Bushmills Distillery is the oldest working distillery in Ireland. Founded in 1608, it has been known as the Old Bushmills Distillery since 1784. A fire destroyed the distillery in 1880, but it was rebuilt, and the 1890s proved to be a heyday for the company as it won numerous prizes, including the only gold medal for whiskey at the 1889 Paris Expo.
Visitors to the distillery can take a guided tour and then leave with a bottle of Distillery Reserve 12-year Single Malt Whiskey, only available from the gift shop. Tours start at the mash house, where the distilling process begins, and continue on to the still house, where whiskeys are distilled three times. The tour concludes in the bottling hall, where whiskey is bottled before being sent all around the world.
The distillery is located just south of the Giant’s Causeway on the northeast coast and is best reached by car or organized tour. It is open year round, although there is a silent season each year when production ceases. Guided 40-minute walking tours are available for 7.50 pounds and leave throughout the day between 9:15 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday and between noon and 4 p.m. on Sundays. Children under the age of 8 are not allowed on tours, and children under 18 are only allowed to visit as part of a family group. Cameras are not allowed on tours.