10 Jan Rathlin Island
Enjoy the rugged landscape of this isolated island , you can let your mind wander and discover a tranquility and beauty that is so unexpected.
The ferry from Ballycastle to Rathlin Island travels just six miles across the “Sea of Moyle”. If you are on Ireland tours and want to take in Rathlin allow yourself a full day or even spend a night on the island.
This island is six miles long , one mile wide , “L” shaped and home to a small population of around seventy people.
In the harbour is the Boathouse , where visitors can discover some of the exciting history , learn about present day island 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 where visitors can sit quietly or just admire the architecture.
At the west of the island is the renowned RSPB Seabird Centre , where puffins , guillemots , razorbills , and kittiwakes can be viewed during the summer months.
It is also home to some magnificent views as on clear days Donegal , the North Antrim coastline , the island of Islay and the Mull of Kintyre can be seen.
Throughout the year special occations are celebrated with ceilidhs. Music , song and dance remain at the heart of the community life.
There are also 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. While he was on Rathlin , it is said that he watched a spider persevering again and again to bridge a gap with its web. Eventually it succeeded. Robert the Burce took heart from the spider’s efforts , raised fresh forces and returned to Scotland to fight for his kingdom. He eventually succeeded and in 1314 regained the crown of Scotland.
There is accommodation to suit all needs , and a pub and restaurant to while away a few hours in the evening !
At the Seabird Centre , get close up views of Northern Ireland’s biggest seabird colony with puffins and other seabirds jostling for space as they congregate in their thousands to breed from May to July. Staff are there to provide helpful assistance , binoculars and telescopes.
If you are on tours of Ireland it is well worth considering a visit to Rathlin Island for the ferry trip alone.
If you are on a day tour to the North coast time would be prohibitive as there are so many other attractions to see !