Dine around Bushmills March 2022 - worth the wait!

@distillerspicklesauce @embracethegiantspirit @everythingobsessedblog @glensofantrimdistillery @maegden @marketsquarebushmills @northcoastchocolates @oldbushmillsdistillery @slowfoodni @taste causeway @thefrenchrooms @visitcausewaycoastandglens @wishuponacake Apr 06, 2022

Dine around Bushmills took off on Friday 25th March 2022 and was an extraordinary evening. Plans were on hold since March 2020 due to the pandemic but all the energies into making the first Dine around Bushmills the best yet was worth it. 

This special evening started at the historic Old Bushmills Distillery. Guests were welcomed by tour director Gary Stewart, Chef Proprietor of Tartine at Distillers Arms, with a selection of delicious canapes and Old Bushmills Distillery's signature cocktail, The Whiskey margarita, a nod to the distilleries Mexican connections!


Off to the atmospheric red-brick Warehouse No. 2 for a special whiskey tasting of 3 popular variations, guests were given exclusive access to the heart of the distillery. In addition, they learned something about what makes Bushmills whiskey such a worldwide success.


Jump onboard

A beautifully restored vintage coach is the only way to travel around the village, Cross Country Coaches based in Coleraine, Co. Londonderry provides this unique 1950s Bedford coach to transport guests between eateries. Full of character, this vintage coach is available to book for special events by contacting Richard https://www.crosscountrycoaches.net/


After the whiskey tasting, it was time to head to one of Bushmills' new licensed cafe/bistro Market Square. Located at the Diamond, this trendy eaterie is housed on the site of the original market built in 1827, which operated twice-weekly, selling linen yarn, grains, eggs, poultry and livestock!

Neil Campbell bravely took over the vacant building during lockdown and breathed new life into what was more recently known as the Old Northern Bank building. Neil has another successful cafe in Coleraine, New Society but has realised his dream of opening an establishment in his home town.


Aptly named Market Square served one of their most popular dishes Irish Wild Mushrooms on toast. Creamy wild mushrooms served on sourdough toast, drizzled with Broighter Gold oil infused with truffles and topped with St. Gall's cheese shaving from Maegden's cheese counter Bushmills and garnished with microgreens from The Greenhouse brothers. The creamy sauce was so good that diners were interested to know that the dish is available on the current menu as a main course portion. Market Square is on Facebook and Instagram.


Neil serves a selection of beers from Lacada Brewery Portrush and, having talked to the guys at the brewery, settled on their 'Stew Steamer' as a tasting, a Californian style ale with light caramel maltiness. Deliciously refreshing and light enough to compliment the creamy wild mushroom dish.

The next stop was close enough to walk to, but guests couldn't resist jumping back on board to tell Richard how great the food was at Market Square! The French Rooms welcomed guests for the second course of the evening entitled Fish, chips & fizz!

Stella Bolton and her team love an event, an excuse to do something slightly different. She served three miniature dishes, including one of her very favourite recipes, courtesy of the great Rick Stein - Bouillabaisse, rouille & sourdough. Guests were also served their popular Crab & smoked salmon parcels, tempura monkfish goujons, and pommes pont neuf with a curried mayo! Served with the only fizz worthy of a Dine around event - Graham Beck Brut, the presidential choice. Could Bushmills be the next Padstow? 

Back onboard for another chance to tease Richard the driver about what he missed and on to Tartine at Distillers Arms. This award-winning restaurant is at the forefront of the development of the food scene in Bushmills. It is now an award-winning producer to add to its impressive accolades with the launch of its range of Distillers sauces featured on the Dine around Bushmills menu. Gary and his team served the perfect warming dish for a chilly March evening. Broughgammon rose veal was slowly braised and served with Irish venison bonbons, romanesco, potato fondant, and a wild garlic emulsion which Gary foraged at dawn on the morning of the Dine around. 

Paul and Colin curated the accompanied wine selection and went for Kiwi Cove from New Zealand. This Malborough Sauvignon Blanc is renowned for its Moreish richly textured mouthfeel with a chic nose and broad palate of green mango, kiwi, pear and citrus. Tangy notes rein in flavours and an E Vino, Malbec from Argentina.  Attractive red colour with violet hues and aromas of intense ripe fruit, cherries, blackberries, blueberries, and fresh plums, combined with spicy and floral hints. The sweet and round tannins increase the fruit sensation and balance in the mouth. A wine of sound intensity, concentration and long after taste. 


The fifth course was 'Textures of lemon', a citrusy array of sweet delights including lemon posset, Italian lemon meringue, lemon ice cream, and a soon-to-be-launch product by the talented Gary Stewart, Distillers Raspberry and Apple sauce which complimented the lemon themed dessert perfectly. Gary worked with another newly launched business in Bushmills' Wish upon a cake'. Chris and Natasha McKendry have a successful bakery and retail business in Gortin, wowing the masses with their treat bags, celebration cakes and indulgent bake. But Chris is a Bushmills man and convinced the talented Natasha to give it a go. The new bakery is going down a treat. Cronuts,  sweet scotch eggs, tray bakes & coffees are flying out the door every weekend. Natasha baked a mini version of her popular lemon muffin for the Dine around Bushmills guests, which worked really well with the other flavours & textures.


The sixth course was another collaborative affair! Bushmills is bursting with excitement about having its very own Deli/cheese shop. Maegden is the newly launched shop on the main street selling the most delicious range of carefully sourced produce from around the country. Shelves are filled with local produce across the Taste Causeway family and farther afield with the most impressive cheese counter with all the delicious cheeseboard accessories and accompaniments to hand. Emma and Jo have a dedicated following from their time on Causeway road serving their epic cheese toasties, hot chocolates and pastries from their cute van Mini Maegden. They produce their own cheese, and they were the obvious choice to curate the cheeseboard for the Dine around Bushmills. They chose Young Buck from artisan producers Mike from Mikes fancy cheese, made in Newtownards. It is a raw milk "stilton style" cheese. It is aged for a minimum of 12 weeks. They make their cheese from milk from Smyth McCann's herd of 150 Holstein Friesian cows. Young buck was served alongside another artisan cheese from the other end of the island, Coolea. Coolea Cheese is hand made on the mountain farm of the Willems family in Coolea Co. Cork.

Nothing but 100% healthy fresh cow's milk is used to produce this high-quality cheese. Mild and creamy with a distinct flavour suitable for every occasion.  The cheese board was served with Distillers Pickle Sauce created in small batches by Gary Stewart using the very best ingredients, including Black Bush whiskey and Armagh apples. Distillers pickle sauce won a gold medal award in the Blas an hEireann taste awards.

'The swing of the gate'

Tour Director Gary Stewart took the guests on a magical mystery tour, out the front door of Tartine with a promise of an exclusive nightcap in an unforgettable venue. Palmers Mill was candlelit from the exterior, and the guests were led into this old corn mill built between 1825 and 1850. This incredible building was restored by Sam and Jan Huey (RIP) and is currently managed by the Irish Landmark Trust.

Mills have played a significant part in the history of Bushmills, and some of our diners recalled stories over the decades recalling times when the building was in full operation. So, we cracked open a bottle of the newly launched Lir whiskey from the Glens of Antrim Distillery. Green Crest is a  smooth whiskey with a rich, warm finish with caramel and chocolate undertones. We paired this delicious whiskey with a selection of North Coast Chocolates which we purchased from the Taste Causeway section at the Designerie Bushmills.

To purchase Lir or find out more about this new distilleries plans, check our www.glensofantrimdistillery,com.

The evening ended as guests floated out of Palmers Mill, fed, watered and full of Bushmills spirit in more ways than one! We have gratefully received some fantastic comments on our social pages. We want to thank Neil and his team at Market Square, Natasha & Chris at Wish Upon a Cake, Emma and Jo at Maegden, Michael, Julie, Laura & Kim from Old Bushmills Distillery and of course, Richard from Cross Country Coaches.  Special thanks to Joe from Causeway Media Solutions, who followed us around with his camera so discreetly that we forgot to feed him! Sorry Joe,  but we look forward to seeing your footage as part of the Experience Bushmills project.

Our blog would not be complete without giving a shout out to 'our blogger' the delightful Elizabeth Keenan, who visited the area for a weekend of adventure with her amazing Mum, Chris. Chris has been bringing groups of visitors around the island for years and spent the evening plotting opportunities to bring visitors to Bushmills. Elizabeth threw herself into every activity with the most charming enthusiasm and positivity, and we could not have asked for a better Dine around guest.  Check out her blog and follow her antics.

Dine around Bushmills is our opportunity to showcase a snapshot of what we have to offer here in Bushmills. We love collaborating with others and look forward to developing this unique experience further over the coming year!


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