29 Sep 2022
The Northern Irish city of Lisburn and its neighbouring towns and villages have much to offer the visitor, whatever their interests.
A short hop from Belfast is the small city of Lisburn where an afternoon can be enjoyably spent strolling through its eighteenth-century streets and charming parks.
The Irish Linen Centre & Lisburn Museum is certainly well worth a visit. Its award-winning, permanent exhibition, ‘Flax to Fabric: the Story of Irish Linen’, explores the rich history of linen production in Ulster, from the earliest times to the present.
There are live spinning and weaving demonstrations by expert guides and in the linen collection gallery, visitors can view fine samples of seventeenth-century Coulson’s damask whose linen was bought by royal houses all over Europe.
Beyond Lisburn lies the pretty village of Hillsborough, the location of one of Northern Ireland’s top visitor attractions.
Hillsborough Castle is the official residence of HRH King Charles and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when they visit the region. The castle and gardens are open to the public and guided tours are available of the grand Throne Room, State Drawing Room, Lady Grey's Study, State Dining Room, Red Room and Stair Hall.
The tours tell the fascinating history of the building – technically not a castle but a traditional Irish Georgian house – and recount stories of the many important visitors it has welcomed and events that have taken place within its walls.
Surrounding the castle are 100 acres of exquisite gardens, including ornamental lawns, a Walled Garden, the Lost Garden, meandering waterways and picturesque glens.
Castle Gardens, Lisburn.
Whiskey aficionados will enjoy a trip to nearby Hinch Distillery, a grain to glass distillery. It was custom built to produce a particular style of Irish Single Malt Whiskey using water from the Mourne Mountains and traditional Irish mashing processes.
Guided tours give an insight into the distilling process and there is the opportunity to taste the award-winning whiskey.
If gin is more to your taste, book a class at the Stillhouse in Moira, a picturesque village not far from Lisburn. The interactive experience includes choosing your botanicals, distilling, bottling, and labelling your own 700ml spirit.
To round off your visit to the area there are numerous high-quality restaurants where you can enjoy fine dining. Among them are Wine & Brine, Moira, the multi award-winning Michelin Guide restaurant.
In Hillsborough, the Hillside gastropub serves hearty food and local draught ales; it first opened its doors in 1752. And in Lisburn, the Square Bistro offers modern cuisine made with the best ingredients Northern Ireland has to offer.
Tour Guide (Terry McCartan), Hinch Distillery Tours, Killaney Estate, Co. Down
Irish Linen Centre, Lisburn.
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