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The Northern Half of the Island of Ireland

Belfast to Bushmills

rain 58 °F

It was a typical drizzly day in Northern Ireland when we woke up this morning, but that is part of the beauty of the island.

After checking out of the Hotel we headed to Carrickfergus Castle. Carrickfergus was built by John de Courcy in 1177 as his headquarters, after he conquered eastern Ulster and ruled as a petty king until 1204, when he was ousted by another Norman adventurer, Hugh de Lacy. Initially de Courcy built the inner ward, a small bailey at the end of the promontory with a high polygonal curtain wall and east gate. It had several buildings, including the great hall. From its strategic position on a rocky promontory, originally almost surrounded by sea, the castle commanded Carrickfergus Bay (later known as Belfast Lough), and the land approaches into the walled town that developed beneath its shadow.

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From there we stopped briefly at the Gobbins, but we didn't have time to visit and it was closed for maintenance anyway; so we headed to our appointment at Bushmills Distillery.

Bushmills was great --- but because of the alcohol content in the atmosphere you had to put your phone in the airplane mode and could not take any pictures.

The area has a long tradition with distillation. According to one story, as far back as 1276, an early settler called Sir Robert Savage of Ards, before defeating the Irish in battle, fortified his troops with "a mighty drop of acqua vitae". In 1608, a licence was granted to Sir Thomas Phillips by King James I to distil whiskey. For the next seven years, within the countie of Colrane, otherwise called O Cahanes countrey, or within the territorie called Rowte, in Co. Antrim, by himselfe or his servauntes, to make, drawe, and distil such and soe great quantities of aquavite, usquabagh and aqua composita, as he or his assignes shall thinke fitt; and the same to sell, vent, and dispose of to any persons, yeeldinge yerelie the somme 13s 4d ...The Bushmills Old Distillery Company itself was not established until 1784 by Hugh Anderson. Bushmills suffered many lean years with numerous periods of closure with no record of the distillery being in operation in the official records both in 1802 and in 1822. In 1860 a Belfast spirit merchant named Jame McColgan and Patrick Corrigan bought the distillery; in 1880 they formed a limited company. In 1885, the original Bushmills buildings were destroyed by fire but the distillery was swiftly rebuilt. In 1890, a steamship owned and operated by the distillery, SS Bushmills, made its maiden voyage across the Atlantic to deliver Bushmills whiskey to America.

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Our hotel for the evening was the Bushmill's Inn - a wonderful cozy accommodation.

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Posted by rpickett 17:56 Archived in Northern Ireland Tagged bushmills

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