County Antrim Tourist Attractions List of sites and attractions in County Antrim
Giant's Causeway, , County Antrim
In case you lose count, roughly 40,000 tightly packed, mostly hexagonal basalt columns form the giant Finn McCool's path from the Antrim headland into the sea toward the Scottish island of Staffa. This volcanic wonder, formed 60 million years ago, can be marveled at from a distance or negotiated cautiously on foot.
Carrickfergus Castle, Carrickfergus, County Antrim
This fortress on the bank of Belfast Lough is the best-preserved Norman castle in Ireland. It consists of an imposing tower house and a high wall punctuated by corner towers.
Dunluce Castle, Bushmills, County Antrim
The castle ruins surmount a razor-sharp promontory jutting into the sea. This was no doubt a highly defensible setting, and the castle wasn't abandoned until a large section collapsed and fell into the breakers one day in 1639.
Navan Fort, , County Antrim
There is now little to see of this place's past greatness, though it was once the ritual and royal seat of Ulster. Thankfully, the interpretive center here is nothing short of remarkable, and it offers a great introduction to the myth and archaeology of the fort, known in Irish as Emain Macha.
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, , County Antrim
Spanning a chasm some eighty feet deep is the famous Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, it's construction once consisted of a single rope hand rail and widely spaced slats which the fishermen would traverse across with salmon caught off the island. The single handrail was subsequently replaced by a two hand railed bridge, the current, caged bridge was installed by the National Trust during Easter of 2000 as a further safety measure. Although no-one has ever been injured falling off the old bridge, there have been many instances of visitors being unable to face the return walk back across the bridge, resulting in them being taken off the island by boat. A collection of old photographs in Sheep Island View Hostel show a local man doing various stunts on the bridge which include riding a bicycle across it and performing handstands on a chair in the middle. Primarily a 'seasonal' working bridge for the fishermen, the bridge is nowadays more widely used by passing visitor's and marketed as a tourist attraction. . The area is exceptional in is natural beauty, to the left as you come down the steep hill is Larrybane headland which once stretched out towards Sheep Island and had a promontory fort on the top dating to 800AD, underneath large caves once served as home to boat builders and a safe resting place from winter storms. During the 1950's blasting, quarrying and shipping of limestone removed most of Larrybane Head, it is well worth a walk down to the old quarry area as some incredible views can be enjoyed from here.
Bushmills Distillery, Bushmills, County Antrim
At the top of the village you will find what Bushmills has become known worldwide for - the famous Old Bushmills Whiskey Distillery. The Victorian architecture of the Distillery dates from 1885 when it was rebuilt due to a fire. Built on the banks of St. Columb's Rill it offers the visitor guided tours of the distillation process throughout the day. Although reputed to be the oldest licensed Distillery in the world - being given legal status in 1608 when King James 1st granted a license to local landowner Sir Thomas Phillipps, the process of illegal distillation in the village goes back even further than 1608. Local folklore tells of whiskey being made illegally in the 1400's, there are also records of a Sir Robert Savage enjoying the 'aqua vitae' (whiskey) with his troops in 1276 and the drink is even mentioned in the Book of Leinster. The company itself was founded in 1783 and in 1800's we find records of the S.S. Bushmills, a large sailing ship own by company, plying across the Atlantic with her much awaited cargo. During its existence the distillery has changed ownership many times, at one time it was owned by the Boyd family who were responsible for promoting the product worldwide, in 1972 it became part of the Irish Distillers Group who themselves were taken over by the Pernod Ricard Group.
Belfast, County Antrim
A village in the 17th century, this robust northern metropolis of nearly half a million people - a third of Northern Ireland's population - has much in common with Liverpool and Manchester, those breezy cities across the Irish Sea. Belfast was the engine-room that drove the whirring wheels of the industrial revolution in Ulster. The development of industries like linen, rope-making and shipbuilding doubled the size of the town every ten years. The world's largest dry dock is here and the shipyard's giant cranes tower over the port.
Today the city and the river front are again being transformed. Much of the city centre is now pleasantly pedestrianized, with benches where you can sit and listen to the street musicians.
There are many exuberant Victorian and Edwardian buildings with elaborate sculptures over doors and windows. Stone-carved heads of gods and poets, scientists, kings and queens peer down from the high ledges of banks and old linen warehouses.
Coleraine, County Antrim
Coleraine had a population of 24,042 people in the 2001 Census. Disposable income is well above the Northern Ireland average. The North Coast (Coleraine/Limavady) area has the highest property prices in Northern Ireland, higher indeed than those of affluent South Belfast (according to the University of Ulster Quarterly House Price Index report produced in partnership with Bank of Ireland and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive - March 2006). Championship golf courses, scenic countryside and a host of leisure facilities and attractions are all on the doorstep. It has an attractive town centre, a marina and the prestigious Riverside theatre. Coleraine, during the day is a busy town, however at night the town is relatively quiet, with much of the night life in the area located in the nearby seaside towns of Portrush and Portstewart.
Ballycastle, County Antrim
Ballycastle (from the Irish: Baile an Chaistil meaning "townland of the castle") is a small town in County Antrim in Northern Ireland. Its population was 5,089 people in the 2001 Census. It is the seat and main settlement of Moyle District Council. The town has a beach, and views across to Rathlin Island and the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland. The town is at the northern mainland limit of the Antrim Coast and Glens Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Ballycastle is also famous for its Lammas Fair, which is held every year on the last Monday and Tuesday of August. Ballycastle is the home of the Corrymeela Community. The town forms part of the North Antrim constituency and the elected MP is DUP leader Ian Paisley.
Carnlough, County Antrim
The name Carnlough comes from Carn-La. One folk tale suggests that St Patrick founded a Christian group in the area, and his disciple, La, was left in charge of the new converts.
Ballymena, County Antrim
Ballymena, in the pleasant valley of the River Braid, is an important borough with linen and other industries. It is situated in central Antrim at the convergence of many roads, which give ready access to all parts of the north-east of Ireland. The Saturday market dates back to 1626. Roger Casement went to school here. Most of the town is built on land of the estate received by William Adair of Kinhilt, Scotland, from Charles 1. About 1732 the Adairs and another family named Hickey introduced the linen industry, to which the town chiefly owes its development. In 1798 a body of United Irishmen held Balllymena for three days, after defeating British forces in a battle in the streets. Eight miles (13km) west of Ballymena, Slemish Mountain rises prominently on the South side of the Braid valley. This was the scene of St Patrick's six-year captivity as a youth. The shrine of St Patrick is a place of pilgrimage. There are now picnic sites and a scenic drive on the mountain.
Antrim, County Antrim
Antrim (from the Irish: Aontroim meaning "Solitary Farm") is a town in County Antrim in the northeast of Northern Ireland, on the banks of the Six Mile Water, half a mile northeast from Lough Neagh. It had a population of 20,001 people in the 2001 Census. The town is the administrative centre for Antrim Borough Council. It is 22 miles (35 km) northwest of Belfast by rail, and was, until recently, also served by the railway line from Lisburn.
Randalstown, County Antrim
Randalstown (Irish: Baile Raghnail) is a small town in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, located between the town of Antrim and Toome. It had a population of 4,956 people in the 2001 Census. It has a very prominent disused railway viaduct and lies beside Lough Neagh and the Shane's Castle estate. Originally called An Dun Mor - "the great fort" - Randalstown was named after the 2nd Earl and 1st Marquis of Antrim, Randal MacDonnell (1609-1683) and has strong links to the O'Neill family. The original stronghold of Edenduffcarrick was built in the 16th century and changed ownership repeatedly until it was renamed Shane's Castle after the new owner, Shane Mc Brian O'Neill. The O'Neill family still reside in the castle and enjoy a prominent position in Northern Ireland. The town is bypassed by the M22 motorway with junctions at both the eastern and western ends of the town.
Ballyclare, County Antrim
Ballyclare is situated to the north of Belfast. The Ulster way passes by the town as it begins its long meander through the north of Ulster. Nearby, Woodburn and North Carn Forest provides pleasant country walks.
Newtownabbey, County Antrim
Newtownabbey is within easy travelling distance of many of the North's top attractions. Activities in the area are in abundance because of the natural landscape and the town's proximity to the sea. The world class marina at Carrickfergus is just a few miles outside Newtownabbey and increasingly Belfast Lough is becoming a venue for international sailing events.
Carrickfergus, County Antrim
Carrickfergus is a history fan's dream. Not only is this one of the oldest towns in Northern Ireland, but it has some of the finest Norman architecture in Europe, with its castle the jewel in its crown. Built in the 12th century by Knight John de Courcy, its history is told in an audio visual presentation and brought to life by a cast of faithfully recreated characters from 800 years ago. Each year it hosts a variety of special events, with one of the most stunning being the Medieval Lughnasa Festival. With its costumed performers and period musicians, you truly do feel as if you've stepped back in time to the heyday of the castle. Another significant feature of the town is that is still has part of its original, historic walls. Built in the early 17th century, these are excellent examples of Jacobean building. Still standing strong in roman style archway, and the Irish or West Gate which yielded many medieval artifacts when excavated in the last few decades. You can even take walking tours, taking in the walls and other high points of the town in the summer.
Larne, County Antrim
Today the town combines a historical past with modern port, shopping and leisure facilities. In addition to having many attractions of its own, it is also ideally located for those wishing to use Larne or surrounding areas as a base to further explore the Glens of Antrim and scenic Antrim Coast Road, which stretches from the town northwards through the nine glens.
Whithead, Whitehead, County Antrim
Whitehead (Irish: An Cionn Bán) is a seaside village on the east coast of County Antrim, Northern Ireland, lying almost midway between Carrickfergus and Larne. Located at the base of Muldersleigh Hill, at the entrance to Belfast Lough, it lies in a small bay between the limestone cliffs of Whitehead and the black volcanic cliff of Blackhead, with the Blackhead Lighthouse on top, marking the entrance to the Lough.
Ardglass Course, Ardglass, County Antrim
(5,498 Metres / Par 70) A seaside course with superb views over St. Johns Point, Killough Harbour and the Mountains of Mourne. The 2nd hole is played over a gaping gorge to an elevated green. The 11th hole is played from an elevated tee looking down to Coney Island. A memorable golf day is sure to be had.
Ballycastle Golf Course, Ballycastle, County Antrim
(5,757 Yards / Par 71) The first five holes are parkland along the banks of the Margy and Carey rivers and bordering the ruins of a 13th century friary. The Warren area is six holes of true links, and the inward seven are in adjacent upland with panoramic views including the Mull of Kintyre, Rathlin Isalnd and Ballycastle Bay. The course demands accurate irons.
Royal Belfast Course, Belfast, County Antrim
(6,274 Yards / Par 70) Eighteen hole parkland course rolls gently to the shores of Belfast Lough. The course is very picturesque with many mature trees and many carefully placed bunkers. The greens are undulating and generally run towards the sea. A very pleasant course that presents a challenge to any handicap golfer.
Royal Portrush Dunluce Course, Portrush, County Antrim
(6,782 Yards / Par 73) One of Ireland's most famous of links courses. Royal Portrush Dunluce course is laid out in a marvelous stretch of golfing country. Through a tangle of sandhills the course threads its way, with the sweeping contours of dunes, lending infinite variety to your game. This course has been portrayed by many golfers to be one of the most challenging in the world.
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