Our Causeway Coast – So much history with natives living off this land for thousands of years
The Causeway Coast
How to get to The Causeway Coast
By Bus or Rail
The Causeway Coast is well placed on the motorway and rail network so getting here is easy with regular bus and train services.
George Best Belfast City Airport. The airport is about 53 miles away. The 1 hour 10 minutes journey to The Causeway Coast can be easily made using the bus or train services.
Belfast International Airport. The airport is about 42 miles away. The 1 hour journey to The Causeway Coast can be easily made using the bus or train services.
Causeway Coast History & Food Heritage –
No1 Regional Destination (Lonely Planet 2018)
The very first human settlement in Ireland was established in Coleraine during the Mesolithic Age when people with a new way of life arrived on the island. These mesolithic people hunted, fished and gathered along the banks of the River Bann from 10,000 – 6,000 years ago. They were the first farmers and brought new seeds & animals. Archeologists exposed a settlement dating back to 7600-7900BC in 1970s. They found the remains of an ancient village of up to 7 buildings with hearths intact in Mountsandel. Excavations at this site provided an insight into their diet.
What made these folks settle in the Bann Valley was the abundance of fish. Their diet would have been varied and very good; pork from wild pigs, salmon & eel from the river, hare, game birds and all sorts of herbs, seeds, nuts and berries which they would have gathered locally. This diet enabled these ancient settlers to thrive & the excavations proved they were able to sustain throughout the seasons – pig bones indicated Spring, salmon, eel & seabass bones – late Summer, apple seed & hazelnut kernels – Autumn.
These excavations give us an insight to how our ancient cultures sustained themselves in a challenging environment using the natural resources of the land, river and sea.
At Causeway Coast Foodie Tours, our Experiences introduce guests to the origins of food and its intimate relationship with a healthy environment; one that sees responsible farming, fishing and resource management as critical to the responsible production of healthy food which shapes our future lifestyle culture. Our farming, fishing and culinary communities will explain how their custodianship nurtures that environment today and results in the fresh, sustainable, produce you can taste. During our Experiences (Catch and Sea®, Coast and Country, Heart & Soul, Bespoke or Masterclass events), we will help you understand the foodchain, the environment and its interdependence; how you can help sustainably manage the environment by informed support for responsible farming and production.
At the heart of the area lies the Giant’s Causeway – Northern Ireland’s sole World Heritage Site and one of only three in the island of Ireland. The Giant’s Causeway is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic fissure eruption
Dexter cattle (a native Irish Breed) have recently been introduced by the National Trust to graze on ‘The Bay of Cows’ here. Livestock have not grazed on this site in over 50 years; this initiative will help boost populations of wildflowers, insects and even a rare micro-snail at the UNESCO World Heritage Site. This cattle breed descended from the predominately black cattle of the early Celts. Pedigree Dexter beef, which comes in smaller family sized joints and cuts, cooks superbly because of the excellent marbling, eats like a dream and has a deeper (but not strong) flavour. Look for it on the best local restaurant menus and on selected Coast and Country Experiences.
The village of Bushmills is famous as the home of Bushmills Whiskey – the oldest licensed (1608) whiskey distillery in the world. It produces a range of selected whiskey, some of which can only be purchased, or tasted, in the distillery. The distillery uses a combination of barrels to produce the distinctive flavours of Bushmills whiskey. Bushmills also distils very limited runs of whiskey that are matured in carefully selected Acacia, Malaga and Muscatel barrels. Exclusive tastings, led by experts, are offered by Causeway Coast Foodie Tours.
Bushmills is also famous for its position on the Bush River where Atlantic Salmon spawn each year. It is also the site for a salmon research facility that studies the salmon and raises salmon fry before its release into the river. This is celebrated in a collaboration between many of our preferred suppliers in the annual Bushmills Salmon & Whiskey Festival which showcases local food & drink producers with a flavour of song, dance and heritage.
Along the coast to the East lies the coastal village and harbour of Ballycastle, the departure point for Rathlin Island. It is home to more of our preferred suppliers: Naturally North Coast Artisan Market which showcases many local food artisans including those with accreditation from ‘Great Taste Awards’, Blas na hEireann and Economusee; North Coast Smokehouse which hot smokes local Glenarm organic salmon, rock salt, pepper & dulse; Islander Kelp (right) who produce the best pesto from local kelp; Ursa Minor that makes world award-winning sourdough breads and delicious choux pastries; Tony’s Griddle Goods who hand-makes world award-winning traditional irish griddle breads, scones, pancakes all with a twist – including champ potato bread to die for!
Broughgammon Farm and Glenarm Redspark Lamb (left) are just two of our specialists farms that guests can choose between to experience. In the adjacent Glens, growers produce historic potato species, used to manufacture local potato crisps and are celebrated as part of the NI Potato Festival. Along the way you can choose to make Irish breads, jams or chutneys with a local farmer’s wife, at Jam at the Doorstep, using local ingredients and fresh produce from the farm. Coast and Country is the showcase for these and many other tasty activities.
To the east of Bushmills, perched on a cliff-top near Portrush is Dunluce Castle, the remains of the ancestral home of Clan McDonnell. Close to this headland, the Girona, a ship of the Spanish Armada foundered; in 1960s, divers discovered the wreck off Lacada Point and recovered treasure (right) from the ship. There was a brewery on site at Dunluce; the water quality could not be trusted back then so the fermentation process made this safer to drink – their motto ‘Drink Beer not Water’…. This tradition carries on today with Lacada craft brewery in Portrush which produces a range of ales, beers and stouts; its name a tribute to the Girona legend!
It is part of the castle’s legend that it lost part of its kitchens to the sea in a storm, along with almost all its kitchen staff, after which the wife of its owner (The Earl of Antrim), refused to stay there any longer.
Further along the coast, are the towns of Portrush, Portstewart, Coleraine and Limavady, in which we have preferred suppliers collaborating on our award-winning Catch and Sea®, Heart and Soul, and Coast and Country Experiences. Each of the towns is famous in their own standing for hosting international events – The Open Golf Championships (right) at Royal Portrush Golf Club (1951/2019), RedSails Music Festival, annual NW200 Motorcycle Road Races (left), Irish Open Golf Championship, The Danny Boy Jazz Festival, Stendhal Festival: each may be combined with one or more of our Experiences.
Prepare to be enchanted as you set off at dawn from beautiful Portstewart harbour to catch your own breakfast (Catch and Sea) and learn about our local marine life; walk through local Farmers’ markets and later learn about the skills of; growing/rearing fresh farm produce, making award-winning rapeseed oil and the famous Broighter Gold Hoard (left) it is named after, rare breed chorizo/charcuterie, fresh seafood, Irish Tapas, chocolate or ice-cream (and of course tasting these!) (Coast & Country); spend an evening tasting and learning about our local food and drink as you walk between venues in Portrush or Portstewart (Heart and Soul); shuck a local oyster from the Foyle and taste it along with a fresh pint of the famous black stuff in one of our venues!
Across the whole area, as you travel, you will chance upon venues familiar to you from television, be it the Championship Golf Links courses (3) or scenes from TV/Movie, Game of Thrones or The Northman.
These are just a few of the attractions in the Causeway Coast that in 2019 was judged 2nd Best Foodie Destination in Ireland by the Restaurants Association of Ireland.
Causeway Coast Foodie Tours invite you to Explore our hidden treasures,Taste the produce grown or reared here and relax enjoying the “craic”as part of our welcoming foodie family!
Causeway Coast Wildlife –
The Causeway Coast & Glens is an area resplendent with many Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, superb wildlife refuges and a World Heritage site.
These provide ideal excellent conditions for preservation of a diverse array of flora, fauna and biota.
Wildlife spotting may be enjoyed across all of our experiences. Look out for; a variety of marine life – fish species such as; mackerel, pollock & whiting, shellfish – lobster & brown crab, seals, porpoises & dolphins; farm animals (including rare & native breeds) – cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, chickens; native wildlife; donkeys, birdlife, otters, bees & butterflies.
Our Experiences introduce guests to the origins of food and its intimate relationship with a healthy environment; one that sees responsible farming, fishing and resource management as critical to the responsible production of healthy food which shapes our future lifestyle culture.
We will help you Explore the Causeway Coast – the first human settlement in Ireland during the Bronze Age in Mountsandel Forest, adjacent to the Lower Bann River – and understand how a culture sustained itself using the natural resources of the land, rivers and sea.
Our farming, fishing and culinary communities will explain how their custodianship nurtures the environment and results in the fresh, sustainable produce you can Taste. During our Experiences (Catch and Sea®, Coast and Country, Heart & Soul, Bespoke or Masterclass events), we will help you understand the foodchain, the environment and its interdependence; how you can help sustainably manage the environment by informed support for responsible farming and production.
Explore and Taste the Causeway Coast with our tours