County Antrim Holiday Guide
Nature and History in County Antrim
Along the marine drive, you’ll pass several coastal villages, each with their own distinctive character.
Cushendall, just below the north-east tip, is a quirky, colourful town with several interesting monuments. The red curfew tower in the middle of the town was built in 1809 as “a place of confinement for idlers and rioters” and remains, well preserved, as a point of interest for visitors.
Here you can also see Oisin’s Grace - a megalithic court cairn on a hillside near the Glenann River. It is believed to be the burial place of Oisin, the Celtic warrior poet.
Further along the coastal road, the serene green crescent of Murlough Bay comes into view. Climb further towards the eerie tableland of Fair Head in the north-eastern corner of County Antrim, a haven for intrepid rock climbers, and enjoy a bird’s eye view of Rathlin Island.
Further up the coast, Ballycastle offers Blue Flag beaches and dramatic coastal views. Here you can climb the 1,695 feet to the summit of Knocklayde, a heather-covered mountain, which provides extensive views over Ballycastle, Rathlin Island, Fair Head and Scotland.
Just six miles off the coast, Rathlin Island offers a fantastic place for walkers to enjoy rugged landscape and tranquil beauty. You can get the ferry across the “Sea of Moyle” from the mainland. There are several bed and breakfasts and restaurants on the tiny island, as well as an RSPB Seabird Centre and walking tours available.
Significant Towns in County Antrim
Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, is the largest city in the country. With its buzzing energy and countless excellent bars and restaurants, it is a local must-see and an enjoyable place to spend several days during your trip to County Antrim.
Belfast is a centre for arts and culture. There are several theatres, including the Grand Opera House, Ulster Hall and The MAC, which offer a wide range of performances from theatre companies all over the world. The Ulster Orchestra, Northern Ireland’s only full-time symphony orchestra, is based in Belfast and there are many traditional Irish bands playing throughout the city.
Ranging from Edwardian buildings, such as the City Hall, to modern high rises, the landscape of Belfast is vast and varied. The county town of Antrim stands 18 miles northwest of Belfast. Situated in the north-east of Northern Ireland on the banks of the Six Mile Water, Antrim is a picturesque town with a range of important historical buildings.
Antrim Castle is of particular note. All that remains is the Barbican Gate, the old gateway to the castle, which stands proud on the banks of the river. About a mile from the town is one of the most perfect of the round towers of Ireland, which stands, at 93 feet high, in the grounds of the Steeple near the prehistoric “Witches’ Stone”.
Enjoy County Antrim
Explore the rugged, unspoilt coasts and beautiful mountain ranges of County Antrim. Enjoy the buzzing nightlife of Northern Ireland’s capital or relax on one of the county’s award-winning beaches. A place of colour, contrast and character, County Antrim is one of Northern Ireland’s most beautiful treasures.