The objective of McConnell's Distillery is to draw 100,000 visitors annually to Crumlin Road Gaol, so augmenting the city's tourism offerings.

It currently has 34 employees. It intends to export its "McConnell's Irish whisky" all over the world and will raise that to 50.

Within the previous two years, the 'A' wing of the Grade A listed Victorian building (which was constructed in 1845) has housed the distillery.

The £30 million project required a lease from a Stormont department in order to be constructed inside the secured structure for the investors.

During the whole Troubles, remand prisoners from both republican and loyalist camps were housed at Crumlin Road Prison pending trial.

It was closely associated with the period's violence. Two loyalist inmates were killed by the IRA in a blast in the prison canteen.

Later, when republicans were eating in the canteen, loyalists launched an RPG rocket at them.

In 1996, it closed its doors as a working jail and reopened as a visitor attraction and exhibition complex following a thorough renovation.

Conor Murphy, the minister of economy, was one of the Stormont ministers present at the ceremony today. Murphy was imprisoned for IRA offences on the jail's A wing in the early 1980s.

"I was a resident here for a period, not voluntarily, and it’s remarkable to be back in here and see how it has transformed," he stated.

According to him, the jail serves as an illustration of how Northern Ireland is transitioning from strife to opportunity.

It embodies that journey in a way. Having lived here, I guess I'm the living example of it. I'm happy to come back, and it's incredible how much has changed."

One of the city's most economically challenged areas is where the prison is located.

Due to his unauthorised entry into Northern Ireland in 1924, Eamon De Valera spent six months in solitary imprisonment in jail.

Between 1854 and 1961, the prison saw the execution of 17 prisoners in total, several of whose bodies were interred in unmarked graves on the property.

Over the years, there have also been a number of prisoner escapes.

According to McConnell's John Kelly, the distillery's official opening was a proud day.

"We have turned an empty wing of a historic jail into a place of investment, employment, and opportunity," he stated.