Experience Northern Ireland’s Scenic Antrim Coastline

The Antrim Coast of Northern Ireland,  a Self-driving Tour - Day 9- 10

- Ireland’s Northern Causeway -

Antrim Coast Northern Ireland
Antrim Coast Northern Ireland
Upon leaving Belfast we headed along the Causeway Coastal Route for breath-taking views of the Antrim coast along the North Channel of the Irish Sea.

We stopped in along the coast by the Antrim Mountains to partake of the beautiful scenery and to take advantage of the perfect photo-taking opportunity. The sun was shining, it glistened off the water, making it the most striking emerald and aqua blue I have ever seen.

Antrim Coast Norther Ireland farmland and sheep
Antrim Coast Northern Ireland Farmland

Glenarm Castle

Glenarm Castle
Walled Garden

We stopped mid-morning for tea and scones at Glenarm Castle Walled Garden Tea Room. Best scones ever! We also walked through the walled garden and admired the many plants and flowers. The charming tearoom is located in the old Mushroom House and is open daily. You can relax and enjoy a light lunch or a delicious homemade cake or pastry, overlooking the kitchen garden. Parking is available.

Glenarm Castle
Walled Garden Tea Room Outdoor Seating

Carrick-Rede and Larrybane

Back to the Causeway Coastal Route, the next adventure was at Carrick-a-Rede, a rope bridge, and Larrybane. Both are managed by the National Trust of Northern Ireland. Carrick-a-Rede is Scottish Gaelic and means the rock in the road. The road is the sea route for Atlantic salmon as they pass westward of Carrick Island. Often a scene in the Game of Thrones, Carrick-a-Rede, rope bridge, has new meaning to the series fans.

Carrick-Rede rope bridge in Norther Island
For 300 hundred years fishermen have strung a rope bridge about 30 meters above the sea to allow them to pass between the mainland to Carrick Island. Now thousands of visitors each year, if they have the courage, cross the rope bridge and gaze down between the wood slats at on the rushing seawater. And then are rewarded after a successful crossing with the spectacular views from Carrick Island of the Irish Sea.

Only three of the four in our group were even willing to try to cross on the rope bridge. One of us didn’t make it and had to be helped back to the stairway by the National Trust officer posted to assist tourists who lose their courage partway across. I made it across and thoroughly enjoyed the adventure, this is what bucket lists are made for!

Larrybane is an abandoned limestone quarry and the site of a fort stood built in the 800s AD, the Iron Age.

Giants Causeway 

Giants Causeway Northern Island rock formations
Giants Causeway

Our next stop after the rope bridge was the Giant's Causeway.  It is managed by Ireland's National Trust.  The Giants Causeway is an area made up of over 40,000 interlocking rock columns. They were created by a volcanic fissure and are made up of solidified lava. Most of the columns are hexagon-shaped and form stepping stones.

The legend of the Giant’s Causeway is that the columns are the remains of a causeway built by a giant. The story goes that the Irish giant Fionn mac Cumhaill (Finn MacCool), was challenged to a fight by the Scottish giant Benandonner. Fionn accepted the challenge and built the causeway across the North Channel so that the two giants could meet.

In another, Fionn hides from Benandonner when he realizes that his foe is much bigger than he is. Fionn's wife, Oonagh, disguises Fionn as a baby and tucks him in a cradle. When Benandonner sees the size of the 'baby', he reckons that its father, Fionn, must be a giant among giants. He flees back to Scotland in fright, destroying the causeway behind him so that Fionn would be unable to chase him down.

Giants Causeway visitor center
Giants Causeway Visitors Center

There is a very nice visitor center with ample parking where you can learn more about volcanic activity in the area. The Giant’s Causeway Centre includes a Bureau De Change, Accommodation Booking Service, an Interpretive Audio-Visual Presentation, Restrooms, Cafe, and a Souvenir Shop.

People Climbing the Giants Causyewa
Seeing the Giants Causeway up close and personal.
The Giant’s Causeway Coaster bus service is available to take you down the cliffs to an area where you can climb on the rocks and take photos of the formations and selfies sitting among the giant columns. The area is partially handicap accessible.


Portrush Northern Ireland
Portrush, Northern Ireland

We checked into the Ramada Hotel in Portrush that evening just in time for dinner. We ate at the Harbour Restaurant, 5-6 Harbour Road. It’s a pub with a large sit-down dining bistro in the back. Great food and cherry staff.

The Ramada Inn in Portrush overlooks the Atlantic Ocean, it is a 5-minute drive from the famous Royal Portrush Golf Club. The hotel features a traditional restaurant, free Wi-Fi throughout, and a 24-hour front desk. The bright and airy bedrooms each have a cozy seating area and a private modern bathroom with a hairdryer. All rooms have tea/coffee facilities.

Portrush Golf Club Northern Ireland
Royal Portrush Golf Club
Photo by Alan Leonard

The Royal Portrush Golf Club was the host of the 2019 British Open Championship. The Royal Portrush is rated as the seventh-best golf course in the world in Golf Digest’s “World 100 Greatest Golf Courses”. Royal Portrush is a “must-play” for golfers wanting to experience one of the toughest golf challenges there is.
Next on our driving tour of Ireland’s Antrim Coast: Bushmill Whiskey Distillery 


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