Carrick-a-rede rope bridge

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge was first erected by salmon fishermen in 1755

Connected to the cliffs by a rope bridge across the Atlantic Ocean, Carrick-a-Rede Island (home to a single building - a fisherman's cottage) is the final destination.

Suspended almost 100 ft (30 m) above sea level, the rope bridge was first erected by salmon fishermen 350 years ago.

In 2016 Carrick-a-Rede welcomed the highest number of visitors ever to this exhilarating rope bridge experience.

As we approach our traditional busy season, we have introduced some new measures to help ensure your experience to Carrick-a-Rede is the best it can be.

As a conservation charity we are committed to preserving and protecting our special places and spaces for everyone to enjoy.  This includes protecting ongoing conservation, managing health and safety and trying to ease traffic congestion around the site.

Timed tickets will be introduced at Carrick-a-Rede on 7th April 2017. Visitors will be able to purchase tickets from 9.30am, with the last ticket sale at 6.15pm during peak season.  For group and coach booking procedures for Carrick-a-Rede please visit:

The Telegraph Indulge in Ireland

Take a road trip along Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coastal Route and you’ll find a wealth of legend, beauty and culture.

Blink and you might miss the sign. I nearly did. As I turned the car north and left behind a weekend of cultural attractions and arts events in vibrant Belfast, I almost didn’t notice the stone marker by the roadside at Larne indicating the start of the 120-mile Causeway Coastal Route.

It is, after all, an unassuming little stone but it promises a lot: this way for one of the world’s greatest road trips.

Over the next couple of days I followed the arc of the coast, passing through Antrim’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, from Belfast via the Giant’s Causeway to Derry-Londonderry.

This is great driving country, with plenty of wave-crashing vistas beyond the windscreen and a slew of interesting pit stops

The old County Antrim coast road leads through the rural heart of Northern Ireland, with lighthouses winking on the horizon and lobster pots bobbing in the swells below.

This is great driving country, with plenty of wave-crashing vistas beyond the windscreen and a slew of interesting pit stops along the way to explore.

It’s also a landscape shrouded in fable and folklore. The emerald glens, fishing boat-filled harbours and ancient limestone-carved roads are all alive with old tales of cunning giants and mythical warriors.

When I notice gnarled hawthorn trees standing stoically alone by the roadside, it is, I later learn, because the locals are reluctant to cut them down for fear of disturbing the little people.

Tracing the route via the walled garden at Glenarm Castle and the waterfalls at Glenariff Forest Park, my first stop is at the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. Fishermen originally erected the bridge to Carrick-a-Rede Island over a 70ft-wide chasm off the limestone headland to check their salmon nets.

[Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge on the Causeway Coastal Route]
Spectacular: Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge on the Causeway Coastal Route Credit: Nigel Carse

I’ve not got a great head for heights but it’s worth the heart-pumping experience of crossing the twin-handrail bridge, managed these days by the National Trust, for the views from Carrick Island across to Rathlin Island and Scotland beyond. Fulmars, kittiwakes and guillemots soar above me as I venture forth.

After that, it’s time for a lunch break in the village of Bushmills. The main street, complete with pub-façade mural of Finn McCool, the mythical Irish hunter-warrior, leads to the Bushmills Distillery – the oldest operating distillery in the world.

I join a behind-the-scenes tour of 400 years of distilling history before catching up with master distiller Colum Egan in the vast tasting room-cum-café.

The Giant’s Causeway has a mysterious, otherworldly feel about it

The distillery is just a few miles from the Giant’s Causeway and Colum likes showing off Northern Ireland’s greatest natural wonder with a glass in his hand.

“I love to take people down the causeway to have a whiskey at dawn,” he says. “Standing at the water’s edge, the mist swirling around, it could still be 1608, when we started making whiskey at Bushmills.”

After lunch at a local pub, it’s just a short drive, doubling back on myself slightly, to the Giant’s Causeway Unesco World Heritage Site. Comprising thousands of hexagonal, lava-flow-forged rocks extending into the Atlantic Ocean, the site has a mysterious, otherworldly feel about it with spotlights of sun-dappled light picking out details in the stones as I arrive amid clearing storm clouds.

This spectacular natural attraction was joined in 2012 by the grass-roofed and glass-fronted Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre. It is designed with columns of locally quarried basalt to reflect the legend of the giant Finn McCool – who legend has it plucked columns out of the ground – and tells the story of the causeway, its legend and the natural world around it, bringing to life the local history unique to this region.  

Four recently upgraded and signposted walking trails around the causeway, graded for various ability levels, lead from outside the visitor centre towards the causeway and beyond.

Northern Ireland’s best-known folk legend tells how Finn built the rock causeway to Scotland to fight his arch-rival, Scottish giant Benandonner.

After Finn tricked him, the Scottish giant tore up the causeway – forged and contracted by eons of cooling lava – in his wake. Even today, the thin strip of land points an accusatory finger towards Benandonner’s Scottish domain.

The Causeway Coastal Route winds onwards from here, twisting through the coast-hugging curves to the mist-looming stronghold of Dunluce Castle, which clings dramatically to the cliff top just east of Portrush. The castle, built between the 14th and 17th centuries, was abandoned hundreds of years ago when part of it collapsed into the sea, which all adds to its intrigue and mystique.

Standing at the water’s edge, the mist swirling around, it could still be 1608

Mussenden Temple, the 18th-century folly near Castlerock – another monument looming high above the sea – marks my last stop before the final leg of the drive. I end my journey, by way of contrast to the rural charms of the coast, in the walled city of Derry – the only remaining completely intact walled city in Ireland – which is still basking in the glow of becoming the UK’s inaugural City of Culture in 2013.

The walls were built between 1613 and 1618, are still intact and form a walkway around the inner city. You won’t regret taking a walking tour to view the layout of the original town which preserves its Renaissance-style street plan to this day.

For me, my drive along one of the world’s greatest coastal routes had come to an end – but it’s one you can try with your own car as Northern Ireland is so easy to reach, or you could take a short flight and pick up a rental car.

I had loved every second: the open road between thriving cities via tranquil coastal towns rich with history and folklore; the good food and friendly locals; and soaking up the spectacular coastal scenery. And I hadn’t even taken one wrong turn – the Causeway Coast Route is easy to follow with lots of scenic stops along the way.

But most of all, the road trip had made me realise that, while Northern Ireland has evolved dramatically in recent years as a must-see destination and compelling place to visit, the traditional stories and legends that have shaped its cultural identity are also still very much part of life today. It feels alive.

Come and find your holiday inspiration at

Giants Causeway

In the footsteps of giants...

Flanked by the wild North Atlantic Ocean and a landscape of dramatic cliffs, for centuries the Giant’s Causeway has inspired artists, stirred scientific debate and captured the imagination of all who see it.

Why not experience the Giant's Causeway for yourself? Visit the world-famous basalt columns with a  knowledgeable tour guides, or pick up an audio guide and go at your own pace. Climb the Shepherd's Steps and hike along the cliff-top trail to get a bird's eye view of the beautiful causeway coast.

Unlock the mystery and stories of the landscape in the exhibition area of our award-winning Visitor Centre, which comprises a café serving seasonal, regional fayre, and retail zone where you can pick up locally-sourced memories of your causeway trip in the form of beautiful souvenirs and handicrafts.


Interactive exhibition exploring the Giant's Causeway
Outdoor audio guide availiable, providing information in nine languages. Audio guide for visually impaired visitors also available
Grab-and-go coffee shop
Local and unique gifts for sale in shop
Tourist Information Centre
Bureau de Change
Parking across three car parks and Park and Ride facility

A Larne jewellery shop, exhibition at Larne museum and arts centre

A Larne Jewellery shop


Don't miss your chance to visit our local heritage exhibition which takes a 'behind the scenes' look at Campbell's Jeweller's Shop which closed in 2015. 

Visitors have certainly been enjoying the opportunity to find out more about the skills needed by a local watch and clock maker. 

"Excellent exhibition in every way!" 

"Enjoyed my visit immensely. A wonderful record of a great public service to Larne!!"

"Excellent history - well detailed - a family story - well done to all involved ***"


Marian Kelso

Acting Heritage Officer

Larne Museum & Arts Centre

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council

2 Victoria Road


BT40 1RN


Tel:  028 28 262443 | E-mail:

Facebook:  Larne Museum and Arts Centre Official | Twitter:  Follow @LarneMuseum

Virtual Visit: | Website:


Larne Historic Church Trail: | Memories of Carnlough:

Art UK – Artwork at Larne Museum:

Art UK - Artwork at Smiley Buildings, Larne:

Game of thrones tours

For centuries the scenery of Northern Ireland has been entertaining and inspiring visitors and locals alike, from Thackeray (author of Vanity Fair) who referred to the Glens of Antrim as ‘Switzerland in miniature’, to CS Lewis whose love of the Mourne Mountains was the inspiration for Narnia. The three decades-long conflict known as ‘The success of HBO’s Game of Thrones comes the positive portrayal of this northwest corner of Europe as one of outstanding landscapes and scenery.

There are two great journeys through Northern Ireland’s main locations for Game of Thrones. The first is to start in Belfast and head north along the Antrim coast. This trip can be done in a day at a rush or preferably in two days with plenty of time to stop and admire the views. The second journey is to travel south to the Mourne Mountains and County Down. Both make for a great long weekend’s sightseeing.

Some of the nearby locations

The Dark Hedges

One of the most visually spectacular scenes from the second series of Game of Thrones featured County Antrim’s Dark Hedges, which served as the King’s Road. The road and its avenue of beech trees is one of the most photographed natural sights in Northern Ireland, even more so now that it welcomes Thrones’ fans looking to follow in the footsteps of Arya Stark.

Binevenagh, The Antrim Plateau

Formed over 60 million years ago, the steep cliffs and rolling green of the Antrim Plateau is at its most impressive at Binevenagh on the plateau’s western tip. This is where Daenerys Targaryen was captured by the Dothraki in the finale of season five. Any scene featuring the Dothraki is pretty badass, but the backdrop of Binevenagh’s cliffs and a mass of galloping horses make this extra impressive.

Ballintoy Harbour

Ballintoy is a small village  on the coast of County Antrim where you can find a quiet fishing harbour. The area shows none of the flamboyance of show business, but it was here that Theon Greyjoy sailed to as he returned to Pyke and the Iron Islands in season two. The area has since been used as a set for the Iron Islands.


Cushendun Caves

The Cushendun Caves can be found near the village of the same name on County Antrim’s wild and beautiful east coast. The caves formed over 400 million years ago and it was here where the mysterious, and slight creepy, Red Woman, Melisandre, gave birth to some sort of evil shadow baby who then went on to murdered Renly Baratheon. Who said this show was just castles and dragons?!



Cairncastle is the perfect representation of the wild lands of The North in Game of Thrones. The rocky slopes of Cairncastle was one of the first backdrops we see in the entire series, used as the location where Ned Stark executes a Night’s Watch deserter while giving his speech to Bran about how ‘the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword’. Ned Stark was great.

The Gobbins Cliff Path

Wednesday, 12 August, 2015

A spectacular location where you can truly escape everyday life and experience nature at its most elemental. During your amazing 2.5 hour fully guided walking tour you may even taste the sea salt on your lips, feel the Irish Sea wind, marvel at tales of local smugglers, witness the native sea birds and keep your eyes open for some dolphins swimming off the rugged coastline. The Gobbins experience will take you along a narrow path hugging the dramatic cliff face; across spectacular bridges amid the crashing waves of the North Channel; traversing hidden Tunnels under the Irish Sea; up and down rugged staircases carved into the cliff face and into caves that were once home to smugglers and privateers.

The Gobbins visitor centre is the start of your adventure and where you will meet your guide for your adventure, please remember to bring along your booking confirmation. The centre hosts a fabulous interactive exhibition telling the history of The Gobbins Path, its flora and fauna, and the story of how the path was reborn. Guests with young children or with reduced mobility are welcome to browse our gift shop, enjoy a coffee in The Gobbins Cafe, or enjoy the outdoor children’s play and picnic area. You may also avail of the free car parking located at the Visitor Centre. We understand that The Gobbins Path may not be suitable for everyone and details are contained on our booking page.

The Gobbins Path was masterminded by the Irish railway engineer, Berkley Dean Wise as an incredible tourist attraction. The path originally opened in 1902 and was later abandoned in the 1960’s until an investment of over £7.5 million brought about its rebirth in 2015.


The Gobbins Experience

The Gobbins Path is an arduous trek that is often narrow and uneven, accessed by a very steep pathway. Due to the nature of the rugged coastal location suitable outdoor clothing and walking boots or shoes are essential. Without exception, all guests must wear a safety helmet whilst experiencing The Gobbins. To enjoy The Gobbins a good level of fitness is needed. You must be fit enough to climb 50 flights of stairs and walk a very steep 1 in 5 gradient.

Welcome to August 2017

Welcome to the summer

The Causeway Coastal Route can be travelled whatever the season and what delights are in store along the way.    Castles to explore, waterfalls of outstanding beauty, The Giants Causeway, beautiful beaches for a walk.   Lots of things to do for all the family.  Just google 'The Causway Coastal Route' and you will be amazed by the variety of sights waiting to be discovered. 

The  Gobbins re-opened in June this year and our newest attraction - The Whitehead Railway Museum is now open and is going to attract all those train buffs out there.  I had a sneak preview and it is really worth a visit.


 The Game of Thrones filming continues to draw visitors to this part of the coast   This area must be one of the favourite spots for filming ,   The Ballygally Castle Hotel is now home to one of the famous 10 doors.   A must for a photo!  Magheramourne quarry is the site for the 'White Wall' (easily visible from the road - it gets whiter every day!) and rumours are saying that it will soon be a venue for Wedding Photos. The hills above the apartments are often lit up for night time scenes which featured in the latest series.    If you are very lucky you will see strangely dressed creatures in the village shop. The bad news is that season 8 is to be the last series, I don't know what is going to happen to all the film locations.?  download the Game of Thrones app on our website to plan your visit.

  Steensons jewellers in Glenarm is another must on the attractions trail. Their new showroom is situated beside the church as you enter the village and you just might see them working on a piece of jewellry for Game of Thrones.   Ladies, you will love it - trust me. They now have a coffee bar to keep you wide awake for all the sightseeing to come.

And what could be nicer than a Summer break at the Ballygally Holiday Apartments?   A trip up the Antrim Coast road or a days shopping in Belfast back for a barbeque and then relax in the comfort of your apartment to watch the sea and the local rowing club practicing for their summer regattas . Truly 'your home from home' on the Antrim Coast.

The apartments are now under new management from the 1st of August as Jennifer is retiring, but Julie and Mark the new owner/managers promise its business as usual and the high standadrds you have come to expect will be maintained.

  We look forward to meeting old friends and making new ones in 2017. Just phone us or email to join us for a well earned break. Julie 


Ballygally Holiday Apartments, Highly Commended at prestigious event 2014

At the 2014 Northern Ireland Tourist Board's award Gala in May we were Highly Commended in the Non Serviced Accommodation catagory.   We were delighted to receive this commendation at such a prestigious event and will enforce our promise to give our guests a warm and comfortable reception and stay at our beautiful apartments on the Antrim Coast Road.   I don't have a photo just yet but watch this space!

Ballygally Holiday Apartments wins 2012 Excellence in Tourism Award!

Friday, 1 March, 2013

Ballygally Holiday Apartments, where nothing is overlooked but the sea, has achieved success in the 2012 Larne Business Awards.

David Magill, proprietor, received the award from Minister for Enterprise,Trade and Investment, Arlene Foster MLA. He commented " we are delighted to win this award and see if as further confirmation of our excellent tourism product and our ongoing focus on customer care"

The Ballygally Holiday Apartments are strategically located on the Causeway Coastal route, one of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board's signature projects. Open 365 days a year, the seven apartments provide luxurious accommodation and a wonderful base to explore the Glens of Antrim and world famous Giant's Causeway.

Find Your Ancestors

The National Archives of Ireland have recently gone on-line with the 1911 census. Many of Northern Irelands counties including Antrim are now active and the census is a great tool for family research.  Have a look!  Our Manager is always availble to assist you in your search.  Just ask at Reception.

Ballygally Hall

Ballygally Hall is now fully operational and proving to be a big success.     From keep fit, yoga , bridge and art classes  Childrens parties, Christenings, Prayer Meetings, Burns Night, Wine Tasting, Community Lunches (everyone welcome) and bowls everyone is catered for and it is wonderful to see such an exciting facility fully used and enjoyed.

 Ballygally Hall’s primary function is to provide a safe, welcoming facility where people can socialise, develop new skills and have fun together! To this end, BCDA and partnering individuals/organisations offer a wide range of events throughout the year which are open to all.

Social Networking - The Fun Way To Keep In Touch

Thank you to those of guests who have left very complimentary comments in our visitors book. Why not share them with friends on your Social Networking sites as well? Check out the Social Networking buttons on the green strip on every page of our website. These buttons will connect you to your networking sites, i.e. Facebook and Tripadvisor.   You can then leave your comments for everyone to enjoy. Join the group  'Ballygally Holiday Apartments' on Facebook. You can also have a look at our youtube entry, again under Ballygally Holiday apartments - Have fun.


ALERT! ALERT! WiFi has come to the Ballygally Holiday Apartments. Bring along your laptop as complimentary Wireless Broadband is available in every apartment.  We are now offering a 'Printing Service'  If you want to print a page from your Ipad or Iphone just ask at reception for details.   Very handy for those daily itineries or tourist information.

Hara Holistics

Hara Holistics offers various relaxing therapies from a Hot Stone Massage (I recommend this one!!) to Reflexology and Indian Head massage right on our doorstep. The therapy centre is in the River Room which is on Croft Road, not far from the Apartments. If you wish to book a treatment during your stay at the Apartments just ask at reception.

Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson

An episode of Top Gear was filmed in the car park opposite the Apartments a popular venue for film makers - all clearly visible from the comfort of your lounge.

Ballylagan Organic Farm - Straid

This beautiful farm offers home grown and organically reared beef, pork, bacon, lamb and Poultry.    Also available is a rich variety of seasonal vegetables and soft fruit. Well worth a visit and only 25 minutes from the apartments.   The Organic Farm has now oped a lovely coffee shop and I can guarantee that the food is delicious.

2017 — Ballygally self-catering apartments