Rathlin Island…..a hidden gem off the coast of Ireland

Rathlin Island…..a hidden gem off the coast of Ireland

Amidst the rugged landscape of this isolated island, you can let your mind wander and discover a tranquillity and beauty that is so unexpected.

The ferry to Rathlin Island travels just six miles across the “Sea of Moyle”. This island is six miles long, one mile wide, L shaped and home to a small population of around seventy people.

Caledonian MacBrayne first started to operate the service to Rathlin several years ago and in that time have achieved easier access with the first roll-on/roll-off service for everyone travelling across the sea.

At the harbour is the Boathouse, where visitors can discover some of the exciting history, learn about present day life and see some artefacts from shipwrecks around the island. A short walk around to Mill Bay there is a colony of seals, who are fun to just sit and watch.

At the other side of the harbour are two churches, St Thomas’s (Church od Ireland) and St Mary’s (Roman Catholic) where visitors can sit quietly or just admire the architecture.

At the west of the island is the renowned RSPB bird view point, where puffins, guillemots, razorbills and kittiwakes can be viewed during the summer months. It is also home to some magnificent views, on clear days Donegal, the North Antrim coastline, the island of Islay and the Mull of Kintyre can be seen.

Journeying down to the Rue Point, you pass Ushet Lough where the islanders regularly hold model yacht races. At the Rue Point there is another colony of seals and a clear view of Fairhead and the coastline towards Ballycastle.

Over at the East Lighthouse is the site of one of the most significant achievements in recent history. Marconi and his assistants, Kemp and Glanville, set up the World’s first commercial radio transmission across the water from Rathlin to Ballycastle in 1898.

Throughout the year special occasions are celebrated with ceilidhs. Music, song and dance remain at the heart of community life.

Ameteur dramatics are also a big part of island life and a play is performed during Festival Week in July. Sports Day in August is another increasingly popular annual event.

There are many tales of myth and mystery surrounding Rathlin, the most famous tells of Robert the Bruce. In 1306, the Scottish King was driven from Scotland by Edward I of England and took refuge on Rathlin.

Rathlin Island can easily be built into your tour of Ireland……At Ireland Luxury Tours we will endeavour to allow you to visit any attraction possible.