What Scenery Will We See Along The Causeway Coast?
The North Coast is one of the most spectacular sights in the world and what better way to admire the harbours, castles and stunning landscapes along this beautiful coastline than from the sea.
Kinbane Castle, now ruined, was built in 1547. Situated between Ballycastle and Ballintoy, the remains are the result of fire. The name Kinbane means 'white rocks' and refers to limstone cliffs it stands upon.
The Giant's Causeway
Between Runkerry Point and Benbane Head 40,000 volcanic basalt columns seemingly rise from the sea and stagger up the cliff face. Legend has it Finn Macool built the causeway to walk to Scotland but on his arrival there he saw the giant Bennandonner and fled home. When Bennandonner used the causeway to come to Ireland, Finn's wife disguised Finn as a baby and seeing him, Bennandonner assumed if this was the size of the infant, the father must indeed be a giant. He fled in terror, ripping up the causeway behind him so he could not be followed. There are similar rock formations on the Isle of Staffa in Scotland, thus supporting the legend. The hexagonal stepping stones, whose age is rougly 55 million years, were made from intense volcanic activity which forced molten basalt up through chalk beds and rapid cooling resulted in the cracking of the stones, not only horizontally (in the formation of cracked mud), but also vertically, the size of the stepping stones determined by the rate of cooling, creating colums of differing heights.
Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge
The rope bridge at Carrick-a-rede is cared for by the National Trust and has many thousands of visitors every year. The bridge spans twenty metres from the headland to Carrick Island. This bridge has taken on many forms in the last 350 years since the island was used by salmon fishermen. Even in the 1970's, it featured only one handrail and large gaps between each wooden slat. Today's wire rope bridge is much safer and has been tested up to ten tons. With 30 metres below it, the bridge offers stunning views of Rathlin and Scotland and an exhilarating crossing to the tiny island. From the sea below, you can see the area of scientific interest from a different angle. With the cliffs of the mainland behind, this is one of the most beautiful stretches of the coast. Often the waters beneath are clear and allow you to see dogfish and seals as well as diving birds catching their lunch.
White Park Bay
The white sandy beaches of White Park Bay stretch between Portbraddon and Ballintoy. The blue summer sea and the golden sand often enjoy huge crashing waves. An offshore wind paired with brilliant sunshine creates the beautiful spindrift enjoyed by many a photographer. There are often cows on the shoreline.
The harbour at Ballintoy is about a mile from the village which lies further inland between Bushmills and Ballycastle. It s distinctive white church stands up on the headland above. The small fishing harbour lies at the eastern end of the beach at White Park Bay and is a beautiful part of the Causeway Coastal Route. The harbour is afforded natural protection from the waves that sometimes dash Ballintoy's shoreline by numerous huge rocks scattered just of the sandy beach.
Ballintoy features in the hit fantasy TV show Game of Thrones. This scenic coastal harbour is where Theon Greyjoy arrives back in the Iron Islands and meets his sister Yara. It's also where he later admires his ship, the Sea Bitch.
The hamlet of Portbradden is made up of a few cottages nestled at the bottom of cliffs once quarried for limestone. Home to the smallest chapel in Ireland, this ancient salmon fishing station lies at the west end of White Park Bay.
Between Portballintrae and Portrush, the medieval ruins of Dunluce Castle reach right to the very edge of the basalt cliffs. Built on the site of an ancient Irish fort, the Scottish style castle was occupied by the MacDonnells of Antrim and the MacDonalds of Dunnyveg, Scotland. The wreck of the Girona lies nearby, a victim of the storms 1588. Her cannon was recovered and placed in castle's gatehouse and other items of cargo were sold to fund restoration of the castle. When part of the kitchen fell into the sea in 1690, taking all but the kitchen boy, the castle was abandoned and then deteriorated, material was then taken from the site to maintain others nearby. Today, the silhouette of Dunluce castle is a familiar sight to those passing along the north coast.
The Skerries are a small group of rocks scattered just off the Portrush coast. Made up of Large Skerry, Small Skerry, Otter Rock and. Underwater these rocks are home to a rich and varied number of species. Above water, the Skerries provide the summer residence to many seabirds and the seals that play amongst them.
White Rocks Portrush
Whiterocks Coastal Park is in a stunning natural location, with limestone cliffs stretching from Curran Strand to Dunluce Castle. The beach is popular with water surfers, body boarders and surf kayakers.