A Trip to the Glens of Antrim
Northern Ireland is full of natural beauty that you really need to get out and explore. The Glens of Antrim is one of those places that you must check out while your here. Also, known by many locals as simply ‘The Glens’. It has become a popular tourist destination that people want to see and is known for its impressive beauty. We decided to take a fun trip around the Glens of Antrim and explore this for ourselves.
The Nine Glens of Antrim
If you want to have an unforgettable experience you have to visit all nine glens which we have listed below. A real must-see for anyone in Northern Ireland! The Glens of Antrim overlook 80km of beautiful coastlines. Many of the Glens include grassland, forests, mountain peaks and castles.
Many tourists might miss out on this attraction as it’s not heavily advertised like the Giants Causeway or Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. But very worth spending a day or two exploring the great Northern Irish landscape and these unique glacier valleys.
Glentaisie: This is the most northern glen out of all nine glens that is located at the foot of Knocklade mountain in Ballycastle. This area is full of history and many legends say it was named after Princess Taisie.
She was the daughter of King Dorm from Raithlin Island and was known for her great beauty hence why the area was named after her. During the Ice Age, the area was shaped by glaciers. You are very close to the Ballycastle coastal sea that offers stunning views to indulge.
Glenshesk: This Glen also lies near the Knocklayde Mountain and flows out to the lovely Ballycastle sea. It also offers amazing views towards Rathlin Island. The meaning of this glen means the ‘glens of sedge.’
Glendun: This Glen was named after the river Dun and you’ll find the close villages of Cushendun and Knoocknacarry right near the glen. It is known as one of the most peaceful places where you’ll find a large area of woodland.
Glencorp: Next is Glencorp which means the ‘glens of the dead’ and runs south to north from Glenann. At this small glen, traces of early man has been discovered on its hillside. As in Falnaglass, there is an area known as ‘The Fort’ which was identified as a Bronze Age barrow burial mound. This dates back to between 2500 to 500bc and is probably the reason behind its name.
Glenaan: The following glen known as Glenaan is found near the village of Cushendall. This area would be known for being the place of ‘Ossians Grave’. Irish Legends claim that Ossian was a poet and a warrior. It was said that he lies here in the tomb which was created in the Stone Age.
Glenariff: This is the most popular and biggest glen out of the nine that you should visit during your trip of the ‘Glens of Antrim’. It is sometimes called the ‘Queen of the Glen’ but its actual name meaning is ‘glen of the plough’. This gorgeous valley offers an impressive waterfall and unspoilt views.
Glencloy: Then there is Glencloy which is known for its unique shape that almost looks like a sword. Glencloy name meaning is ‘glen of the dykes’ and also ‘glen of the sword’. This glen goes along the sea out to Carnlough and is enclosed by while chalk quarries.
Glenarm: This last glen is known as the most southerly of all nine glens and the meaning of its name is ‘Glen of the army’. This glen is privately owned and is part of the estate belonging to the Earl of Antrim. Which was known as the residence of the Macdonnells family from 1636.
Glens of Antrim Attractions and Places to Visit
There are many great places and attractions near the Glens of Antrim that you must check out while travelling around Northern Ireland.
As mentioned above Glentaisie and Glenshesk lead you to the beautiful seaside town of Ballycastle. This small town holds many great attractions worth checking out.
One being the Knocklayde Mountain that stands 1,695 feet high and offers some amazing views. The mountain dominates the Ballycastle landscape and would take around two hours to get to the top but it would be worth it.
You must check out the History Kinbane Castle in Ballycastle which was first built in 1547 by Colla MacDonnell. The meaning of Kibane is ‘white head’ which refers to the white limestones that the castle stands on. Although not much of the castle remains today, it is still worth exploring while visiting the Glens of Antrim.
No trip to Ballycastle would be complete without visiting its beautiful beach that is only a five-minute walk from the town centre. Just taking some time to relax and walk along the sandy beach is a treat. You’ll be impressed by the views and its beauty.
Also not far from Ballycastle is one of the most popular attractions in Northern Ireland that is the Carrick -A- Rede Rope Bridge.
As you cross the bridge you will be mesmerised by the unspoilt views that surround you. The bridge is free to access and open all year long. Its one of those great places that you have to experience while in Northern Ireland.
Next, you have to spend some time in the coastal town of Cushendall which connects three of the Glens of Antrim. It was once known as Newtown Glens before being called Cushendall. The small town is full of character and offers a welcoming atmosphere.
Every year Cushendall host the ‘Heart of the Glens’ festival that was started by the local community in 1990. It has grown every year since then and is one of biggest community festivals in Antrim.
In August they host a variety of events for young and old alike that help to celebrate the cultural heritage of the Glens of Antrim.
Located in the heart of Cushendall you will find Layd Old Church that has been around since 1306. The church offers a great piece of history to unluck. Found here you come across the Celtic cross statue. The unique artefact has no actual date of when it was created but holds important Irish heritage that’s worth checking out.
Another village that can’t be missed out and is the home to one of Glens of Antrim is the lovely Cushendun. It is a beautiful shelter harbour that lies at the mouth of the River Dun. This picturesque coastal village offers a unique landscape and some great attractions to check out.
Stop off at the Mary McBride Bar which is full of history and a nice place to enjoy some Irish food and drink. Also if you are a Game of Thrones fan then you’ll definitely want to visit this bar. As you’ll find a Game of Thrones door that tells the story of season six located here.
Make sure you check out the impressive Cushendun Caves while you are visiting. The unique cave formation was formed over 400 million years ago. The caves have also been used in the Game of Thrones series as a backdrop just like many Northern Irish locations.
Next is another beautiful village in Country Antrim where you’ll find Glencloy which is one of the nine Glens of Antrim. Carnlogh offers some of the best scenery around Northern Ireland.
Located here are some amazing waterfalls that look like something out of a fairytale. Just one mile outside Carlough lays Cranny Falls which one of the magnificent waterfalls in Northern Ireland. So we highly recommend stopping off to check it out.
If you’re feeling adventurous and have time to spare then why not check out the Carnlough Bay Boat Tours. Located on the Carnlough Harbour, you’ll be taken on a short trip around the stunning Causeway Coast.
These are just some of the places and attractions you could explore further while checking out the amazing Glen of Antrim. Northern Ireland is full of hidden gems that you’ll only find if you go exploring and of course you can’t miss out on those popular attractions as well. County Antrim is full of beauty, steeped in history and perfect for a road trip.
If you’re planning to visit the Glens of Antrim or have already been we would love to hear about your experiences!
Don’t forget to check other places and attractions around Northern Ireland: Rostrevor Fairy Glen| Causeway Coast| Knockagh Monument|Popular Belfast Attractions| Crumlin Road Gaol| Ballintoy Harbour|Downhill Beach| Dunluce Castle|Bundoran- Donegal| The Giants Causeway|