Northern Ireland is home to many incredible heritage treasures, many of which are located in the stunning Causeway Coast and Glens region. From abandoned friaries to medieval castles, this intriguing coastal destination has witnessed a dramatic history and as a result, has many stories to tell. Here’s just a few you can discover on your next holiday to the island:
The iconic ruin of Dunluce Castle bears witness to a long and tumultuous history. First built on the dramatic coastal cliffs of north County Antrim by the MacQuillan family around 1500, the earliest written record of the castle was in 1513. The ruins are not only a fascinating addition to the coastline, but offers stunning views from within the grounds of the castle.
The enchanting Bonamargy Friary near Ballycastle dates back to the year 1500. The cloister, gatehouse, altar and church are well preserved except for the thatch roof. There are many interesting features including the east window, a staircase and a sealed burial vault. Some say the grounds of the friary are haunted by a 17th Century prophet and nun, so if you’re visiting – keep your eyes peeled for ghostly goings-on!
Kinbane Castle and its surrounding area is a Scheduled Historic Monument located off the Whitepark Road between Ballycastle and Ballintoy. It offers spectacular views of Rathlin Island and Dunagregor Iron Age fort and is becoming an extremely popular spot with tourists, photographers and travel bloggers, all keen to capture their own unique perspective of the area.
This a must-visit if you fancy yourself as a bit of a historian! Mountsandel Wood is the earliest known settlement of man in Ireland dating to between 7600 and 7900BC. Flint tools were found here, indicating that Stone Age hunters camped here to fish salmon in the natural weir, and the earthen fort is thought to date back to Norman times.
The Giant’s Causeway
Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland’s first UNESCO Heritage Site, is a geological wonder and home to a wealth of history and legend. The 40,000 basalt stone columns left by volcanic eruptions 60 million years ago intrigue and inspire visitors. State of the art interpretation within the award winning Visitor Centre unlocks the mystery and stories of this amazing place and offers a unique glimpse into the wonder that is the Giant’s Causeway.
Mussenden Temple and Downhill Demesne
The temple was built in 1785 and forms part of the estate of Frederick Augustus Hervey, Bishop of Derry and Earl of Bristol (or the Earl Bishop). The temple was built as a summer library and its architecture was inspired by the Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, near Rome. It is dedicated to the memory of Hervey’s cousin Frideswide Mussenden. Both the Temple and the surrounding views are among the most photographed scenes in Ireland.
The Martello tower at Magilligan is a well known landmark, built between 1812 and 1817 during the Napoleonic Wars, to guard against possible French invasion. It was one of 74 constructed in Ireland, 40 or so survive. They were placed at strategic points all around the coast and designed to fire on any invading fleet or withstand lengthy sieges. This tower marks the end of a long tradition in Ireland of defensive buildings stretching back over 3,000 years to Bronze Age forts – a truly unique addition to the coastline!
This is just a small sample of the many historical heritage sites you can discover on the island of Ireland. If you’d like to learn more about travelling to or around the Causeway Coastal Route, please get in touch and our Visitor Information Advisors will be happy to assist you. Contact Us.
There’s lots more to see and do in the Causeway Coast and Glens, and you can find even more inspiration and ideas on our website. Don’t forget to check out our What’s On guide before your visit to find out about exciting events taking place across the Borough during your stay!
Need help planning your accommodation for your trip? No problem! Our Visitor Information Staff in Coleraine are happy to help, you can find their contact details here or you can browse the wide variety of accommodation options on our website
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