Places to Visit on The Causeway Coast

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Glenariff Forest Park (Known as Queen of the Glens is one on the nine connected Glens                                                                                  17 miles from Glenmore

The unique Waterfall Walkway, opened 80 years ago, has been significantly upgraded along its 3 mile length which passes through a National Nature Reserve.

Three waterfalls provide a rich backdrop for photographers, as do the other forest trails that offer panoramic landscapes and peaceful riverside walks. A visitor centre, exhibition, interactive display, shop,             (open Easter - October) and a seasonal restaurant complement this "gateway to the Glens". Disabled access.
 

Prices:
Car £4, Pedestrian £1.50, Child £0.50

 

Cushendall                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     14 miles from Glenmore

Cushendall lies close to where the river Dall flows into Cushendall Bay - the name derives from an Irish word meaning 'Foot of the Dall', another suggestion appears in the Ordnance Survey Memoirs of 1830-38 which refers to Cushendall as being a corruption of the word Bunindalla or Bun-an-daaa  meaning 'the foot of the the two rivers'' - the river Dall forms from the union of  the Glenann and Glenballyemon rivers. Like many Ulster villages it is endowed with exceptional architecture, the summits of Lurigethan and Tievebulliagh overlook the village and adjacent glens which themselves are scattered with traces of  man's existence here since Neolithic times. The villages surge of development started in 1600's with the advent of water power and the migration of Scottish settlers. The Glens were taken by force from local chieftains by the Normans who held power here until the late 1300's, the Scottish MacDonnells through the marriage of Margery Bissett to John Mor MacDonnell (Lord of the Isles) gained possession of the Glens and expanded their power base along the north coast to Dunluce Castle. Their family burial sites are found in Bonamargie Friary at Ballycastle and nearby Layde Church. There are references of Cushendall being assigned to the son of Henry Knowles, the vice-chamberlain and treasurer to Elizabeth Ist but that this arrangement was thwarted by Sorley Boy MacDonnell. In the early 1700's the village was given or bought by the Hollow Sword Blade Company - this English company was formed in 1690 and gained several seized assets in Ireland as a result of  the victory by William III Prince of Orange over James II. The company began using a process of hollow grinding to make lighter and more easily handled swords - a process based on a German technique. To achieve this the company employed German swordsmiths in its production. The Hollow Sword Company itself failed but one of the swordsmith's went on to form the Mohll Sword Company which was eventually taken over by the Wilkinson Sword Company - as yet, I have found no references to swords being made in Cushendall. There are references to  Danish cavalry and infantry units being quartered at Solar, Glenarm, Templeoughter, Ardclinis and the Layde  in 1689.

 

Cushendun                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     12 miles from Glenmore

Cushendun means 'Foot of the Dun', this sheltered and safe anchorage at the mouth of the River Dun has been a landing place and ferry point between Scotland and Ireland since man first settled on the north coast. The picturesque village is situated on a raised beach at the outflow of the glacial valleys of Glendun and Glencorp. In 1830 a plan was put in motion by a local businessman Nicholas Cromelin to develop the harbour commercially so that it could cater for the surrounding district and industrial centre of Ballymena. The architect Sir John Rennie was commissioned for the design but the project failed when the government pulled out from funding it. The village we see today owes much of its character and unique architectural heritage to Ronald John McNeill who became the 1st Baron of Cushendun in 1927, he had plans to develop the village and in 1912 commissioned the architect Clough Williams-Ellis to design a village square with seven house, the remit also included a public hall which was never completed,  later in 1923 the architect was again commissioned to design Mauds Cottages and Glenmona House. Later cottages built in 1925 were designed by Frederick MacManus. Cushendun has a long sweeping beach from the harbour to where the clans would have landed their boats near Carra Castle - the exact date of construction of the castle is unclear but it is known that Shane O'Neill at one time owned Carra Castle and in 1565 imprisoned Sorley Boy MacDonnell there. The two clans had many periods of hostilities between them which was in part encouraged by Elizabeth 1st, who sometimes favoured one over the other. Shane O'Neill was killed in 1567 during a meeting with the MacDonnells at Crosscrene - an old church site in the townland of Ballyteerin, a kilometre or so away from Castle Carra. His remains are said to have been hurriedly buried in a nearby graveyard and his head sent to be publically displayed in Dublin. A cairn to Shane O'Neill was erected on the high ground overlooking Cushendun in 1908. The road from here is known as the Torr Scenic Road and winds steeply up past the cairn and over Tornamoney Bridge where you will find Altagore Cashel. The landscape and layout of the walls and fields in the area are intriguing and of particular archaeological interest. The road from here on takes you past some spectacular costal scenery as it winds its way to Loughan Bay, Torr Head and Ballycastle.

Torr Head                                                                                                                                                                      9 miles from Glenmore

From Cushendun take the small windy road leading to Torr Head from here you are 12 miles from the Mull of Kintyre and the closest point to Scotland.  the old radio masts and outbuildings that once was a transmission and listening station for the Royal Air Force can be seen on the hill - on the inland side of this hill is chambered Megalithic grave.  The old ruined buildings below Torr where once custom houses and the building on the point an old lookout station - in  the late 1800's like at Malin Head, this was a semaphore signalling station that recorded the passage of transatlantic ships and relayed the information to Lloyds of London and the incoming port of destination. The Scottish clansmen who settled along the north coast from time to time used Torr Head as a beacon from which they summoned assistance from their allies in Argyllshire. The tides around Torr are particularly treacherous - on a still day when a flood tide is running it roars with the sound of a fast flowing river around the headland. The small harbour and salmon fishery of Portaleen lies on the east side of the headland nestled in close to the shore and sheltered from prevailing winds.

Ballycastle

Just before reaching Ballycastle on the A2 is Bonamargy ( Bun-na-Mairgie), which means "at the foot of the Margy". The Friary is situated in the middle of Ballycastle's golf course, Most sources estimate that it dates back to the year 1500, and that it was built by Third Order Franciscans, Locally, the Friary is known for its patronage by the MacDonnell clan and the vault houses the coffins of many members of that family including the notorious Sorley Boy McDonnell. The vault is now sealed.

The Friary is supposedly haunted by the Ghost of the Black Nun, Julia McQuillan, who lived there alone after the Friary fell out of use in 1641. There is a common story that the Black Nun was murdered on the steps leading to the upper floor of the Friary. Legend has it that she fell on the thirteenth step and that bad luck will befall anyone who walks there.

Many people also believe that the Black Nun is buried at the entrance of the church, under the unusual circular headstone pictured above.

 Ballycastle situated at the foot of Glentaisey and the last of the nine connecting Glens has the largest Fair in Ireland (Olde Lammas Fair) which is held on the last Monday and Tuesday in august a ferry runs twice a day taking tourists to Rathlin Island

Olde Lammas Fair

 

 

The Giants Causeway 

The Giants Causeway is situated on the coast of County Antrim.  The Giant's Causeway was built by the Irish giant Finn McCool as stepping stones to cross over to Scotland so he could beat up the giant who lived there. There are similar stones which emerge from the sea at the Scottish island of Staffa. Glenmore is eight miles from the Causeway and the strange looking stones can be seen in the rock formation around Glenmore, the Causeway is looked after by the National Trust and the charge are Car £5; Minibus £7.50; Coach £20. Annual Season Ticket: £15 (cars only)
Audiovisual: Adult £1; Child 50p. Group Rates: Adult 80p; Child 40p. Family Ticket £2.50
Causeway Bus: Adult return £2; Child/OAP return £1.00

Opening Hours:

Mid March To May: 10.00-16.30                June & September: 10.00-17.00                 July to August: 10.00-17.30    

The Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.

On the North Antrim Coastal Path, just east of Ballintoy, is one of Northern Irelandís best-loved attractions: the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. Salmon fishermen used to sling this precarious bridge to the island over a 24m-deep chasm. the Rope Bridge is now owned and controlled by the National Trust and is much safer now. Those bold enough to cross are rewarded with fantastic views and wildlife, the access entrance is two miles from Glenmore House and near Ballintoy, from which you park and walk about one kilometre along the lower clifpath. There is a small tearoom at the carpark though a little expensive and a charge of

Prices: Adult £2.50, Child £1.30, Family £6.30, Groups £1.90

 Opening Times for the Rope Bridge 2009:   1 March - 27 May 10.00am-6.00pm Daily
                                                                   28 May - 2 Sept 10.00am-7.00pm Daily
                                                                   3 Sept - 31 Oct 10.00am-6.00pm Daily
                                                                   Last admission to bridge is 45 minutes before closing.
 

The Old Bushmills Distillery

The Old Bushmills Distillery is the World's oldest licensed Whiskey Distillery. King James I granted the original License to distil 'Acqua Vitae' in April 1608 and since then Bushmills has been making the finest Irish Malt Whiskey here for almost four hundred years.  Situated just a mile from the spectacular Giant's Causeway, the distillery lies in an area of outstanding natural beauty and rich in history and folklore. 

 

 

Ballintoy Harbour

This is where artists gather to paint the rock scenery and the sea. Small fishing and pleasure craft use the harbour in summer. The narrow winding road leading down to the harbour is always busy as people leave their busy town and hectic life's behind looking to the magic rhythm of the waves breaking over the untidy rock formation creation spectacular sounds and sights.

My favourite time here is when the wind blows in from the east untamed over the sea.

 

 

There is a Boat from Ballycastle which will take you to Rathlin Island where you will have a chance to see Puffins 

 

As you pass through the village of Ballintoy

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