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Rathlin Island

Virtually every part of the Coast Road covered by this guide gives you a different view of this small 'L' shaped island lying 8km/5ml off the north Antrim Coast. Arguably the best overview of Rathlin Island is from the top of the cliffs at Fair Head, however many feel that the view from the car park and picnic area at PORTANEEVEY, above and to the east of Carrick-a-rede, is unsurpassed. What is certain however is that here you dine 'al fresco' with décor that changes with the weather and a view from your table that is unequalled anywhere. The high chalk and basalt cliffs of Rathlin, looking for all the world like 'teeth', fringe the long east-west arm of the 'L' while the land slopes gradually down from the north to the southern tip of the shorter arm at Rue Point.

Rathlin is a beautiful island shared by lives as diverse as puffins, seals, wild orchids and man, each living peacefully with the other. The island offers fabulous opportunities for the sightseer, walking and bird watching satisfy some while others fish or dive on the numerous shipwrecks of islands' waters. Everywhere there is fascinating geology, archaeology and history, all of it tinted by the population of the ¼ million birds that either visit or live here. Little wonder then that 'Robert the Bruce' sought refuge here before his famous victory over the English armies in Scotland .

NATIONAL TRUST interest in Rathlin Island began in 1996 and extends from heath, grasslands, mires and ponds at BALLYCONAGAN, through the provision of a guest house at the late-Georgian Manor house and to a unique working partnership with the local community in helping to maintain the beauty of the island for all. Such is the importance of the Rathlin Island in terms of nature and history that it has various conservation designations and you are urged to make a visit to the island a 'must-do'.

As the island is accessible only by way of the Rathlin Island ferry service from Ballycastle and cars are not generally permitted, you will be best served in making your island visit an all day trip. If you do choose to visit the island, please keep to the marked tracks and paths, respect nature and the local community. Overnight accommodation at the Manor House Guest House is at a premium and booking in advance is advisable. The BROCKLEY TEAROOM is available for home cooked refreshments on your visit and if you plan to stop for only the day information about the island and short island bus tours can be arranged here.