Whiskey has been distilled in county Antrim, Northern Ireland since 1608. Well that's the official story. The Bushmills Distillery begins life in 1784 and has since developed a worldwide reputation for its triple distilled whiskey.
In the 1850s, when some distilleries stopped using malted barley in their recipes due to an increase in price, Bushmills stuck to their guns and their original recipe. And they're still making it the same way today.
In 2008 the area celebrated 400 years of distilling whiskey and to celebrate, the Bank of Ireland featured the Old Bushmills Distillery on one of their banknotes.
A visit to the distillery takes around 45 minutes and involves a guided tour of the plant visiting all the steps in the process of producing Bushmills whiskey. The website is quite right when it draws attention to the modest amount of walking and climbing stairs.
Our guide was knowledgeable, friendly and engaging. As is traditional, a tasting session at the end of the tour allows the participants to sample the product and a gift shop has plenty of souvenirs and bottles to take home. The 12 year old Distillery Reserve is kept especially for visitors to the distillery. You won't be able to buy it anywhere else.
You need to be at least 8 years old to take the tour although under 18s need to be in a family group and cannot partake of any samples! Tours take place on a first come, first served basis. We turned up and only had to wait about ten minutes.