1.3 million refurbishment by Údarás na Gaeltachta.

The Crolly Whiskey Distillery in Donegal will be officially opened this Wednesday by Government Chief Whip and Minister for the Gaeltacht and Sport, Jack Chambers.

Located in a restored 1902 stone building in Croithlí (Crolly), County Donegal, the distillery the first licensed whiskey distillery in Donegal since 1840. In keeping with local Gaeltacht distilling tradition, they use direct fired pot stills in their double distillation, sourced in the Cognac region and refurbished to produce beautiful spirit in Croithlí. The distillery is expected to be one of the main tourist attractions in the region when up and running fully.

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Speaking to Donegal Daily about the project, Údarás na Gaeltachta Chief Executive, Mícheál Ó hÉanaigh said “It brings us great satisfaction that this fine project has been brought to completion”.

“The Croithlí Distillery embodies the aims of the Údarás na Gaeltachta Strategy 2021-2025, which focuses on developing and nurturing enterprise and also on supporting strategic Gaeltacht tourism projects, which highlight the unique story of the Gaeltacht regions of Ireland.”

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The site was formerly home to the Crolly Doll Factory, which was founded in 1939 with the hopes of creating much-needed new jobs in the small west Donegal town.
The first dolls were handmade with clothing from local fabrics and knitted garments, becoming instantly popular due to their high quality. The factory eventually closed in the 1970s as it struggled to compete with cheaper dolls on the market.
In 1993, a group of businessmen set up a new Crolly Doll company upon noticing how fondly remembered the dolls were by Irish people. Today, they’re sold in over sixty gift shops around Ireland, in the same number of outlets in the US and on a small scale in Japan, the UK and Australia.

Header image via Instagram/crollydistillery 

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