Scottish Tour Guide's Blog

CatsWhiskersTours provide unique tour experiences tailored to suit you. Call +44 (0) 141 638 5500

Antrim Town Centre, Northern Ireland

This afternoon, I visited the pleasant market town of Antrim in Northern Ireland in course of journey from Londonderry to Belfast.

The population of Antrim is about 20,000. The town impresses as prosperous with a wide range of shops, banks and churches. Close to the town centre runs the Six Mile Water, a small but fast flowing river.

Antrim is just half a mile to the east of Lough Neagh, a large lake. The distance to Belfast is 22 miles (35 km.)

 

All Saints’ Church, Antrim, Northern Ireland

Colourful Shop Front, Antrim, Northern Ireland

Entrance Gate to now demolished Antrim Castle, Ireland

Six Mile Water, ntrim, Northern ireland

Six Mile Water, Antrim, Northern Ireland

 

 

River Foyle at Londonderry, Northern Ireland

This morning, we departed our hotel on the outskirts of Londonderry and walked about 1 mile along the bank of the River Foyle into central Londonderry. Here we joined a small group walking tour which to or within sight of:

  • Historic 17th century city walls, the most complete in U.K.
  • Church of Ireland Cathedral.
  • 17th century cannons.
  • A portioned area containing an isolated and gated Protestant community.
  • The Catholic, Bogside area with extensive murals influenced by the infamous ‘troubles’ of 1970s and 1980s.
  • Various churches.
  • The early 20th century, Guildhall.
  • City centre and war memorial.
  • Peace Bridge over the River Foyle.

City Gate, Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Mural in Bogside, Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Bogside, Londonderry, Northern Ireland

War Memorial in Londonderry City Centre, Ireland

Peace Bridge, Londonderry, Northern Ireland

City Wall, Londonderry, Northern Ireland

 

Irish Pub, Derry, Ireland

 

Our guide was very objective and provided a non-partisan history of Londonderry dating from the original English Plantations ( colony) of the 16th and 17th centuries through the mass emigrations of the 19th and 20th centuries, key strategic role in WW2 to the sectarian conflicts and civil rights movements of the 1970s and 1980s.

Londonderry ( or Derry) gives an impression of being at peace with itself and provides a good tourist destination.

Bushmills Town Centre, Northern Ireland

 

Bushmills Post Office, Northern Ireland

This morning we departed our lodgings at Glenmore Guest House near Ballintoy and proceeded as follows:

First to the stunning coastline of Larrybane near the access site to Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. The geology here is mainly limestone. Here a former quarry has featured in several key scenes in Game of Thrones. the beach area is stunning with extensive huge caves carved out of the limestone cliffs. Experience enhanced with heavy seas and surf coming in off the Atlantic Ocean.

Limestone Caves at Larrybane, Northern Ireland

Surf at Larrybane Coastline, Northern Ireland

 

Larrybane, Northern Ireland

 

Next, we drove east to the town of Bushmills where we stopped for refreshment before moving on to nearby Buashmills Distillery.

 

Bushmills Distillery, Northern Ireland

Bushmills Irish Whiskey, Northern Ireland

At Bushmills Distillery we joined the standard 45 minute tour to learn about the whiskey making process from Malting and mashing through fermentation to distillation and maturation. The process is essentially identical to that used by distilleries in Scotland except (a) the spirit is distilled three times and (b) no peat is used. Bushmills is owned by drinks conglomerate, Diageo and as such has many sister distilleries in Scotland. The Bushmills range includes blends and single malts all under the same Bushmills brand.

After lunch at the Distillery we continued west to visit Dunluce Castle, an impressive positioned on the coast which dates from the 17th century. By time of our arrival at Dunluce the weather had become very overcast and windy but, thankfully, the threatened rain did not materialise.

Dunluce Castle, Northern Ireland

 

Finally, we arrived at our destination of Londonderry where we checked into our hotel. Tomorrow, we plan a walking tour of the city.