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Tour the Causeway Coastal Route with Darran

VagaGuide Darran takes you on a journey of discovery along the Northern Ireland coast road; a place that holds a special place in our hearts.

By Darran

Guide To Northern Ireland Coast - Quick Links

🏰 Stay In A 17th Century Castle Hotel

🎩 Raise Your Glass to Churchill!

🌄 The 9 Glens of Antrim

🌊 Torr Head

😲 Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

🌋 The Giant's Causeway

🥃 Bushmills Whiskey Distillery

⚔️ Dunluce Castle

Though not widely known, we rate the Causeway Coastal Route of Northern Ireland as one of the most scenic coastal drives in the world.

Crumbling castles, incredible geology and wonderful folklore await you.

All Vagabond and Driftwood Tours that include Northern Ireland spend at least one day exploring this magical area.*

Read on to explore the gorgeous Antrim coastline with the equally gorgeous Darran...

🏰 Stay In A 17th Century Castle Hotel

If you're taking one of our relaxed Driftwood tours that visit Northern Ireland, you'll be lucky enough to begin your journey along the Antrim coast from Ballygally Castle Hotel.

The exterior of Ballygally Castle Hotel in Northern Ireland

Sitting proudly on the Causeway Coastal Route, the 400 year old castle section of the hotel is the only 17th century building still used as a residence in Northern Ireland today.

🎩 Raise Your Glass to Churchill!

If you're taking one of our active Vagabond tours that visit Northern Ireland, you'll begin your journey along the Causeway Coastal Route from the historic Londonderry Arms hotel.

Facade of the Londonderry Arms in Northern Ireland

This charming Victorian-era hotel is located in the small coastal village of Carnlough, directly on the Causeway Coastal Route. Once owned by the family of Sir Winston Churchill, the Londonderry Arms has character in abundance.

Sitting in the hotel bar, it's easy to picture the old British bulldog reclining into one of the bar's antique Chesterfield armchairs, waxing lyrical and drinking excessive amounts of brandy!

🌄 The 9 Glens of Antrim

Leaving the sea to our right-hand side, we set off for the spectacular Glens of Antrim.

These beautiful valleys were made famous by the song Danny Boy.

"Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling from glen to glen, and down the mountain side."

A Drifter tour vehicle visits White Park Bay in Northern Ireland

The names of the 9 Glens of Antrim, translated from Irish, helps shed some light on their original meaning:

Glenarm - glen of the army
Glencloy - glen of the dykes
Glenariff - glen of the plough
Glenballyemon - Edwardstown Glen
Glanaan - glen of the little fords
Glencorp - glen of the dead
Glendun - brown glen
Glenshesk - glen of the sedges (reeds)
Glentaisie - after Taisie, princess of Rathlin Island

🌊 Torr Head

Soon after the Glens of Antrim, we approach Torr Head. On a clear day, you can catch a glimpse of Scotland. It's only 18km (12 miles) across the Irish Sea.

Hikers on the dramatic Antrim Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland

After passing through the village of Ballycastle, where Europe's most ancient animal fair still takes place, we begin to climb. Rathlin Island comes into view offshore. This is where the Vikings first landed in Ireland, around 1200 years ago.

Spotted passers-by in medieval dress? You can safety assume you're looking at a Game of Thrones fan. The History Channel series was filmed in this area.

😲 Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

Our next stop on the Causeway Coastal Route is the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge.

Carrick a Rede Rope Bridge in Northern Ireland

Migrating salmon used to be netted by local fishermen here. Now, the rope bridge attracts a different type of visitor. You'll need nerves of steel to cross this 20m (66 feet) long rope bridge, suspended 30m (100 feet) over the waves.

⚠️ Carrick a Rede Rope Bridge is currently closed to tour groups until further notice - July 2021.

🌋 The Giant's Causeway

The day just keeps getting better! Next on our itinerary is the legendary Giant's Causeway.

There are just over 1000 UNESCO World Heritage sites in existence globally. The Giant's Causeway is the only site so honoured in Northern Ireland.

Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland

This wonder of geology comprises approximately 40,000 hexagon shaped basalt rocks. Before scientists suggested volcanic origins, folklore explained the causeway as an escape route for the mythical giant, Finn McCool:

"Finn is having trouble with someone across the water. The Scottish giant Benandonner is threatening Ireland.

An enraged Finn grabs chunks of the Antrim coast and throws them into the sea. The rock forms a path for Finn to follow and teach Benandonner a lesson."

🥃 Bushmills Whiskey Distillery

All this sightseeing is thirsty work! And it's only the finest whiskey for our Vagabonds and Driftwooders!

With that in mind, the next stop on the Causeway Coastal Route is Bushmills. Believe it or not, the world's oldest licensed whiskey distillery gained its licence way back in 1608.

VagaGuide Darran enjoying Bushmills Distillery Tour

A walking tour of this working distillery concludes, fittingly, in the bar.

Bushmills is the only distillery in Ireland to make triple-distilled single malt whiskey.

Any visit to Northern Ireland is not complete without a taste of Ireland's uisce beatha (water of life).

⚠️ Bushmills is currently closed until further notice - July 2021.

⚔️ Dunluce Castle

Before we end our Causeway Coastal Route adventure, it would be rude not to stop at the majestic castle ruins of Dunluce.

Dunluce Castle in Northern Ireland

According to some archaeologists, the medieval town of Dunluce would have had some of Europe's first indoor toilets.

Active Vagabond Tours that Visit the Causeway Coastal Route:

⛰️ 12 Day Vagabond Giant Irish Adventure Tour

🥾 7 Day Vagabond Magnetic North Adventure Tour

Relaxed Driftwood Tours that Visit the Causeway Coastal Route:

🚐 11 Day Driftwood Discover Ireland Tour

🐑 6 Day Driftwood Northern Island Tour

* Depending on your tour, you may travel the Causeway Coastal Route in either clockwise or counter-clockwise direction. Darran's diary follows the clockwise route.

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