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To travel along the coast is to experience one of the most dramatic routes in the world. Some
eighty miles of salty coastline will transport you past rugged and windswept cliffs, spectacular scenery and fabulous unspoilt
beaches, (Waterfoot Beach pictured to the left).
It's a journey not to be hurried. Every twist and turn in the road will reveal new sights,
well placed stopping points, offering uninterrupted views to Scotland on one side and tall limestone cliffs dissected by beautiful
glens on the other. All along the way you'll find the friendliest of people ready to stop, have a chat and help you
towards your next destination.
It's a coast line sprinkled with historic castles, churches and forts, (Dunluce Castle pictured to
the left). Many are now just ruins but each holds the memories of a mysterious and heroic past. A past populated
by seafaring Vikings and swashbuckling tales of the ancient Irish clans.
Start your journey on the coast road at Newtownabbey's Loughshore on the outskirts
of Belfast. Travel through Carrickfergus and visit the castle, (pictured to the left ) then on to the
major port of Larne and as you journey northwards through Glenarm the magnificient Nine Glens of Antrim will slowly unfold
- a corner of Northern Ireland where fairies and folklore are part of a daily life, where to cut down a fairy thorn will bring
a devasting revenge. Famed in legend and song each glen has its own distinct character and charm but all remain unspoilt
Their very names conjure up mystery and romance. Glenarm 'glen of the army';
Glencloy 'glen of the dykes'; Glenariff 'glen of the plough'; Glenballyemon 'Edwardstown Glen'; Glenaan, 'glen of the little
fords'; Glencorp 'glen of the dead'; Glendun 'brown glen'; Glenshesk 'glen of the sedges' (reeds); and Glentaisie, named after
Taisie, princess of Rathlin Island.
Wild in their beauty each glen deserves a visit, but above all else don't miss Glenariff,
the 'queen' of the glens with its gushing waterfalls and scenic path skirting the sheer sides of the plunging gorge.
Visit Cushendall, the 'Capital of the Glens', before moving on to the National Trust
Village of Cushendun where pretty Cornish style cottages line the streets. This too is the starting point for the cross
country route to Ballycastle. Be careful not to fall prey to Loughareema, the mysterious 'vanishing lake', watery grave
to coach and horses throughout the ages.
On goes the road over bridges and under arches, past bays and beaches and strange rock
formations. None more strange and magnificient than Ireland's top tourist attraction and World Heritage SIte, the world
famous GIANT'S CAUSEWAY whose six-sided basalt columns were formed, not as the geologists say by volcanic eruptions, but rather
as a result of the romantic notions of giant Finn McCool who wished to build a 'path' to take up a challenge from Benandonner,
a rival Scottish giant. The honeycomb of hexagonal columns left behind cast up unique and curious shapes with imaginative
names like Wishing Well, the Giant's Boot, the Giant's Granny and the King.
Legends and history merge all along this coastal route. Near the Giant's
Causeway look out to sea from Port na Spaniagh and imagine the confusion as the Spanish Armada's flagship, the Girona,
sank laden with gold and treasure over 400 years ago.
The Giant's Causeway is a world heritage site and 'Old Bushmills' is the world's oldest licensed whiskey
distillery, are just two attractions which are a must for every itinerary. None more strange and magnificient than Ireland's top tourist attraction the world famous
GIANT'S CAUSEWAY whose six-sided basalt columns were formed, not as the geologists say by volcanic eruptions, but rather
as a result of the romantic notions of giant Finn McCool who wished to build a 'path' to take up a challenge from
Benandonner, a rival Scottish giant. The honeycomb of hexagonal columns left behind cast up unique and curious shapes
with imaginative names like Wishing Well, the Giant's Boot, the Giant's Granny and the King.
Take your courage in your hands and cross the amazing Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge as
it swings over an 80 foot chasm.
Stand on the windswept corner of Torr Head and remember the heartrending tale of the
children of Lir turned into swans by their evil stepmother Aoife and banished to survive for 300 years on the Sea of Moyle.
RATHLIN ISLAND - A HIDDEN TREASURE.
Rathlin Island (pictured to the left) lies just over six miles north of the pretty
seaside resort of Ballycastle, and 14 miles from the Mull of Kintyre, Scotland.
The island is L-shaped; one side is four miles long, the other three, and it is nowhere
more than a mile across. It is almost treeless and most of the coastline is cliff, much of it over 200 feet high.
The Causeway Coast and Glens provide a journey of exploration, where imagination meets
reality and where every village and town, castle and rocky shore are just waiting to be discovered.