If you do not want to travel too far, why not have a tour of the local historical sites in Cushendall.
Just a short walk down the street is the Curfew Tower. The tower which is in the centre of the village was built by Francis Turnley in 1817, to confine riotous prisoners. Dan Mc Bride, an army pensioner was given the position of permanent Garrison. He was armed with a musket, a bayonet, a brace of pistols and a thirteen foot long pike. The projecting windows on each side of the tower had openings for pouring molten lead onto unsuspecting attackers below.
Just off the main Cushendall to Ballymoney Road is Ossian’s Grave, a megalithic court cairn. It is situated on a hillside in Lubitavish near Glenann River. Dating from the Stone Age it is believed to be the burial place of Ossian, the Celtic Warrior Poet. You will also find here a stone cairn that was erected in 1989 in memory of John Hewitt, the poet of the Glens.
The ruins of Layde Church, one of the oldest and most important historical sites in the Glens are situated on the Coast Road between Cushendall and Cushendun. Often referred to as a Franciscan Monastery, evidence would indicate that it was in fact a Parish Church. It was in ruins in 1622 but was rebuilt about 1696 and remained the site of Protestant worship until the 1800’s.
One of the most sheltered harbours on the Antrim Coast is at Red Bay Pier which takes its name from the Old Red Sandstone cliffs along the shore. It was probably used as early as the 8th century by the Vikings, and is now a favourite fishing spot.
The ruins of Red Bay Castle are located close to Red Bay Pier on the main Coast Road between Cushendall and Waterfoot, on high ground above the Red Arch. It was built in 1561 by Sir James Mc Donnell and was the scene of many battles in the late 16th Century. In 1565 it was burnt by Shane O’Neill. Though rebuilt by Sorley Boy Mc Donnell it later fell into disuse.
Situated just east of Ballypatrick on the main A4 road to Cushendall. The lake mysteriously empties and refills without warning due to its lime foundations, however most people prefer to believe that the lake possesses some kind of mystical magic.
While staying in Cushendall you have the perfect opportunity to tour the Glens of Antrim. The nine famous glens, endowed with evocative names and blessed with a diversity of landscape, are also rich in history, folklore and natural beauty. Entwined with the rich history and the traditions of the communities within the glens, is the constant sense of dual landscape. One with breath taking natural beauty that opens as you negotiate the hills and bends and another with hidden landscape, myths, legends and folklore. The glens have many stories of giants, fairies and other wonderful creatures.
- Glenarm – “the glen of the army”, it can be found eleven miles north of Larne and has the beautiful Glenarm Castle which can be found on the Causeway Coastal Route.
- Glencloy – “the glen of the hedges” is two miles north of Glenarm with the village of Carnlough at its foot.
- Glenariff – “the arable or fertile glen” this is the best known of the glens and is often referred to as the “Queen of the Glens”. It sweeps majestically towards the village of Waterfoot and is a popular tourist destination for visitors going to Glenariff Forest Park to enjoy the rich backdrop of waterfalls and peaceful river walks.
- Glenballyeamon – “Edward’s town land glen”, at the foot of this glen is Cushendall which is more or less in the centre of the glens.
- Glenann – “the glen of the colt’s foot, a rugged glen”. In this glen is the site of Ossian’s Grave, the Celtic Warrior Poet.
- Glencorp – “the glen of the slaughtered” is close to Glenann and roughly parallel to the main road from Cushendall to Ballycastle.
- Glendun – “the glen of the brown river” is adjacent to the village of Cushendall. It is spanned by a spectacular viaduct or as the locals say ‘The Big Bridge’. One of the three arches spans the River Dun and another Glendun Road. The architect 22 year old Charles Lanyon later became famous as the architect of many fine buildings including Queens University in Belfast.
- Glenshesk – “the glen of the reeds or sedges” is east of the town of Ballycastle and sweeps towards the ruins of historical Bonamargy Friary.
- Glentaisie – “named after Taisie Princess of Rathlin Island”. It is roughly west of Ballycastle and is close to the town.
For those walkers among you why not follow the Moyle Way, a twenty mile walk starting in Ballycastle and ending in the beautiful Glenariff Forest Park. If you are here to enjoy the scenery and the sites the best way to do so is to follow the Causeway Coastal Route. This route covers eighty miles of coastline beginning in Belfast and ending in the Walled City of Derry. Below we have listed the Causeway Coastal Route which you may find helpful. This route takes in most of the tourist attractions on the North Coast.
- Belfast Zoo – situated on a breath-taking 55 acre site with panoramic views over Belfast Lough.
- Carrickfergus Castle – one of Ireland’s finest medieval castles. A striking feature of the landscape from land, sea and air.
- Carnfunnock Country Park – covers 191 hectares of mixed woodland, colourful gardens, walking trails and stunning coastline.
- Slemish Mountain – as the remains of an extinct volcano, this mountain has geological significance. While Patrick slaved as a shepherd on Slemish in the fifth century he experienced his conversion to Christianity.
- Glenarm Castle – the walled garden and tearoom are open from May – September with various events taking place including a Fine Food Fair, Tulip Festival and the World Highland Games.
- Glenariff Forest Park – three waterfalls provide a rich backdrop for photographers as do the forest trails and peaceful riverside walks.
- Cushendall – in this picturesque village, preserved Georgian houses line the four streets and the Curfew Tower is still a centrepiece.
- Cushendun – stands on an elevated beach at the outflow of the Glendun and Glencorp valleys.
- Torr Head – rugged coast, spectacular views over the Mull of Kintyre, crashing waves and historical intrigue are reasons why you should make this detour.
- Bonamargy Friary – was built close to the mouth of the Carey and Shesk rivers by Rory MacQuillan in1500.
- Ballycastle – enjoy beach and scenic views across to Rathlin Island and the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland. A monument of Guglielmo Marconi overlooks the harbour, commemorating his first wireless transmission from Ballycastle to Rathlin in 1898. From the harbour take a short boat ride to Rathlin.
- Rathlin Island – amidst the rugged landscape of this isolated island you can let your mind wander and discover a tranquillity and beauty that is so unexpected.
- Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge – boasts unrivalled coastal scenery and an exhilarating rope bridge experience.
- Whitepark Bay – this spectacular sandy beach forms a white arc between two headlands on the North Antrim Coast.
- Giants Causeway – renowned for its polygonal columns of layered basalt, it is the only World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland.
- Old Bushmills Distillery – is the oldest distillery in Ireland. In 1608, James 1 granted a royal licence to the district of Bushmills to distill.
- Dunluce Castle – the spectacular castle on the North Antrim Coast, was shaped when the sea cut deep into the rock.
- Whiterocks (Portrush) – the limestone cliffs of the Whiterocks stretch from Curran Strand to Dunluce Castle. These soft sedimentary rocks have been carved through centuries into a labyrinth of caves and arches.
- Portstewart Strand – two miles of yellow sand make this one of Northern Irelands finest and most popular Blue Flag beaches.
- Mountsandel Fort – the earthen fort in Mountsandel Wood, is the oldest known settlement in Ireland.
- Mussenden Temple – Frederick Hervey, Bishop of Derry, had an appetite for drama and chose a wild coastal headland for a mansion and a temple.
- Gortmore / Binevenagh – the mountain towers above Limavady and Magilligan, with great views over Lough Foyle and across to County Donegal.
- Roe Valley Country Park – the river flows through this colourful park where deciduous and riverbank woodland flourish.
- Derry the Walled City – its setting on the steep hills overlooking the wide sweep of the Foyle, its distinctive architecture and its famous walls provide enormous appeal.