Hello everyone! We’re coming in a little bit later than usual this week, but rest assured that Paddy and Plunkett are very keen to share their latest holiday adventure with you all. This week, we’ll be swinging by the small town of Bushmills and taking a stroll on one of County Antrim’s famous sandy beaches.
But first, let’s catch up with the boys where we left them last week – at Antrim Castle Gardens. And it looks like they’ve made another friend!
This fearsome-looking beast is the Massereene Wolfhound, and he was a handy pooch to have around back in the days when wolves still roamed free on the island of Ireland. In life, the hound saved Lady Marion Clotworthy when she was cornered by a pack of wolves on the shores of Antrim Bay. And having got a taste for heroics, he subsequently alerted the castle’s residents to an advancing party of human attackers, allowing them to mount defences and save themselves and their home.
His stone counterpart, seen here with the Beasties, dates back to the early 17th century, and for nearly 300 years he kept watch from the castle battlements. Unfortunately, his talents didn’t extend to protecting the building from fire, and the old castle burned down in 1922.
But you can still trace its outline in the granite-paved paths that wind through the gardens.
“Do we have time to walk the old castle walls, Paddy?”
“Eeek! No – our lift is leaving! RUN!!”
Looks like we’re on the road again. And where is this rather beautiful place? It looks exactly like Plunkett’s kinda town.
“Aaaah, lovely. Welcome to Bushmills, Beastie friends!”
You can understand why it’s called Bushmills. This small town used to have 11 waterpowered mills working away along the riverbanks! Today, only this one is left. Bonner Mill has been here since the early 19th century – although the building in the picture, with its cheerful red door, only dates back to about 1850. It’s now a private house, but Bonner Mill did actually keep working up until the 1950s.
So, that’s the mills taken care of… And Paddy’s found the origins of the other half of the town’s name.
That’d be the River Bush, supposedly one of the best salmon fishing rivers in Ireland.
“Hang on, Plunkett! I’ll see if I can catch us some lunch!”
Well, you could… Or you could just head over to the Bushmills Inn.
It’s one of over 80 listed buildings in the town, although I reckon the boys’ interests are more gastronomic than architectural. They tell me it does a very good Sunday carvery lunch, and then there’s that very tempting garden.
Time for a nice refreshing Beastie beer in the sunshine? I think so!
And then… Let’s round off our visit with a trip to the oldest distillery in the world.
The Old Bushmills Distillery opened its doors in 1608 – I’m sure they’ve made a whole lot of whiskey in that time!
Clearly the boys were very excited about seeing it, because they could barely stand still for the camera.
Fortunately, they didn’t consume too many free samples, and they were able to round off their day with a nice stroll along Castlerock Beach. Just as well, because this is a big beach! You can’t tell as you approach it over the dunes…
… But it’s really huge!
Antrim’s north coast is famous for its beautiful sandy beaches, and like Downhill Beach…
“Which we visited a couple of years ago!”
… Humans can bring their cars right down onto the sand.
However you get there, it’s still a great place to enjoy a sunset.
And that unusual little building on the headland? That’s Mussenden Temple, a private library built by the 4th Earl of Bristol in memory of his cousin. Am I the only one would would LOVE a private library with a view like this?
But that’s more than enough monster activity for one day. I think the boys are “bushed” after their day in and around Bushmills!
Night night, lads!