Continue exploring with me this beautiful country with a variety of things to see from outstanding beaches, breath-taking views, dramatic cliffs, a spectacular coast, ancient mansions with gorgeous gardens, caves, lakes, mountains…
Let’s see where I’m going to take you this time.
- The Old Bushmills Distillery
Despite not being a person who likes whiskey I enjoy visiting those places that are culturally and economically so important for the development of the areas where they are implemented. This time I visited the oldest distillery in the world, located in county Antrim, Northern Ireland, the Old Bushmills Distillery. This Irish distillery has been transforming “water into gold” since 1608. To make whiskey you only need three things: barley, starch and water. This process has five stages: malting (where the barley is soaked in water), mashing (the process of extracting sugars from the barley originating what is called wort), fermentation (the wort goes into stainless steel tanks to turn the sugars into alcohol, this liquid is called wash and the percentage of alcohol is very small, only 8%), distillation (the wash is distilled three times and the liquid at this stage has an alcoholic strength of 80%) and maturation (where the spirit is put into oak casks of three types: bourbon, sherry and Madeira casks, all of them are second hand casks. The ones that are going to produce older whiskeys and therefore more expensive are stored in Port Wine (sherry) and Madeira casks). The Bushmills Single Malt Whiskey 21 year old can cost £150 per bottle!
For more information visit: https://www.bushmills.com/distillery/
- Marble Arch Caves
Located in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland the Marble Arch Caves are a UNESCO Global Geopark. Those limestone caves are the longest known cave system in Northern Ireland with 11.5 Km. Located in a stunning area here you will have the chance to see and explore the formation of stalactites and stalagmites. Although the caves were only found in the 19th century by Édouard-Alfred Martel, these limestone caves are millions of years old.
If you are planning to visit the caves don’t forget to book in advance.
The guides will take you down to the underground caves where the journey starts with a boat trip through the chambers. The rest of the journey you will be walking so make sure you bring comfortable shoes. Some of the caves’ formations are amazing. Did you know that a stalactite can take 100 years to grow just one millimetre?
Be prepared to do some stepping and the journey ends with a climb of 150 stairs. Don’t complain, it’s good to keep you fit!
For more information: https://www.marblearchcavesgeopark.com/marble-arch-caves/visitor-information/
- The Gobbins Cliff Path
Located in County Antrim, Northern Ireland the Gobbins Cliff Path is in a spectacular, dramatic location overlooking the Irish sea.
The original path opened in 1902 thanks to a visionary called Berkeley Deane Wise, a chief engineer from the railway company who saw the potential of this area in attracting visitors to this beautiful location. But due to the high costs of maintaining the path it was closed during the second world war. The new path re-opened in 2014.
The journey starts at the Gobbins visitor centre. Don’t forget to book in advance. There you will watch a video explaining the place. You will be provided with a helmet and if you don’t have appropriate boats don’t worry, they will provide that as well. A short bus journey will take you with your guide to the Gobbins. The tour has a duration of approximately 2,5 hours. A steep descend will take you to the Wise’s Eye, a narrow entrance that will unravel a magical world with paths (some narrow), bridges, the crashing waves, a cave and the climax, the bird watching. This place harbours puffins, guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes and shags.
In a clear day you have views to Scotland and the Rathlin Island (you can see my post about this mesmerizing island: https://susanastravels.com/2018/12/09/rathlin-island/)
Then get ready for the way back and climb 100 stairs and a steep path that will bring you back to the mini bus. A very good workout for your heart!
For more outstanding places in Northern Ireland, have a look at the following posts: