The Causeway Coast and Glens is an area of unsurpassed beauty, a unique fusion tangible heritage and magnificent scenery. An area whose breathtaking and rugged coastline merges into the romantic landscape of its deep silent glens and lush forest parks. Where beautiful beaches beckon, rivers wander through unspoilt lowlands and picturesque villages sit comfortably next to busy shopping towns.
To travel along the coast is to experience one of the most dramatic routes in the world. Miles of salty coastline will transport you past rugged and windswept cliffs, spectacular scenery and fabulous unspoilt beaches. It’s a coastline sprinkled with historic castles, churches and forts. Many are now just ruins but each holds the memories of a mysterious and heroic past. A past populated by seafaring Vikings and swashbuckling tales of the ancient Irish clans.
It’s a journey not to be hurried. Every twist and turn in the road will reveal new sights, well placed stopping points, offering uninterrupted views to Scotland on one side and tall limestone cliffs dissected by beautiful glens on the other.
Formed in legend and song each glen has its own distinct character and charm but all remain unspoilt and unexploited. Wild in their beauty each deserves a visit, but above all else don’t miss Glenariff, the queen of the glens with its gushing waterfalls and scenic path skirting the sheer sides of the plunging gorge.
Dedicated naturalists shouldn’t miss a trip to Rathlin Island whose rugged cliffs are home to the biggest seabird colony in Europe. Learn the secrets of the special water from St Columb’s Rill, as you tour Old Bushmills, the world’s oldest licensed whiskey distillery. King James I granted the original license to distil “Uisce Beatha” in April 1608 and the crafts and skills employed there have changed little in 400 years.
The Causeway Coast and Glens provide a journey of exploration, where imagination meets reality and where every village and town, castle and rocky shore are just waiting to be discovered. All along the way you’ll find the friendliest of people ready to stop, have a chat and help you towards your destination.
Day 1: The holiday begins with a “meet and greet” in the picturesque country village of Broughshane, famous for its floral displays, winner of the European Entente Florale and is also your gateway to the glens.
Day 2: Distance: 16 miles / 25 km. Your first day’s cycle is a gentle run on quiet country roads heading towards Glenarm the oldest village in the glen. On your way you may wish to take a slight detour and venture up Slemish Mountain, where Saint Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland, is said to have tended livestock as a slave boy in the 5th Century. Your destination today is Carnlough; a coastal village with a neat little harbour situated at the foot of Glencoy a few miles round the coast from Glenarm. The day finishes in the Londonderry Arms Hotel, which offers a warm welcome, excellent meal and on most Sunday evenings good craic in the bar with live traditional Irish music.
Day 3: Distance: 32 miles / 51 km. Today’s cycle heads for Glenariff glen known as the queen of the glens with its gushing waterfalls and scenic path skirting the sheer side of the plunging gorge. Cycling on from Glenariff you come to Cushendall the “Capital of the Glens”. The last leg of your journey then continues cross-country and after a short climb you cycle on a quiet road with magnificent views, free wheeling past the edge of Ballypatrick forest and on into Ballycastle. You stay in Ballycastle for two nights.
Day 4: Rest day. Ballycastle is a busy small town with numerous restaurants, musical pubs and a blue flag beach. From here you can get a ferry to Rathlin Island whose rugged cliffs are home to the biggest seabird colony in Europe. Overnight in Ballycastle.
Day 5: Distance: 18 miles / 29 km. This morning you set off for a jam-packed day, only a short route of 18 miles but a lot to see. The famous Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, the windswept ruins of Kenbane, Dunseverick and Dunluce castles, golden sands of White Park Bay, the Giant’s Causeway and finishing up in Bushmills, home of the famous distillery. Tonight you stay in the little port and beach resort of Portballintrae.
Day 6: Distance: 29 miles / 46 km. Today you head back towards the glens along quiet country lanes. You will be cycling through Glendun, capturing some of the most breathtaking scenery of the week. The last stretch of which is mostly down hill into the National Trust village of Cushendun where pretty Cornish style cottages line the streets and is your stopover for the evening.
Day 7: Distance: 22 miles / 35 km. The route today takes you through the magnificent glen, Glenaan; translated to mean “Glen of the little fords” followed by a relaxed cycle alongside Slieveanorra Forest as you head back to Broughshane. On your way you can visit a Neolithic court grave of Ossian, who was reputed to be Finn McCool’s son, the giant from the Causeway.
Day 8: After a final breakfast and farewell you commence your homeward journey.
Single Supplement €250.
Also see tour packages in:
Europe Ireland Outdoor: Land Rambler Walking Tours