County Antrim boasts a magnificent coastline. The Causeway Coastal Route spans its ocean perimeter, passing through some of the most spectacular scenery in all of Ireland and Europe.
Today I have chosen to share a few photos of this beautiful county. There are many sites I have omitted since time and space only allow a “wee peek” at County Antrim’s splendor.
Situated in the northeast corner of the island, Co. Antrim is part of the nine counties of Ulster, and one of the six counties of Northern Ireland, and part of the United Kingdom.
Man initially crossed to Ireland from Scotland, making Antrim the first site of human settlement on the island.
Stunning rock formations line pebbled shores.
Dunluce Castle, a ruined, evocative medieval castle, is perched majestically atop a rocky outcrop high above the Atlantic ocean swells. It dates back to the 13th century. Reports of a wandering ghost abound, possibly the spirit of a servant lost to sea on a stormy night in 1639 when half the castle kitchen fell into the ocean.
Carrik-a-rede rope bridge spans an ocean inlet, eighty feet above the water. The original structure, with one handrail and widely spaced slats, was not for the faint-hearted. In times gone by, fishermen traversed the bridge with freshly caught salmon.
The rope bridge was reconstructed in the year 2000, with two hand rails to grasp firmly with both hands, as you bounce across the chasm.
The Giant’s Causeway is one of Ireland’s great natural wonders. Famous for it’s bizarre, hexaganol, basalt columns leading in a path to the ocean, this four-mile-long stretch of Antrim coastline is a World Heritage Site.
Many Irish legends find their roots in County Antrim, a favorite haunt of the mythical Irish giant Finn McCool (Fionn MacCumhaill in Irish).
I love the pub mural above, found in the town of Bushmills. If you look closely you will spot a beer glass in Finn’s right hand. Even giants get thirsty and need a pint!
The Bushmills whiskey distillery within the town claims to be the oldest distillery in the world. Tour guides lead visitors through the complete process of whiskey production, including the Irish practice of distilling whiskey a total of three times. The result is supposedly a smoother spirit than Scotch whisky, which is only distilled once or twice.
Picturesque towns and villages nestle amongst the hills and glens of Antrim.
Portrush resembles a British seaside resort. With numerous hotels, guesthouses, restaurants, cafes and bars, Portrush is a perfect base for exploring the Antrim Coast.
Belfast is the largest city in Northern Ireland, straddling both County Antrim and County Down. City Hall is an impressive structure, built between 1888 and 1906, to commemorate Queen Victoria bestowing the status of city to Belfast.
Antrim’s famous sons include Willie John McBride, the Irish rugby player and Liam Neeson of Hollywood fame.
Wishing you all happy travels in County Antrim.
Here’s the link for the other counties we have visited so far on our tour of Ireland, county-by-county:
Slán agus beannacht!
(Goodbye and blessings)
Irish American Mom