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Info on Places to Eat, Things to Do & Places to Visit around Ballycastle


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Exploring the Beauty of Ballycastle: A Guide to the Northern Irish Town

Ballycastle county antrim is popular tourist destination located on the Causeway Coastal Route, known for its breathtaking natural landscapes and rich history. From historical landmarks and cultural attractions to outdoor adventures and stunning beaches, Ballycastle has something to offer for everyone. In this guide, we will take a closer look at Ballycastle’s top attractions and outdoor activities to help you plan your next visit to this beautiful town centre.

A Brief History of Ballycastle

Before diving into the top attractions and outdoor activities, it’s essential to understand the rich history behind Ballycastle. The town has a long and fascinating history that dates as far back as the Neolithic period.

As one of the oldest settlements in Ireland, Ballycastle has a rich and diverse history that has left its mark on the town. From ancient standing stones to the bustling hub of commerce and development, Ballycastle has seen it all.

Early Settlements and Origins

Ballycastle’s earliest settlers arrived in the area around 4000-2500 BC, leaving behind numerous artefacts and structures, including standing stones, cairns and megalithic tombs. These ancient structures are a testament to the ingenuity and skill of the early inhabitants of Ballycastle, who were able to create impressive structures with limited resources.

As the centuries passed, Ballycastle continued to evolve, with new settlers arriving and leaving their mark on the town. From the Celts to the Viking settlement, each group brought with them their own unique culture and traditions, which helped to shape the town into what it is today

Ballycastles Geology

Ballycastle, located in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, is an area renowned for its fascinating geology. The region is a treasure trove of geological wonders that provide insights into the earth’s history and the forces that shaped the landscape.

The unique geology of Ballycastle is further showcased along the Causeway Coastal route south of the giants causeway, where striking cliffs, sea stacks, and arches punctuate the shoreline. These dramatic formations are composed of basalt, sandstone, and limestone, representing different geological periods and processes.

Beneath the surface lies another remarkable geological feature, known as the North Antrim Basalt. This extensive basalt plateau, stretching from Ballycastle to the outskirts of Belfast, is the result of successive volcanic eruptions that occurred over millions of years. It provides a diverse range of landscapes, from rolling hills and moorlands to deep valleys and glens.

The Ballycastle coalfield is located in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, near the town of Ballycastle. It is part of the larger Carboniferous coalfields of the region.

The formation of the Ballycastle coalfield dates back to the Carboniferous period, approximately 300 million years ago. During this time, lush forests covered the landscape, composed of dense vegetation such as ferns and large trees. Over millions of years, as these plants died and accumulated, they formed thick layers of organic matter from the vegetated coastal swamp subject to younger tertiary igneous rocks.

The organic matter, under intense pressure and heat, underwent a process called coalification. This transformation converted the organic material into coal, a carboniferous sedimentary rocks. The coal beds in the Ballycastle coalfield primarily consist of bituminous coal, which is commonly used for energy production due to its high carbon content.

The coalfield’s geological history also influenced its present-day distribution and accessibility. Subsequent erosion and glaciation processes exposed the coal seams in certain areas, making them accessible for extraction.

While the Ballycastle coalfield assi was historically a significant source of fuel for local industries, coal mining has declined over the years. However, the remnants of the coalfield serve as a reminder of the area’s geological past and the role of coal in shaping the local economy and landscape.

Things to See in Ballycastle Town

Now that we have discovered the rich history behind Ballycastle, it’s time to explore the town’s top attractions. From historical landmarks to stunning beaches, Ballycastle has something for everyone.

Ballycastle Beach

Ballycastle Beach is a stunning stretch of golden sand located just a stone’s throw away from the vibrant town center of Ballycastle, Northern Ireland. The beach offers a range of facilities to ensure visitors have a comfortable and enjoyable experience.

The beach provides ample parking nearby, making it easily accessible for both locals and tourists. From the town center, it is just a short walk to the beach, allowing visitors to enjoy the beautiful coastal scenery along the way.

Once at Ballycastle Beach, visitors can take advantage of the various amenities available. There are public toilets conveniently located nearby, as well as picnic areas and benches where families can relax and enjoy a meal or snack. There is even a pier that is called Pans rock that takes you out over the incoming tide. Wed recommend a walk along to pans rock

The beach itself offers plenty of space for sunbathing, sandcastle building, and beach games. The clear waters are inviting for swimming, and RNLI Beach lifeguards are on duty during the summer months to ensure the safety of beachgoers. (*note the RNLI beach lifeguards located here are obly a seasonal lifeguard service)

Ballycastle Beach’s proximity to the town center also means that visitors can easily access a range of amenities, including cafes, restaurants, and shops, to grab a bite to eat or purchase any necessary beach supplies.

Ballycastle Marina

Ballycastle Marina and Seafront are the vibrant heart of Ballycastle town centre, situated on the stunning Causeway Coastal Route of Northern Ireland. The shallow marine bay boasts a picturesque harbor, where colorful fishing boats and yachts bob gently in the clear waters.

Strolling along the seafront, visitors are treated to panoramic views of Rathlin Island and the rugged County Antrim coastline. The promenade offers a charming mix of cafes, restaurants, and shops, where visitors can savor delicious seafood, browse unique local crafts, or simply relax with a cup of coffee while enjoying the views of Ballycastle beach.

The marina is a bustling hub of activity, with boat trips departing to explore the captivating Rathlin Island or the mesmerizing Giant’s Causeway. Whether you’re seeking a leisurely stroll, a spot of fishing, or a scenic boat excursion, Ballycastle Marina and Seafront provide an inviting and lively atmosphere for visitors to enjoy the coastal charm of this enchanting town.

Golfing at Ballycastle Golf Course

Ballycastle Golf Club is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. Ballycastle Golf Course is an 18-hole course that offers a challenging yet enjoyable experience for golfing enthusiasts, with stunning views of the surrounding countryside. The course is located on the edge of the town, with the sea on one side and the hills on the other, making for a unique golfing experience.

After a round of golf, visitors can relax in the clubhouse and enjoy a meal or a drink while taking in the views of the course.

Overall, Ballycastle is a town that has a little something for everyone. Whether you are interested in the town’s rich history, looking for outdoor adventures, or simply seeking a relaxing day at the beach, Ballycastle is a destination that shouldn’t be missed. So pack your bags, grab your hiking boots or your bike, and come explore all that this beautiful town has to offer!

Ballycastle Museum

Ballycastle Museum showcases the town’s rich history, from its earliest inhabitants to the present day. The museum boasts a wide range of exhibits, including artefacts from the Neolithic period, the 1798 uprising, and the town’s maritime history.

Visitors can learn about the town’s famous residents, including the renowned artist, Paul Henry, and the famous pirate, Grace O’Malley. The museum also hosts a range of events and workshops throughout the year, including talks on local history and art exhibitions.

The museum’s location in the heart of the town makes it an ideal starting point for exploring Ballycastle’s other attractions.

Bonamargy Friary

Bonamargy Friary is a 15th-century Franciscan Friary located along the Ballycastle coastline. The friary has a fascinating history, including being used as a temporary resting place for the famous chieftain, Sorley Boy MacDonnell. The ruins and surrounding grounds provide a peaceful and tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of the town.

The friary’s location provides stunning views of the surrounding causeway coastal route and countryside, making it an ideal destination for a relaxing stroll. Visitors can explore the ruins and learn about the friary’s history, including its use as a place of worship and refuge during times of conflict.

The surrounding area is home to a range of walking trails and picnic areas, providing the perfect opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

Ballycastle Forest

The Forest, is a verdant oasis that enchants nature lovers. This serene woodland retreat features a diverse range of tree species, including ancient oaks, beech, and birch. The forest offers a network of well-marked trails, inviting visitors to explore its enchanting beauty on foot or by bike.

As you wander through the forest, you’ll encounter babbling brooks, tranquil ponds, and an abundance of wildlife, including native birds and woodland creatures. Ballycastle Forest is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts seeking peaceful walks, picnics, or simply a moment of solitude amidst nature’s splendor.

Its proximity to the town centre makes it a must-visit destination for both locals and visitors, providing a tranquil escape from the bustling town life.

Nearby Attractions on The Causeway Coastal Route

Kinbane Castle

Kinbane Castle, situated on a rocky outcrop overlooking the sea, is a must-see attraction for those interested in Irish history. The ruins of the castle date back to the early 16th century, and the surrounding area is home to a varied range of flora and fauna.

You can explore the castle ruins and learn about its fascinating history, including its use as a strategic military stronghold during the medieval period. The castle’s location also provides stunning views of the surrounding coastline and countryside.

Fair Head

Fair Head is a picturesque cliff that towers over Ballycastle’s coastline, providing fantastic panoramic views of the surrounding areas. Visitors can hike or cycle to the top of the cliff, where they can see Scotland on a clear day. The rugged terrain and diverse wildlife make it an exciting destination for nature lovers.

The cliff is also a popular destination for rock climbing enthusiasts, with a range of challenging routes available for all skill levels. The stunning views from the top make it a rewarding and unforgettable experience.

For those who prefer a more leisurely pace, there are plenty of walking trails around the base of the cliff, providing stunning views of the coastline and surrounding countryside.

Rathlin Island

Rathlin Island, is a popular tourist destination located off the coast of Ballycastle, is a captivating jewel in the Irish Sea. Steeped in history and natural beauty, it offers a unique and enchanting experience for visitors.

The island’s rugged cliffs provide a dramatic backdrop to diverse bird colonies, including puffins and guillemots, making it a haven for birdwatching enthusiasts. Explore the island’s rich heritage through its lighthouses, ancient ruins, and the renowned RSPB Seabird Centre at east lighthouse.

Rathlin Island also offers opportunities for scenic walks, cycling, and wildlife spotting. Accessible by ferry from Ballycastle Harbour, this serene island escape invites travelers to immerse themselves in its stunning landscapes and tranquil atmosphere.


Ballintoy Harbour, a picturesque coastal village near Ballycastle, is a hidden gem that captures the rugged beauty of the causeway coast route. The small village and Harbor Nestled between dramatic cliffs and rolling hills offer breathtaking vistas of the North Atlantic Ocean. Its charming harbor, dotted with colorful fishing boats, invites visitors to soak in the peaceful atmosphere and admire the stunning coastal scenery.

Outdoor Activities and Adventures

Ballycastle is a picturesque town located on the north coast of County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The town is renowned for its outdoor adventures, making it a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. The town’s varied landscape provides several opportunities for those looking for an adrenaline rush.

Hiking and Walking Trails

Ballycastle has a range of hiking and walking trails suitable for all levels of fitness and ability. The town’s coastal path is a popular route, offering stunning views of the sea and the surrounding cliffs. The path also passes by the famous Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, a popular attraction for thrill-seekers.

For those looking for a more challenging trek, the nearby Glens of Antrim offer several hiking trails suitable for experienced hikers. The trails wind through the lush green hills and valleys, offering breathtaking views of the countryside.

Knocklayde mountain

Overlooking the charming town of Ballycastle, the hill walking trails on Knocklayde Mountain offer breathtaking experiences for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. With its distinctive profile dominating the skyline, Knocklayde boasts a range of trails suitable for all levels of hikers.

The mountain’s trails provide awe-inspiring vistas of the surrounding countryside, the rugged coastline, and the shimmering waters of the North Atlantic Ocean. The routes vary in difficulty, ensuring options for both beginners and seasoned trekkers.

As you ascend Knocklayde Mountain, you’ll encounter diverse flora and fauna, including rare and protected species. The trails also offer glimpses of ancient archaeological sites and historical landmarks, adding a touch of intrigue to your adventure.

Cycling Routes

Cycling enthusiasts will love Ballycastle’s cycling routes, which offer stunning views of the coastline and the town’s surrounding countryside. The town is home to several cycling clubs, and visitors can join them for a group ride or rent a bike from various local businesses, making it easy to explore the area on two wheels.

One of the most popular cycling routes is the Causeway Coastal Route, which runs from Belfast to Derry-Londonderry, passing through Ballycastle. The route offers stunning views of the coast, with plenty of opportunities to stop and take in the scenery.

Water Sports and Boat Tours

Ballycastle Harbour offers an array of captivating boat tours that provide visitors with unforgettable experiences and breathtaking views of the surrounding coastline. From exhilarating wildlife encounters to exploring fascinating geological formations, these tours showcase the natural beauty of the area.

One of the most popular boat tours takes visitors to Rathlin Island, home to diverse bird colonies, including puffins, guillemots, and razorbills. This tour allows tourists to immerse themselves in the island’s rich wildlife and learn about its history and folklore.

Another remarkable boat tour option is a visit to the iconic Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These tours navigate along the dramatic Antrim Coast, revealing stunning cliffs, ancient castles, and the awe-inspiring basalt columns of the Giant’s Causeway itself.

For those seeking adventure, high-speed RIB (rigid inflatable boat) tours are available, offering thrilling rides along the Antrim coast. These tours combine adrenaline-pumping excitement with breathtaking scenery, providing a unique perspective of the area.

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Welcome to Ballycastle Info, your one-stop guide to everything related to Ballycastle, Northern Ireland. The idea behind this site is to give those visiting or just thinking of visiting the picturesque seaside town of Ballycastle. We have information on the best places to visit, things to see, places to eat and much more in one place.

We are an independent website focused on all things Ballycastle. As travel enthusiasts, we found it quite tricky to locate information on anything to do with one of our favourite places, so we thought we could help fellow travellers with the development of Ballycastle Info – “A one-stop site for all things Ballycastle.

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