The Beauty of Northern Ireland’s Antrim Coast

| February 9, 2013
church on the antrim coast

A small church on Ireland’s Antrim Coast

Antrim Ireland offers stunning beauty and omnipresent tranquility

During our two-week adventure in Ireland, we made a six hour trek by car from Galway to Bushmills for a three-day stay on Northern Ireland’s beautiful Antrim Coast. Bushmills, which is named after the River Bush and a large watermill built in the 17th century, is a quaint Northern Ireland village with a population of about 1,500. We stayed at a nice bed and breakfast just outside of Bushmills called the Causeway Lodge for its top accommodations and proximity to the beautiful scenery offered by the Causeway Coastal Route in Antrim Ireland.

bushmills ireland map

Bushmills Ireland

Although it was a significant diversion from the bulk of our travels to the south and west of the Emerald Isle, I felt we would miss out on the full experience of Ireland if we did not travel north. Also, having read about the ethno-political Troubles between the regions, I was wanted to meet the people from both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. As a temporary local, I found the Antrim Coast of Northern Ireland to be a place of stunning beauty and omnipresent tranquility inhabited by warm and inviting people. Vast expanses of farmland peppered with sheep and cows set against a dramatic coastline thick with atmosphere is what you will find. I have to believe my blood pressure dropped a few points while I was there. Yours will too.

antrim coast northern ireland

A misty afternoon on the Antrim coast

Three miles from our B&B was our connection to the Causeway Coastal Route. The route is a recognized scenic drive around the coast of Northern Ireland between the cities of Londonderry and Belfast. Since we were based in Bushmills, we were able to cover the section of the route from Portrush to Belfast. During our visit in September, the route was not overrun with tourists. The biggest attraction in the area is the geologic wonder of Giant’s Causeway, which gets a fair share of tourist bus activity. Also, the town of Portrush was very busy on Saturday seemingly filled with enthusiastic beach-goers. My assumption is that they were local tourists from Belfast and the surrounding area. Beyond that, I felt that the area has yet to be discovered by the international travel community.

cow in northern ireland

A content cow near Whitepark Bay, Northern Ireland

Along the Coastal Route, you will find scenic pullouts so you can stop and enjoy the coastal views. There are also places to park and hike to the beach. We met the friendly cow above while walking down to Whitepark Bay near Dunseverick. When we got to the beach, we were the only people there. The bay is quite beautiful with perfectly placed houses at the base of the cliffs. No wonder this is one of the most photographed locations along the coast.

northern ireland whitepark bay

Northern Ireland’s Whitepark Bay

Not far from Bushmills along the Coastal Route is Dunluce Castle. The photograph below was taken at the castle after a full day of rain. When the rain broke late in the day, we hopped in the car in search of a dramatic sunset and found it at Dunluce Castle. The first castle on the site was built in the 13th century. At one point in the castle’s history, part of the kitchen fell into the sea when a section of the cliff broke off. The wife of the owner refused to live in the castle after that.

dunluce castle at sunset

Dunluce Castle at Sunset

The photo below was also taken that afternoon. The turbulent weather conditions of the day made for a great photographic recipe.  Miles of pristine coastline topped off with golden light and a rainbow. Welcome to Ireland.

rainbow antrim ireland

The sun shines after a day of rain

Also worthy of mention is the Ulster Way. We actually stumbled upon the waymarked hiking trail that passes through the six counties of Northern Ireland by accident. The section we found after stopping at a parking area to take in views took us along the top of cliffs overlooking the ocean. In total we spent an hour and a half exploring our section of the well maintained trail. The photo below of the coastline and of the cliff-wandering sheep were among sights we experienced while on the trail.

ulster way northern ireland

Views along the Ulster Way, Northern Ireland

sheep in northern ireland

Cautious sheep in Northern Ireland

I hope these photos have convinced you to consider visiting the Antrim Coast of Northern Ireland. It was a peaceful and restful stop before heading to the vibrant city of Dublin. That is up next!

Other posts related to this trip to Ireland


Category: Ireland, Photography, Travel

Comments (2)

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  1. ABarlow says:

    Man, what an awesome scene. Really hope one day I’ll get to go to that place. It’s tops on my list!

  2. Lee says:

    Thanks Aaron. It is an awesome place with 360 degrees of beauty!