The Village of Bushmills (Northern Ireland)

Bushmills, Northern Ireland

Originally known as “Portcaman” as a center for corn, flax, spade, and whiskey production as it was popular in the 1600’s for its water powered industries. “Bushmills” is named afer a large watermill built on the River Bush that was built in the early 17th century C.E. Bushmills is an infamous village in County Antrim of Northern Ireland, well known most for its “Bushmills Whiskey Distillery”(1608), is located only 2 miles from the other infamous landmark “The Giant’s Causeway”; 95 km from Belfast; 10 km from Ballycastle; and 15 km from Coleraine. The 2001 Census recorded a population of 1,319. The Bush river once powered over seven mills along its stretch through the village. The Main street of Bushmills has quite a few shops of living heritage and history reflecting the village pre-Industrial revolution era. The Macnaghten family has shaped and influenced the village to what it is known as today. They built most of the prominent buildings in the area including the Market Square, the Clock Tower, the Courthouse, and Old National School. The village often had regular weekly markets in the square where merchants would come to hawk their wares. It was once home to a popular linen market in 1833 as well as a bi-annual hiring faires. The area became central for tourism with influx of visitors coming to see the Giant’s Causeway. In 1883, the world’s first hydro-elecric tramway ran from Portrush to Bushmills with a later extension to the Giant’s Causeway. The Bush River was famous in Ulster legends and writings being known as one of the 10 rivers of Ireland that was encountered by the first settlers on the North Coast known as “Inbiur Buosse bruchtait srotha” (which translates to the “River Bush of the bursting torrents”). The Bush is also known in legend as ‘the great abundance of nuts which were found on the banks of the Boyne and the Buais (Bush)’. In addition as being the source of the “Waters of Life” for the Bushmill’s Distillery, the river is known for the Salmon that each year travels across the Atlantic Ocean back to the Bush which has become quite a mystery these days. The village is well known for several festivals held there annually, including the “Causeway Hammered Dulcimer Festival” and the “Finn MacCool Festival”.

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