Things to see and do - Ireland
Exploring the Antrim Coast :
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Exploring the Antrim Coast
Exploring the Antrim CoastBy car, 112 km, 1 day
Originally conceived in the 19C by architectural engineer Charles Lanyon to help supply potatoes to people in the Glens, the A2 has acquired a reputation as one of the most beautiful roads in Northern Ireland. The Antrim Coast, only twenty kilometres from Scotland, proudly projects the basalt columns of the Giant's Causeway, one of the jewels on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The coast, dotted with pleasant seaside resorts, is a fisherman's delight.Customise this route and add it to My travel book
The Giant's Causeway is one of the most famous natural wonders in Ireland. According to legend it was built by the giant Finn McCool so that the Scottish giant could accept his invitation to Ireland for a trial of strength. In fact the Causeway was the result of a volcanic eruption which took place some 60 million years ago and also affected western Scotland, Iceland and Greenland. It extends from the foot of the cliffs into the sea like a sloping pavement. It consists of about 40,000 columns and has been divided by the action of the waves into three sections: the Little Causeway, the Middle Causeway and the Grand Causeway. Some of the columns have evocative names: Wishing Well, Wishing Chair, Giant's Gate, Organ, etc. The only way to explore the site is on foot (car park near the Visitor Centre). The first part of the walk gives an excellent view of the Causeway from above. Further on, it leads to Benbane Head (8km round trip) by a somewhat slippery path (sturdy footwear recommended): many volcanic formations can be seen, such as a series of curved columns set in a natural amphitheatre. From the headland there is a splendid view of the region, reaching to Donegal and the Scottish coast. The Visitor Centre is set in an attractive modern building containing a restaurant, a shop, and a video presentation and exhibition about the Causeway Coast.
The vertiginous walk along Larry Bane cliffs, high above the noisy seagulls spiralling above the waves, is breathtaking. A 20 m long rope bridge is set up every year for those who want to go salmon fishing on the island. It's a hazardous crossing over the planks, suspended 25 m above the sea, crashing against the rocks. Apparently there have been very few accidents during the bridges' 200 years of existence.
Cushendun's most characteristic residence was built by Clough Williams-Ellis (1883-1977), the architect of Portmeirion in North Wales who worked here for Ronald McNeill, Lord Cushendun. Glenmona Lodge (1923), a Neo-Georgian style residence has a front portico, supported by Tuscan columns; set in a pine wood, it faces the sea to the north of the village.
The 190 ha park was once a private estate. It has a walled garden with 12 sundials dotted around amid flowers and shrubs which indicate Greenwich Mean Time, British Summer Time and local time. A terrace overlooks a maze in the form of the outline of Northern Ireland. The Lime Kiln Promenade includes a visit to the old Ice House and watch post. A trail takes visitors along the coast.