Plans for the development of a distillery in Kilmacthomas are progressing and have been welcomed by locals. Gortinore, which is led by Irish entrepreneur Aidan Mehigan, purchased The Old Mill in Kilmacthomas in 2016.Planning permission was recently lodged with Waterford City & County Council relating to the development of a distillery and visitor centre at the site.
At the November Comeragh District meeting of Waterford City & County Council, Cllr Ger Barron (Lab) said he was delighted that a planning application had been received.
He predicts the project will be “a wonderful development” which will generate employment opportunities and further enhance the tourism offering of Mid County Waterford.
Additionally, he says the development will “cheer up a derelict old building”.
Cllr Barron is seeking some assurances in relation to access for individuals and groups who use the surrounding area but said, overall, “everybody welcomes the development”.
Speaking to this newspaper in 2016, Aidan Mehigan outlined his ambitious plans for the prominent site.Once complete, he says the Kilmacthomas distillery will house three traditional copper pot stills and ageing whiskey casks and will employ up to 15 people.
The Old Mill was established in the mid-1800s and operated as a woollen mill until the early 1920s.In the 1930s, the Flahavan family purchased the building to use as a grain store.
The entire building was virtually gutted in a fire in 1947.
The building originally had a slate roof but was then rebuilt with reinforced concrete. This rebuilding work was carried out around 1950 and the building continued to be used by Flahavan’s until 1999.The Old Mill was then purchased by Waterford County Council who had ambitious plans for the site during the Noughties.A public car park was constructed alongside The Old Mill, however plans involving the actual building never materialised.Kilmacthomas Community Meitheal Ltd. worked for a number of years at establishing a suitable enterprise at the site of The Old Mill.
Mr Mehigan paid tribute to the work of the group and said he had been working closely with its members to ensure the integrity and heritage of The Old Mill is prioritised and maintained throughout this process.