Things to do in Antrim
Posted by Niamh Allabyrne on the 6th of November 2012 at 13:06:09
Antrim is situated on Ireland’s north-east and lies within the province of Ulster, making up one of the 6 counties of Northern Ireland. With some of the most stunningly beautiful scenery in Ireland this is one county that will surely make a vivid and lasting impression. Here are some of my favorite places which will hopefully inspire you to visit this wonderful county!
Giant’s Causeway - this magnificent natural phenomenon has inspired people for centuries and spawned the infamous legend of the giant Finn MacCool who built a path across the sea to Scotland so that he could visit his par amour. According to legend, Finn set about constructing a pathway made of the large hexagonal basalt columns from the shores of the Antrim coast to the Scottish island of Staffa. And all in the name of love! This windswept place certainly has a magical feel to it and no matter the weather you are assured of its ethereal and captivating beauty.
Titanic Exhibition – there is arguably no better place to retell the captivating story of the doomed Titanic then in the place where it was made. This innovative and enthralling visit carefully and sensitively recounts the Titanic story from its very conception to its ultimate demise at the bottom of the North Atlantic. Containing nine interpretive and interactive displays, beginning with the Belfast of the early 20th century and taking you through everything from the construction, launch and aftermath of the Titanic, this is one superb exhibition!
Dunluce Castle perches precariously along the cliffs of Antrim’s north coast and is thought to date from the 12th century, although the first actual record of it dates from the early 16th century. Despite having fallen in into disrepair, with no roof and the kitchen area long since disappeared into the cold Atlantic Ocean, these magnificent ruins still echo the power and prestige that this building once held. All the visible structures date from the 16th and 17th centuries and it is often referred to as one of the most romantic castles in Ireland due to its windswept isolation.
Old Bushmills Distillery is the world’s oldest distillery, with a Grant to Distll being given in 1608 by King James I. However it is thought that whiskey was produced here at least 200 hundred years prior to this. With 5 award winning whiskeys and the only distillery to produce a triple-distilled malt whiskey, take a tour of this wonderful working distillery and discover the secrets of its continued popularity for yourself!
Bushmills Inn is a charming hotel located close to the Bushmills Distillery. The original coach-house and stables date to 1608 and in the intervening years the Inn has also been used as a bicycle factory and boarding house. Today the Inn exudes olde-world charm and character full of nooks and crannies, creating a cosy and comforting ambience, highlighted by the gas-lit bar. Situated on the River Bush it enjoys a fabulous location, with rooms a heady mixture of modern conveniences and furnishings from bygone eras. With an excellent restaurant stuffed full of culinary delights, you will certainly find it difficult to leave!
The Carrick a Rede Rope Bridge hangs some 80ft above the wild seas of North Antrim and is some 65ft wide. Not one for the faint hearted, this is a heart-in-mouth walk across from the mainland to the small island of Carrick-a-rede. For 350 years the local salmon fisherman erected it to traverse the distance between the mainland and the island, and today it is one of Northern Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions. If you are brave enough to cross it, your tentative walk across is certainly well rewarded with spectacular views of the Causeway Coast.
Rathlin Island is a small island of the Antrim coast, just 11km long and at no point more than 1.6km wide. It is also the only inhabited island in Northern Ireland with the population surviving on a combination of farming, fishing and tourism. Thought to be created by a volcanic eruption, it was the first place in Ireland to be raided by the Vikings, according to the Annals of Ulster. You can visit the island daily as there are two ferry services operating to the island. A designated bird sanctuary, you can view some 30 varieties of birds on the island including puffins and razorbills. A remote but beautiful island, the best time to visit would be during the summer months.
The Crown Bar Belfast is located on Great Victoria Street in the heart of Belfast city and dates to 1826. However, a refurbishment in 1885 gave the pub its current décor and what a décor it is! With a blending of the Victorian era and Italian flair, the pub is a feast for the eyes. Stained glass and wood are complemented by the Italianate tiling making the pub plush, opulent, cozy and comfortable. A welcoming and friendly staff really add to the ambience of this well established pub.
So if you are planning a trip to Ireland, think about including Antrim in your itinerary. With spine –tingling beauty all topped off by bustling Belfast city, this really should be part of any Irish vacation! Take a look at our Northern Ireland Tours and perhaps look at at our Custom Tours of Ireland where you can build your own your tour and see where we can take you! Our blog on in Northern Ireland has some more attractions for your to read about and perhaps add to your tour!