The island is immersed in flora and fauna and in spring and summer Puffins; Guillemots and Kittiwakes; to mention but a few; nest in their thousands along its steep on-shore cliffs. Cushendall is known as the Capital of the Glens; a charming village nestled in the Heart of the Glens. It was in this sea that the children of Lir were said to be banished to the sea for 900 years as swans by there jealous stepmother. But with the coming of Christianity to Ireland some 300 years later the spell was broken and the children were returned to there human form. Every autumn flocks of wild swans fly over this area on there migration from Iceland to the warmer climate of Ireland. There haunting calls as they pass over are a reminder of one of Ireland's favorite legend. A world away from the frantic hustle and bustle of modern day life.
Day 1: Dublin to Ballycastle. Distance 160 miles, 260 km. On our way to Cushendall we will probably stop off in Antrim Town for our evening meal; but this will depend on time and how we are feeling; hunger, restrooms/toilets or other demands that may require a stop.
Our accommodation is within walking distance of the village of Cushendall; a vibrant society with a population of just over 2000. Cushendall is renowned throughout the glens for its traditional Irish music sessions.
Day 2: Giants Causeway and cliff walk. Distance, 10 km, 6 miles. This is one of the best cliff walks you will find anywhere in the country. The Giant's Causeway, often referred to by the locals as the eighth wonder of the world and declared as Ireland's first World Heritage site in 1986. It consists of 40,000 polygonal basalt columns, some of which are 6ft in height, all side-by-side and is explored by 350,000 visitors yearly, but we will be starting early enough to avoid the rush. The formations of the columns dates back about 55 million years, during the early Tertiary period lava flowed from a nearby volcano and settled on the shore. Our walk is also home to over 200 varieties of plant species and birds such as the Chough and Peregrine Falcon.
Day 3: Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, sandy beaches and caves; distance 11 km, 6.5 km. A very varied walk today, starting where we finished off yesterday our walk takes us along a rocky section of the cliff walk, into some very beautiful and quaint coves, protecting a mass of wild flowers. Followed by a mile of a golden sandy beach that we most likely will have all to ourselves. Our cliff walk finally ends at the famous Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and for those of you who are bold enough to cross are rewarded with fantastic views and wildlife. Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, meaning "Rock in the Road" the 18 meters chasm was a spot fevered by salmon on there migration path, hence the name rock in the road.
Days 4-5: Rathlin Island. Rathlin Island "a hidden treasure". We will take the 45 minute ferry ride from Ballycastle to Rathlin. A rare place of wild and natural beauty, extraordinary environmental values and social interests. Shaped like a boot the island is 6 miles long and almost 1 mile wide, made up of layers of limestone and basalt, sea cliffs reaching 470 feet in places. Three lighthouses stand as monuments to its wild coast line, while over 40 recorded shipwrecks lie in the depths of its underwater cliffs. Rathlin was once home to over 1000 residents; these days the island in winter months has a population of around 70, increasing to around 100 in summer. This is where we are going to spend the next two days and it dose not matter whether you are a bird watching enthusiast, a botanists or simply want to relax an enjoy this little slice of heaven we guarantee you will enjoy your stay here.
Day 6: Coastal drive, country roads and deep Glens. Distance 8 km, 5.5 miles. Our onwards journey takes us off Rathlin and back onto the mainland at Ballycastle to pick up our little bus and head south along the beautiful coastal road that takes in some fantastic views of Fair and Torr Head. Through Glendun, Glenaan, finally into Glenariff "Queen of The Glen's" This is where we will spend the remainder of our trip to Antrim. After settling into to our accommodation we will make a short drive to the village of Waterfoot. From the village our walk for the day follows the Glenariff River up into the glen. This is a very peaceful section of the walk and completely different then anything that we have done during the week. The landscape around us is simply breathtaking and if you are a photography enthusiast this was will blow your mind. The day finishes with a walk back to our accommodation along a narrow country lane way to our accommodation.
Day 7: Glenariff Forest Park. Glenariff Forest Park "A Stress Free Zone" distance 10 km, 6 miles. This is probably the most spectacular trail you are going to find in the glens. The Glenariff Forest Park; covering an area of 1185 ha of which 900 ha have been planted with trees. The remainder consists of several small lakes, recreation areas, spectacular trails and open spaces. Our walk takes us through the forest, onto open mountain side, where it offers panoramic views down the glen to the coast and beyond. Crossing the Inver and Glenariff River, taking in the famous Glenariff Waterfall on our way back.
Day 8: Farewell to the Glen's. Depart for Dublin. Some of the tour highlights are: Giants Causeway, Glenariff, National Park and waterfalls, Caring a Reid rope bridge, Bushmills Distillery, Rathlin Island bird sanctuary and seal colony, the village of Cushendall, spectacular scenery, lots of Irish music.
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