The  small stream which you are standing near is known today as St.Columbs Rill, it was named after St.Columcille (also known as St. Columba) who originated from Gartan in Donegal and founded the important Christian Abbey on Iona. He was one of the leading Christians who followed in the footsteps of St. Patrick.

 

The stream was originally known as the 'Meadow Burn' and flowed from the high ground beyond Bushmills, down through the Distillery grounds where its water was used in the production of Old Bushmills Whiskey, it then flowed through the meadow before joining the river Bush here.

 

We know from records that St Columcille is reputed to have blessed many rivers and streams throughout Ulster and Ireland. It it is also said that the water of those streams became the sweetest water in the land. This intriguing fact led to the re-naming of  the 'Meadow Burn' to 'St. Columbs Rill' in the late 18th century.

 

As the water was being used in the production of Bushmills Whiskey, someone came up with a brilliant marketing idea which would not only capture the mythical legends of Ireland which at the time were very popular but would also connect it to a Saint.  This idea resulted in a story being created which said that  St. Columbcille had blessed the water here when he passed this way and that the burn was named 'St. Columbs Rill'  with the  'sweetest and smoothest water in Ireland'. What better water to use in the making of Bushmills Whiskey?.

 

From then on the stream became known and pointed out to the visitor as 'St. Columbs Rill'.  No one questioned the fact that although Bushmills had been in production from 1608 and legally from the late 1700s, there were no references to a St. Columbs Rill on maps or in local stories, only a 'Meadow Burn'.

 

Now, St. Columba did exist and indeed may have crossed the river Bush at the ford on his way to Dunseverick Castle which at the time was an important fortress in the Kingdom of Dalriada or to Armoy Abbey which had been founded by St. Patrick.