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)

Most Viewed

  • Dum Laga Ke Haisha: Bhumi Pednekar’s Journey From An Assistant To A Heroine
    Dum Laga Ke Haisha: Bhumi Pednekar’s Journey From An Assistant To A Heroine

    After Parineeti, it’s Bhumi Pednekar, who is the new heroine.Weighing 85 kgs, she is obviously here to change the way we look at heroines.Rani Mukherji was at YRF recently where she saw portions of the film starring Bhumi.Rani was amazed to see the confidence and screen presence Bhumi had and asked the team to inform her whenever she is around as she personally wanted to meet Bhumi. In fact, Bhumi was also looking into the casting for Maardani and that’s when she had interacted with Rani …

  • Nawazuddin Siddqui Thinks Being Compared To Irrfan Khan Is Insulting!
    Nawazuddin Siddqui Thinks Being Compared To Irrfan Khan Is Insulting!

    We had recently reported that Irrfan Khan actually walked out of an interview when questioned about colleague Nawazuddin Siddiqui. The two have been constantly compared ever since Nawazuddin started delivering stellar performances and it is important to note that Irrfan is much more senior that Siddiqui. We now hear that Nawazuddin, who garnered a lot of acclaim for his role in Badlapur is not too happy about the comparisons either. …

  • Shah Rukh Khan Comments On Salman Khan’s Bigg Boss And Aamir Khan’s Satyamev Jayate
    Shah Rukh Khan Comments On Salman Khan’s Bigg Boss And Aamir Khan’s Satyamev Jayate

    At a press conference for his new TV game show ‘India Poochega – Sabse Shaana Kaun‘, Shah Rukh Khan was asked why he does question-answer sort of shows, to which SRK said that he likes doing that sort of TV shows. The actor went further on and gave his views on the other different shows like Salman Khan‘s Bigg Boss and Aamir Khan‘s Satyamev Jayate, SRK said, “I think they are all wonderful. “I have never been offered Bigg Boss, I’ve not been offered those shows. …

  • Gautam Gulati’s New Found Love
    Gautam Gulati’s New Found Love

    Bigg Boss 8 contestant Gautam Gulati received a lot of love from his female fan following. After winning the Bigg Boss 8 trophy as a winner, he created more buzz on social media as well as amongst female fan following. Gautam Gulati calls his fan following as Ggians and he usually stays updated and in touch with them on social media websites. Among all the messages, Gautam Gulati received a heart warming letter from one of his fan named Yashvi Jangid. …

  • Gautam Gulati’s New Look!
    Gautam Gulati’s New Look!

    Bigg Boss 8 has surely brought out the hidden star out of Telly actor Gautam Gulati. From the day he has made his entry in Bigg Boss 8 house as a contestant, he has made his fan followers go crazy. Ultimately Gautam became the winner of Bigg Boss 8. From the day he has come out as a winner from Bigg Boss house, he is seen attending parties, events and shows. …

  • Who Is Twinkle Khanna’s Daughter Nitara Buying Flowers For?
    Who Is Twinkle Khanna’s Daughter Nitara Buying Flowers For?

    Proud parents Akshay Kumar and Twinkle Khanna never got their daughter Nitara Khanna Bhatia publicly. In 2012, during the death Anniversary of Rajesh Khanna that was the first time 10 month old Nitara was clicked by the shutterbugs. Nitara looked cute dressed in pink with cute little hair clip accessorized her hair. Later in 2014, during Makar Sankrati, Akshay Kumar celebrated it with his daughter Nitara. …

  • Shah Rukh Khan: I Don’t Like People Smoking Around Me
    Shah Rukh Khan: I Don’t Like People Smoking Around Me

    Bollywood’s King Khan left everyone in a confused state of mind after tweeting a very mysterious picture recently. Shah Rukh Khan tweeted a picture in which we see three images of him, in one image we see him smoking while in other two images, the actor is looking at different sides. At a press conference for his new TV game show ‘India Poochega – Sabse Shaana Kaun‘, SRK explained the whole concept and message that the image is trying to portray. SRK also asked people to not smoke. …

  • Indian Owned Company Wins Oscar For Interstellar
    Indian Owned Company Wins Oscar For Interstellar

    Indian-owned company Prime Focus formed by Namit Malhotra bagged the award for Best Visual Effects for the worldwide hit film Interstellar at this year’s Oscar. Not expecting to win this time Namit Malhotra skipped the Oscars. Namit is the owner of Double Negative, the London-based VFX studio that merged with a subsidiary of Prime Focus in 2014. Double Negative has been involved in Inception, Gravity, and The Amazing Spiderman 2. …

Loading...