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Exploring History and Spirits: McConnell's Distillery Opens in Crumlin Road Gaol.

Updated: Apr 29

Nestled within the walls of the historic Crumlin Road Gaol in Belfast, McConnell's Distillery has finally opened its doors to eager visitors. After a meticulous two-year renovation and restoration, this iconic site, once infamous as a prison, has been transformed into a haven for whiskey aficionados and history enthusiasts alike.


The McConnell's Distillery and Visitor Experience promises an immersive journey through time, where visitors can delve into the rich heritage of McConnell's brand while uncovering the artistry behind crafting their signature Irish whiskies.


Led by knowledgeable guides, guests are invited to explore the intricate process of triple-distilled, single-malt whiskey production, from grain to glass.



John Kelly, the chief executive of McConnell’s Belfast Distillery Company, expresses his excitement as the culmination of years of planning and dedication finally comes to fruition. Having personally experienced the tour, he exudes confidence that visitors will be treated to a world-class experience, steeped in both tradition and innovation.


The support for this ambitious project has been widespread, with investments pouring in from various sources including the global investor community. Such backing underscores the significance of McConnell's Distillery not only as a cultural landmark but also as a driver of economic growth and tourism in the region.


Upon embarking on the guided tour, guests are greeted with a welcome drink, setting the tone for an unforgettable exploration of McConnell's offerings. From the smooth depths of McConnell's 5 Year to the subtle flavours of McConnell's Sherry Cask, visitors are treated to a tasting experience that showcases the distillery's craftsmanship and dedication to quality.


While McConnell's Distillery breathes new life into Crumlin Road Gaol, it also pays homage to its storied past. The prison's dark history is preserved in one section of the complex, inviting guests to confront the realities of its former inhabitants. From the chilling confines of the Condemned Man's Cell to immersive multimedia displays documenting the prison's legacy, visitors are invited to engage with history in a thought-provoking manner.


The transformation of Crumlin Road Gaol into McConnell's Distillery comes at a cost, both financially and symbolically. The £22 million (R519 Million) investment underscores the commitment to preserving heritage while embracing progress. The meticulous integration of the distillery within the prison walls, from the installation of the malt silo to the retention of original features like barred windows and cell doors, serves as a testament to the careful balance between preservation and innovation.


As McConnell's Distillery opens its doors to the world, it heralds a new chapter in the story of Crumlin Road Gaol. Here, history and spirits intertwine, offering visitors a truly unique and unforgettable experience. Whether you're a whiskey connoisseur, a history buff, or simply curious to explore Belfast's rich tapestry, McConnell's Distillery invites you to embark on a journey unlike any other.




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