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Dunseverick (Dun Sobhairce)

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Dunseverick is a small but beautiful town land, the harbour is still in use with local fishermen and is always busy with the surrounding shoreline proving a pleasant place to stop have a picnic and short stroll. The castle is nestled0300dunseverick_wfall_320-5983029 of a large rock standing solitarily along the coast, there are facilities for picnics and you can join the coastal path that starts from the Giant’s Causeway passing through Dunseverick Castle, Dunseverick Harbour, Portbradden, Whitepark Bay and ending at Ballintoy Harbor. The path takes you past a majestic waterfall between the castle and harbour.
The harbour also has toilet facilities.

History

Saint Patrick is reputedly said to have visited here. Dunseverick was the pride of the Route Ó Catháin family, and indeed was of such importance that the ancient fifth road from Tara ends here. The Ó Catháin family held it from circa 1000 AD to circa 1320 AD… then regained it in the mid 1500s, when the MacDonnells and Ó Catháin clan ousted the McQuillians, from that time onward it was held by the Dunseverick Ó Catháin family. Last one to have the castle was Giolla Dubh Ó Catháin, who left it in 1657 to settle in the Craig/Lisbellanagroagh area. Post 1660 they use the anglicised name McCain/McKane.

Location

Dunseverick is about 7 miles west of Ballycastle. Take the B15 coast road to Ballintoy, about 1.5 miles past Ballintoy a sign post labelled for the Giant’s Causeway directs you right onto the B146 road, follow this road for a short distance and another sign post will direct you too Dunseverick Harbour, or continue on and you will find Dunseverick Castle on the right.

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Whitepark Bay

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Whitepark Bay Video
(.asf 333KB)

Situated about 7 miles west of Ballycastle, Whitepark Bay is about 2 miles wide opening straight into the Atlantic ocean and accessible from either the car park at the top of a steep climb or from Ballintoy harbour which is just around the headland in the distance to the east. Neolithic man chose this beautiful place as an early home and a tumulus can be seen among the dunes. In the north-west corner of the bay is a tiny cluster of houses called Portbraddan, which contains Ireland’s smallest church, a thatched building about 10ft by 6ft dedicated to St Gobhan, the patron saint of builders.
The beach is not suitable for swimming as the beach has dangerous currents and sand shelves. For these reasons it is not particularly busy with bathers rather more it is an ideal spot for the naturalist. It has inspired many a budding artist. The steep limestone cliffs and strong winds make it attractive to the occasional hand gliding enthusiast.

Location

West on the B15 coast road from Ballycastle you will pass through the village of Ballintoy and Whitepark Bay is about another 2 miles.

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Murlough Bay

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I have traveled the length and breadth of Ireland and I have never seen a more beautiful site than Murlough Bay. My wife and I visit it regularly just to get away, you can see why. That is east side of Fairhead, the other side of this breath-taking bay is equally as heart warming but unfortunately I don’t have an image yet. I can’t say anymore.

Location

Take the Cushendall Road from Ballycastle, when you reach Ballyvoy turn left at the pub and take second road on left and then first road on left.

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Giant’s Causeway

cause4-9278541 The Giant’s Causeway, often referred to by the locals as the eighth wonder of the world and declared as Ireland’s first World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1986, lies about 15 miles from Ballycastle. It consists of a 40,000 of polygonal basalt columns, some 6ft in height, all side-by-side and is explored by 350,000 visitors yearly. Among the many theories and local legends, the most scientific reason for these formations is that about 55 million years ago during the early Tertiary period lava flowed from a nearby volcano and settled on the shore. The facts and legends are vividly presented in the Visitors Centre. The site is also home to over 200 varieties of plant species and birds such as the Chough and Peregrine Falcon.cause1_320-4623590

 

Legend

It is called the Giant’s Causeway because of a legend about the quarrel between two giant’s called Finn Mac Cool and Benandonner. Benandonner is said to have built a causeway from Scotland to fight with Finn Mac Cool, Finn Mac Cool pretended to be a baby in a pram and his mother told Benandonner that the baby was Finn Mac Cool’s brother Finn Gal. When Benandonner saw how strong the baby was, he thought that Finn Mac Cool would be stronger than him and he ran back across the sea to Scotland, tearing up the causeway as he went. He left in such a hurry that he his boot came off and it is still herecauseway320-5554396 today. As well as the boot there are also shapes of a camel and pipe organs in the walls of the cliffs.

The small white line which is visible just above the shadow in the right most image is actually a footpath with spectacular views of the breath-taking coastline. Also along this path you will see Port na Spaniagh where Spanish Armada ‘galleass’ Girona foundered in October 1588 when Don Alonzo Martinez, Senor de la Casa de Levia de Rioja was on the run with 1300 men and all his valuables crammed on board. Only nine men survived and for almost four hundred years it’s treasure lay undiscovered eluding treasure hunters but in 1967 it was rediscovered and ducats, muskets, jeweled chains, golden cameos and even ink wells are now shown in the Ulster Museum.

The main 13 hectare site was given to The National Trust in 1961 when Sir McNaghten bequeathed in his will and in later years the NT purchased a further 57 hectares of the surrounding coastline although small parts are still owned by local people and the visitor centre and car park are owned by Moyle District Council.

I recently walked the full coastal path and realised there is a lot more to the site that the visitors’ centre if you would like to see more photos and info on this click here.

Facilities

Giant’s Causeway to Bushmills Railway Car Park £3 Seasonal Minibus with wheelchair access Braille Guide Tea Room Shop

Booked School visits welcome

Details

Owned by The National Trust 44a Causeway Road, Bushmills, County Antrim, BT57 8SU Tel: +44 28 2073 1159/1582

Fax: +44 28 2073 2963