Minister Ring launches Connaught’s first whiskey in 104 years at The Shed Distillery in the Drumshanbo Food Hub

Published 3 January 2018

The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring TD, today officially launched Connaught’s first whiskey in 104 years at The Shed Distillery of PJ Rigney at the Food Hub in Drumshanbo, Co Leitrim. Minister Ring also unveiled plans for a €1.5 million visitor centre which is due to open at the Shed Distillery next year.

The distillery is one of a number of start-up businesses that are based at the Food Hub which was established in 2004 and has become one of Ireland’s premier artisan multi-tenant food production and enterprise centres. The Department of Rural and Community Development has allocated over €280,000 to support the Food Hub in Drumshanbo.

Minister Ring said “I am very encouraged to see the great progress here at the Food Hub and the Shed Distillery in particular. This excellent initiative is testament to the hard work and dedication of Pat and Denise Rigney and the determination of the local community here in Drumshanbo to build a future for themselves and generations to come.

“My Department has allocated over €280,000 to support the Food Hub in Drumshanbo over the last two years. From small beginnings, the Food Hub is thriving and now has over 70 people working out of it. The Shed Distillery, which is part of the Hub, has been particularly successful and employs 18 people with further support staff based in Dublin. The enormous success of ‘Drumshanbo Gunpowder Gin’ which is produced in the Shed Distillery is an extraordinary story.

“I will continue to support this proactive approach and facilitate sustainable development of rural communities all over Ireland. This excellent initiative is very close to another very innovative project, the Acres Lake Boardwalk that received funding through the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme in 2016 and was opened earlier this year.

“Projects such as this demonstrate a measured collaboration between the Local Authority, the local community and business interests and I am delighted that my Department has been able to support them. Projects such as these are indicative of a real proactive approach to development that is evident in Leitrim and throughout this region. The benefits will be felt by the entire community through employment and increased economic activity in the area”

Notes for Editors:


  • Of the €300,000 of REDZ 2016 funding allocated to Leitrim County Council, €140,000 relates to projects associated with the Food Hub in Drumshanbo.


  • Under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme 2016 funding of €40,000 was provided for the Food Hub in Drumshanbo. This funding was provided in order to upgrade to the access road and entrance to the Food Hub, and included realignment and upgrading the access road, decorative fencing, stonewalls and landscaping. New signage and lighting was also erected at the entrance.


  • Under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme 2017 €200,000 of funding has been approved to support the development of a Food Enterprise Zone and the renovation of a vacant factory unit for the provision of additional food production space in Drumshanbo.


  • In 2016 the Department allocated €2.15m in funding to Leitrim County Council through various Rural Schemes. In 2017 rural schemes funding to the value of €3.1m was approved for Leitrim County Council.


Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme

Boardwalk at Acres Lake: Shannon Erne Blueway

  • This project received a grant of €500,000 from the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme in 2016. The funding was used for the procurement and installation of the floating walkway, the construction of a new path linking the walkway to the services at Acres Lake, increased and improved parking provision, and a new viewing point and fishing stand. Carried out by Waterways Ireland staff the work has been completed to a very high standard.


  • The €500,000 support from the Department of Rural and Community Development’s Outdoor Infrastructure Scheme enabled the Shannon Blueway to be extended from its terminus at Drumhauver Bridge along an attractive new walkway 600 metres long in total.


  • The boardwalk provides linkage for the existing 14km of looped walks to the facilities and services at Acres Lake and Drumshanbo town, another key element of Blueway infrastructure.


  • The Shannon Blueway is a network of 200km long quality multi-leisure activity trails across Leitrim, Roscommon, Longford and Cavan, both on and off water, that offer a wider and deeper experience of the region through associated activities and attractions. There are now 8 activity providers operating on the Blueway and accommodation & hospitality sector in the wider geographical area are developing interesting and exciting packages for families and friends to experience. (


  • Developed by Waterways Ireland and a number of key partners including Leitrim, Roscommon and Longford County Councils, the National Trails Office and Canoeing Ireland, with funding from the Rural Recreation Grant Aid, the Shannon Blueway has already received two awards and brought an additional 80,000 visitors to the area annually.