Regular weekly markets used to take place in the square, a linen market also opened here in 1833, It was also the location forl men, women and children to find employment at the twice yearly Hiring Fair. Standing in front of the clock tower and waiting to be selected by a local landowner.
Prior to 1820's, Bushmills consisted of just a few dwellings situated beside a shallow crossing point on the river. The industrial revolution and water power led to its growth, prior to this the main village would have been Dunluce, a merchant village which developed around the castle. The1641 rebellion when Dunluce was burnt plus the growth of water power, saw the migration of the population to Bushmills.
Bushmills benefited from the influx of visitors going to see the famous Giant's Causeway. Local hotels and inns became popular and businesses flourished. The opening of the world's first hydro-electric tramway in 1883 between Portrush to Bushmills led to a further boost for the village. The tram was powered by vertical water turbines at the Walkmill Falls and pioneered by Colonel William Trail of Ballyclough.
The village also produced nails and farming implements including award winning spades which where exhibited in England and Europe. Bicycles were also made locally, the Dunluce was designed and built here and sold all over the province.
The river features in ancient Ulster legends and writings. It was referred to as one of the ten rivers of Ireland that were encountered by the first settlers and known as 'Inbiur Buosse bruchtait srotha' (River Bush of the bursting torrents). In another it is referred to for a 'great abundance of nuts which were found on the banks of the Boyne and the Buais (Bush)'.
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