Home COMMUNITY A Spirited Collaboration – Bushmills Community Celebrates Salmon & Whiskey Festival through...

A Spirited Collaboration – Bushmills Community Celebrates Salmon & Whiskey Festival through Barrel Art Project


In a display of community spirit and creativity, residents, community groups and local businesses in Bushmills worked together to design and paint whiskey barrels for the Salmon and Whiskey Festival.

Jotted in various locations across the village over the festival weekend, the beautifully transformed barrels provided a unique glimpse into the history, culture and natural beauty of Bushmills for locals and visitors to enjoy.

Organised as part of the €7.8m Bushmills Courthouse project; and supported by Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, and the Department of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs, this collaborative project brought together individuals, community groups and businesses to showcase their love for their village through artistic expression. The barrels were generously provided by Bushmills Distillery.

Local artists Michelle McGarvey, Sarah Carrington, and Linda Mullholland played a pivotal role in facilitating the project, helping participants turn simple whiskey barrels into intricate works of art.

A special celebration event for those involved was held the night before the festival at Bushmills Distillery, as well as a live barrel painting session at Millenium Park with the three artists involved.

Summarising the project, Enterprise Causeway CEO, Jayne Taggart reflected: “It was wonderful to witness the barrels as a focal point of the Salmon and Whiskey festival, with many commenting and posting about them as the ‘Barrels of Bushmills’ and seeing people with the flyer enjoying locating them and learning the story behind each one.

“A special thanks to Bushmills Distillery for providing the blank canvases and to Council for approaching us with the opportunity to deliver. Also, to our three artists, who deserve immense credit for their role in bringing these barrels to life. Their guidance allowed our community’s stories to be beautifully woven into every design. And finally, to those who took part. It was great to see a real mix of individuals, community groups and local businesses rolling up their sleeves, coming up with these designs and perfectly capturing the rich heritage of Bushmills for others to enjoy.”

The ten barrels featured over the weekend included:

Bushmills Inn:Offering a cosy depiction of the historic Bushmills Inn, evoking images of warm hospitality and the comfort of a glass of Bushmills whiskey by a crackling fire.

The Ivy Leaf:Reflecting on the ‘old’ Bushmills, this barrel explored hidden historical sites, landmarks, and the enduring friendships formed over the years between this group of local ladies.

Market Square:Owner Neil’s barrel invited onlookers on a culinary journey through the diverse flavours of local Bushmills and Causeway food and drink producers, all of which centred around the iconic Clock Tower.

Bushmills Community Association:Celebrating the heart of Bushmills, this barrel showcased the groups community garden (located at the old Distillery field, via Woodvale); as well as other iconic landmarks such as the Distillery and salmon.

Maegden: Owners Emma and Jo’s creation delved into the history of 119 Main Street, celebrating the past, present, and flavours of the beloved local deli.

Portballintrae Residents Association:Providing a bird’s-eye perspective of the picturesque Portballintrae bay, this barrel captured the beauty of the region’s landmarks and hidden gems.

Amanda McIlhatton:Paying tribute to coopers and the craft of whiskey-making, Amanda’s barrel embodied the deep connection between the Bushmills community and the Distillery.

James Bennet:James’ barrel offered a picturesque representation of Bushmills’ castles, bridges and the enduring presence of the River Bush.

Stella Hewitt:With the barrel representing a whiskey glass, Stella’s artwork showcased a leaping salmon, capturing the essence of the river, heritage and the power of artistic passion.

Bushmills Distillery:Distillery employees Julie and Kim’s design raised a toast to the world-renowned Bushmills Distillery, incorporating local songs and a touch of nostalgia.

To view more details about these barrels visit:https://tinyurl.com/5xkxax9x