It's been years in the making, but plans for a new whiskey distillery in Crumlin Road Gaol have finally been approved - and it's set to be one of the highlights of the city's tourism scene.
The Belfast Distillery Company have been given the go-ahead to establish a new production facility at the former prison, and will be bringing with it a bar and restaurant so that malt fans old and new can experience the flavours of their enticing range of spirits. The complex will also include a visitors centre to educate locals and holidaymakers on the history of Irish whiskey, including McConnell's, which is owned by the company.
The building closed its doors to prisoners in 1996, the same year a bus driver named Paul Lavery won the lottery and went on to found the BDC. It was also Lavery who first put forward the idea of making whiskey in the jail's abandoned 'A' wing to amp up production of his Danny Boy and Titanic blends. The entrepreneur's plans were put on pause in 2015, and the company has since been taken over by a group of US investors who have been able to breathe new life into the project.