Our last day in Ireland was spent learning about the oldest distillery in Ireland, In 1608 King James I granted Sir Thomas Phillips, landowner and Governor of County Atrim, Ireland, a license to distill. We took a tour and tasted the whiskey produced by a distillery that has been in business over 400 years. My favorite drink has become the hot Irish whiskey with cloves, lemon, spices and bushmills. In 2014 Bushmills was bought by Jose Cuervo Co. of Mexico City also a several hundred year old business.
After our tour we went to a little french restaurant in the town of Bushmill. Then took a taxi to the Dunluce Castle.
This castle dates back to the 1500’s. It was established by the MacQuillans who were then ousted by the MacDonnells, a family descended from the Scottish Clan MacDonald. This castle was the scene of constant battle. In mid 1600’s it was abandoned and left for ruin becoming under state guardianship in 1928. You can see from the rocks used in the wall that they were taken from the Giant’s causeway.
The Causeway coast and it’s Glens region is steeped in folklore, myths and magic. This is a picture of Finn McCool, one of Ireland’s greatest folk heroes, he was the protector of Ireland against all invaders including a Scottish giant named Benandonner. The story is he build a causeway from Ireland to Scotland and that is how the stepping stones of the Giant’s Causeway came to be.
We have just barely touched on the history of this ancient land but it has definitely touched us. The people have all been so kind and friendly, making us feel so welcome. We met a man on the trail one day that told us “we are not very nice to each other but we are really nice to visitors”.
Goodbye United Kingdom!
Tammy, Joanne, Sue and Mary