Bushmills hosted a celebration of good food and local produce over the weekend with the return of the annual Salmon and Whiskey Festival, writes Aine McAuley.
With a cookery theatre, heritage walks and artisan market along with a chance to explore the famous Distillery and river-side Salmon Station, the unique story of the village was brought to life throughout Saturday and Sunday (June 8th and 9th).
Well-known chef Ian Orr, who has previously appeared on the BBC 1 programme Saturday Kitchen, was a popular special guest on Saturday. Members of the public enjoyed the opportunity to get up-close as he demonstrated recipes using some of the region’s best locally produced ingredients with his trademark creativity.
Visitors had an opportunity to learn more about the significant conservation role of the River Bush Salmon Station. The historic building opened its doors with a range of talks and tours for everyone to join as part of the International Year of the Salmon campaign.
The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Councillor Sean Bateson said: “It was fantastic to see so many people enjoying Bushmills Salmon and Whiskey Festival and celebrating our local produce. Causeway Coast and Glens is home to many artisans and skilled chefs, and the weekend was a great way to celebrate this.
“The Bushmills Banquet on Friday evening was a superb occasion and I want to thank all the local businesses and chefs who helped to make it such a success.”
Throughout the weekend, the self-guided Bushmills Taste Trail incorporated many of the village’s ‘foodie’ highlights with visitors also able to enjoy whiskey tasting at the distillery. Meanwhile Main Street was transformed by Naturally North Coast and Glens Artisan Market and its additional food court area which provided an al fresco experience with a difference.
The Festival began on Friday evening with the sell-out Bushmills Banquet organised by Bushmills Business Association. This collaborative gourmet event served up themed dishes from local restaurants and artisan food producers.