Permission granted for distillery at Sligo’s Hazelwood House

Production of single malt whiskey to start in the Lough Gill distillery within 12-18 months

Whiskey will soon be distilled in Sligo’s Hazelwood House, which was designed by architect Richard Cassels. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Hazelwood House in Co Sligo, which was considered one of Ireland's most at-risk Palladian mansions just two years ago, is set to be restored.

Sligo County Council has granted planning permission for the restoration of the historic house which was constructed for the Wynne family on the shores of Lough Gill in the early 1700s.

The owners have also been granted permission to transform a former factory in the grounds of the historic estate into a whiskey distillery and visitors’ centre, incorporating a cafe/restaurant and retail centre.

Hazelwood House was designed by architect Richard Cassels, who also designed Leinster House, Powerscourt House and Russborough House.


Software developer David Raethorne, whose company Hazelwood Demesne Limited bought the estate in December 2014, said production of single malt whiskey would begin in the Lough Gill distillery on the estate within 12-18 months. "In the meantime whiskey will be distilled to our specifications at The Shed distillery in Drumshanbo, " he said.

Tourist attraction

The businessman hopes to convert the property into a flagship tourist attraction. He said a lot of work had already been done making the house safe, especially in the west wing.

Under the 10-year planning permission, the former factory, built in the 1960s, will be adapted as a 1,700sq m distillery and visitors’ centre.

Mr Raethorne said this would be phase one of the project but he was unclear what the timeline would be for the restoration of the house.

“It has been there for 300 years so whether it takes three years or five years, the important thing for us is to get it right,” he said.

Marese McDonagh

Marese McDonagh

Marese McDonagh, a contributor to The Irish Times, reports from the northwest of Ireland