Bushmills Salmon & Whiskey Festival will make a welcome return this autumn to celebrate the food, drink and local heritage of the area.The village will host the festival on the weekend of 6th – 8th October, with lots to look forward to. The programme includes a wide variety of activites and events - including fantastic food and drink samplings and cookery demonstrations, unique bespoke hosted foodie tours and experiences, a self guided Taste Trail to sample delicious festival dishes, cocktails and specials. There'll be live music as well as great street entertainment, a range of fun kids activities, craft activities and workshops, fly casting and tying and much more!
Foodies will be able to indulge in the wonderful locally produced food and drink, with a focus on salmon and whiskey. Visitors will be enjoy the local warm hospitality of the village at both the Bushmills Distillery and the Naturally North Coast & Glens Artisan Market and at all the venues throughout the village. The distillery will be open during the festival weekend running regular tours, while the Artisan market and showcase and samplings will offer the opportunity to meet the makers behind the local produce, purchase unique handmade crafts and more.
Many independent businesses are involved to help make the festival a success, as well as involvement from local chefs, including Gary Stewart from Tartine at The Distillers Arms. Celebrity chef Paula McIntrye will be attending over the weekend and will be hosting a number of cookery demonstrations on Saturday and Sunday.
The event is part funded by DAERA – NI Regional Food Programme, supported by the Bushmills Business Association.
Friday, October 6
The Visitor Information Centre will be open from 9am to 5pm throughout the 3 days of the festival, providing information and on Saturday and Sunday is also the venue for Naturally North Coast & Glens Artisan showcase and samplings of local food products, hosted by Wendy Gallagher of Causeway Coast Foodie Tours.
A unique Coast & Countryside tour will be available throughout the day, exploring the bespoke offering Bushmills has to offer, hosted by local foodie expert Wendy Gallagher (pre-booking required via causewaycoastfoodietours.com).
The self guided Bushmills Taste Trail is available all day from 0930am, with the chance to visit various locations and venues to enjoy festival dishes, cocktails and specials.
From 1pm until 5pm free floral art workshops will run at Bushmills Community Garden, in partnership with the Bushmills Courthouse Programme, with bookings directly through the Courthouse Programme.
Another highlight of Friday evening is the Bushmills ‘Dine around Town’, a unique food and drink experience created to indulge visitors with bespoke menus using the finest quality local produce. This is a ticketed event with limited places.
The wonderful Sam Stewart will be performing at Bush House Bar to set the mood to kick-off the festival weekend.
Saturday, October 7
Enjoy exploring Bushmills and guide yourself through the Taste Trail, taking in the smells and flavours on offer. The many great restaurants and cafes in the village welcome you to try a variety of fresh local dishes embracing locally sourced ingredients, especially Salmon and/or Whiskey.
Bushmills Distillery will be open during the weekend and hosting regular tours - pre booking recommended.
Learn the art of Fly Tying and Fly Casting as well as learn more about salmon fishing from Mark Patterson of Loop Tackle and his team of anglers.
Enjoy a wide range of arts and crafts, workshops and sampling at The Designerie, including the Taste Causeway Artisan Showcase and various tastings including gin, spices, whiskey and crisps.
From 11am to 5pm today visit Naturally North Coast & Glens Artisan Market. The Market will also run on Sunday.
From 12 until 2pm enjoy the stilt walkers on Main Street.
Cookery demonstrations start from 1200 noon today, with celebrity chef Paula McIntyre MBE at historic Sharvagh House.
From 12 to 5pm at the Visitor Information Centre, there's the Naturally North Coast & Glens Artisan showcase and samplings of local food products, hosted by Wendy Gallagher of Causeway Coast Foodie Tours.
From 1pm until 8pm enjoy a fantastic range of live music at various venues and locations across the village.
Sunday, October 8
Sunday is another full day packed with activities and events. From 10am until 11pm follow the Bushmills Taste Trail to visit various venues across town and sample the delicious dishes, cocktails and festival specials.
Tours at Bushmills Distillery start from 10am until 430pm, running every 15 minutes - booking recommended.
Head to Millennium Park from 10am to 5pm to learn more about the art of Fly Tying and Fly Casting from Mark Patterson of Loop Tackle and his team of anglers. From 12pm until 5pm Philip Jackson of Crafty Catcher will be running a crafty game of catching fish.
From 11am until 12noon today there's Quiet Time at Millennium Park with a range of quiet sessions for those with additional needs.
Naturally North Coast & Glens Artisan Market will be in full swing today from 11am to 5pm.
At the Visitor Information Centre from 12 until 5pm, enjoy the Naturally North Coast & Glens Artisan showcase and samplings of local food produce.
Kids Crafts and other kids activities start from 12pm until 5pm today with a broad range of great activities from have a go sessions to bushcraft, circus skills, balloon modelling, falconry, a farm to fork play area, biodiversity activites and visits from the RSBP and Ulster Wildlife.
The themed stilt walkers will be back on Main Street to keep everyone entertained from 12 until 2pm.
Cookery demonstrations start from 1230pm until 430pm today, on Main Street and at Sharvagh House, including celebrity chef Paula McIntyre MBE, Niall McGinn from Dundarave Estate, Craig Garrett of Atlantic Hotel, NRC student Tyler Campbell, Rob Curley of Slemish Market Supper Club and Gary Stewart of Tartine.
Live music begins from 1pm today until 5pm with a range of great performers at various locations and venues including street entertainment.
From 130pm until 415pm visit The Designerie for the Taste Causeway Artisan Showcase, as well as kids arts & crafts, workshops and samplings - including Gin Tasting and booking signing with celebrity chef Paula McIntyre MBE, sampling of whiskey inspired products with Niall McGinn from Dundarave Estate and Irish coffee making demonstration featuring Causeway Coffee and Chestnutt Farm's products.
For full details and timings of all the festival activities CLICK HERE to see the full festival programme and timings, the Taste Trail map and a selection of FAQs, to help with your planning.
The Visitor Information Centre will be open throughout the weekend to provide festival information.
Please note, DAERA has advised Council that, due to budget constraints, it is sadly unable to open up the River Bush Salmon Station to the public as part of this year’s festival, as it had done in the past.