Home of Irish whiskey woos tourists with fake shops

By Cathal McNaughton

BUSHMILLS, Northern Ireland (Reuters) - One of the homes of Irish whiskey is fighting an economic downturn by investing in art projects to brighten up derelict shops and houses - an approach it says is boosting tourist numbers.

The idea of cosmetically enhancing villages in Northern Ireland, a British province still recovering from three decades of sectarian violence, gained much publicity before a meeting of G8 leaders there in June.

Bushmills, best known as the town where the whiskey of the same name was distilled for the first time 400 years ago, has taken the practice to an extent that the village is becoming recognisable for highly detailed artwork and graphics that brighten up its main street.

It is notable for the scale of the project - around a dozen vacant units have been given a facelift, including an old-style cobblers where a worker in a flat cap mends shoes. A bakery with appetising bread and cakes is depicted up the road with a barber shop and bookmakers nearby.

Windows and doors have been painted on to empty houses, complete with people observing passersby outside. Elsewhere, Farmyard animals are drawn coming out of shop doors.

"Being a tourist village, there was quite a lot of emphasis put on trying to bring about an uplift and see could it be the catalyst for further economic development in the town," said Aidan McPeake, director of environmental services for the local council.

"That seems to be the case now, the village has been very popular this year. It's been very successful."

Two of the shops brightened up with art over the past year are no longer vacant, McPeake said.

The Northern Ireland government has spent 2 million pounds to tackle dereliction over the past two years and stickers were applied to windows in areas near the luxury golf resort where G8 leaders met to give the impression that business was booming.

But the "Brighter Bushmills Project" was set up by locals last year and supported by the local council, which is among the least well-funded in the North.

They raised 30,000 pounds, some of which was donated by the local distillery, and the shopfronts depicted are more detailed and colourful than elsewhere. A second phase, developed with the help of government funds, was completed in March of this year.

As a gateway to the Giant's Causeway, the famous collection of interlocking rock formations considered a World Heritage Centre by the United Nations' cultural agency, Bushmills hopes the initiative will make sure the tourists keep coming.

"Obviously locals would much rather see the properties filled and in use all the time but this is definitely the next best option," McPeake said.

(Additional reporting by Padraic Halpin in Dublin)

Latest News

  • Ensure compliance to green laws, not environmental clearances: Ramesh

    New Delhi, March 27 (IANS) Notwithstanding India's need for "smart" environmental regulation, the government is working against the nation's interest by wrecking the very edifice of green laws, former environment minister Jairam Ramesh said on Friday. "India needs smart environmental regulations that are transparently enforced. Earlier, speaking at a panel discussion on his book "Green Signals: Ecology, Growth, And Democracy in India", he said: "We are endangering the ecological security in …

  • AIFW: When stylists, designers turned models for 11.11/eleven.eleven

    New Delhi, March 27 (IANS) It was a show unique in its own way as some of the known stylists, designers and editors of fashion magazines turned models for brand 11.11/eleven.eleven at the ongoing Amazon India Fashion Week (AIFW). Designer Shani Himanshu and Mia Morikawa feel that they cater to the common man and hence this different presentation. Some of the faces who walked for them were Lauren Massoulier, Rashmi Kaleka, Elton Fernandez, Rakesh Thakore, Divya Singh, Asit Bhat, Jeet Thayil, …

  • Ekta Kapoor changes show title for 'spiritual reasons'

    Mumbai, March 27 (IANS) TV tsarina Ekta Kapoor is said to have added the tagline "Yeh Kaisa Anurodh" to the title of her soap opera "Itna Karo Na Mujhe Pyar" due to spiritual and numerological reasons. According to a source, Ekta visited Amritsar earlier this month to seek blessings in the city of the Golden Temple, and when she came back, she decided to add "Yeh Kaisa Anurodh" to the Sony Entertainment Television show. The tagline is also said to be added keeping in mind the upcoming track …

  • 'Smart' audience will reject anything that is dumb: Shonali Bose

    By Kirti Arora New Delhi, Mar. 27 (ANI): Filmmaker Shonali Bose is all set for the release of her upcoming film 'Margarita With A Straw' starring Kalki Koechlin. The film, which would be released on April 17, is inspired from the filmmaker's younger cousin Malini, who has cerebral palsy. Talking about the idea behind the film, Shonali says, "On Malini's 40th birthday, I asked her what she wanted. The filmmaker while sharing her personal experience of working with Kalki says that the actress …

  • Yesudas lends his voice for 'Barefoot To Goa'

    Mumbai, March 27 (IANS) Praveen Morchhale, who is gearing up with his debut venture "Barefoot To Goa", says he managed to rope in legendary singer K.J. Yesudas, to sing a song in his film. Morchhale told IANS: "Yesudas is very choosy. Then we went to Chennai to record the song with him." While Yesudas is known to have recorded as many as 16 songs in a day, for the song "Naina do nyare" in "Barefoot To Goa", the singer took nearly four hours to record as he wanted it to turn out perfect. …

  • Court rejects Salman's plea to ban media during recording of statement

    Mumbai, March 27 (IANS) Bollywood superstar Salman Khan moved an application to ban the media during the recording of his statement in a 2002 hit-and-run case in a sessions court here on Friday but it was rejected. Judge D.W. Deshpande rejected the plea but directed the media to report only after the recording of Salman's entire statement is completed. Earlier, Salman reached the Mumbai Sessions Court at 11 a.m. to record his statement on the sequence of events pertaining to the case, which …

  • Abhay Deol finds it tough to pick 'original' films

    Mumbai, March 27 (IANS) Actor Abhay Deol says he is choosy about his films and tries to pick original and out-of-the box scripts. "I have always been choosy and try to do stuff which is original and out of (unique from) regular formula films," the actor said here on Thursday at a dance show. …

  • Rimi Dhar debuts as music director for 'Gun Pe Done'

    Mumbai, March 27 (IANS) Filmmaker Abhik Bhanu has roped in debutante music director Rimi Dhar for his film "Gun Pe Done", and he says he knows he has taken a risk. "The film's music is very peppy, edgy and soulful, just like the movie and upcoming music director Rimi Dhar. Dhar says her tunes are adept with the 'Bollywood masala'. "Director Abhik Bhanu has a dynamic quality of narrating the story and scenes really well, which helped us in the songs too. …

Loading...