Antrim Coast Road

Antrim Coast Road running between Ballycastle and Larne forming part of the main A2 coast road. An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Antrim Coast Road running between Ballycastle and Larne forming part of the main A2 coast road. An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Larne is the Gateway to the Nine Glens of Antrim, and part of the amazing Causeway Coastal Route along the stunning, scenic Antrim Coast Road (previously the ‘Old Irish highway.’)

Start your adventure heading out of Larne Town along the A2, through the Black Arch (remember to toot your horn as you drive through) here you can stop and visit a memorial stone to William Bald, a Scottish surveyor, cartographer and civil engineer who between 1932 and 1942 worked to build the Antrim Coast Road, replacing the Old Irish Highway which had fallen into dangerous disrepair. If you want to start a bit earlier and take in The Gobbins and Islandmagee, it would be advisable to start at Carrickfergus Castle, a seaside town about 20 minutes from Larne.

Heading up the coast from Larne you will come to Drains Bay, a beautiful quiet seaside village and a great pit-stop for refreshments (Scrubs Grub and Tru Gelato refreshment vans normally stop in the car park here), with a large car park, nearby children’s play park, some toilets and a beautiful beach with a grassy bank you can sit for panoramic views across the Irish Sea, towards the Maiden’s and down into Larne Lough or up further along with Antrim Coastline.

Moving onwards you will pass by Carnfunnock Country Park, a fantastic place for a day out, suitable for all ages and abilities. You might even stop at Cairndhu Golf Club for some golfing and a lovely meal overlooking Ballygally Bay.

On further still you will pass through the stunning village of Ballygally, with it’s beautiful beach, rolling hills, 17th century castle and scenic views all around. It’s a great spot to stop on the beach with the family, for an ice cream or to stock up for the journey ahead. With an award winning beach, a newly refurbished play area nearby, toilets and a water station along with several fantastic bars and restaurants nearby (Matties Meetinghouse, Ballygally Castle Hotel and Halfway House Hotel) it’s a lovely place to holiday in Northern Ireland.

On further still you will come to the glorious Glenarm, another beautiful village. Here you can visit Glenarm Castle and Walled Garden, walk in Glenarm Forest or spend some time by the harbour. With facilities and a playpark and large car park it’s another great excuse for a break and an adventure. From Glenarm you can head further up the coast onwards to Carnlough and the Causeway Coast, Portrush, Ballycastle and onwards.

This stunning Coastal Route truly captures the thrill of an adventure in Northern Ireland, and is an area of outstanding natural beauty. The journey is simply breath-taking with so much to see at any time of the year. Maybe it’s the sheer breadth and beauty of its landscape or the peace and tranquillity of the sea along the shoreline. The coastline is dotted with historical monuments, abandoned villages and castle ruins, ancient graveyards and interesting standing stones. Along with beautiful bays and inlets, the route is also a fantastic place for bird watching and spotting wild sea animals such as dolphins and seals plus other flora and fauna.

Photos by: Gavin Ferguson, Mark Adams, Peter Donnan, Billy McWilliams.


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