Information and Tourism
County Antrim's coastline is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the whole of Ireland
. It has an abundance of historic cairns and castles, as well as charming towers and towns. Picturesque glens jostle for attention with windswept beaches, washed by Atlantic waves. The Giants' Causeway runs along this part of the coast, too. Complete with surreal geological formations, it is possibly the most photographed place in Northern Ireland.
Take a drive along the coast road and you can't help but admire the Glens of Antrim - all nine of them, with their woods and waterfalls. Antrim's Glens are reputed to be a place of legend and myth, made famous in poetry and song, as well as an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Ballymena is often referred to as the 'Gateway to the Glens'. It is also home to the attraction known simply as the Braid, a name that derives from the river running through the town. This contemporary building serves as Ballymena's town hall, museum and arts centre all rolled into one.
Nearby Slemish is one of those places that you can't miss because of its distinctive appearance. The steep slopes of this volcanic mountain rise dramatically from the surrounding flat land. Every year on St. Patrick's Day, crowds of pilgrims hike up Slemish to honour the saint. As an additional reward for all that hard work, there are excellent views from the top. In fact, on a clear day, you can even see the Scottish coastline to the east.
County Antrim has long been a centre for Irish whiskey production and that is still very much the case today. In fact, it is home to Ireland's oldest working distillery, something that is enjoyed by coach loads of tourists each year.
In August, motorcycle enthusiasts converge on County Antrim's Dundrod Circuit, which is the venue for the Ulster Grand Prix. This famous motorcycle road race is claimed to be the fastest in the world. County Antrim's links with the motorcycling fraternity also include Joey Dunlop, an icon of the motorcycle racing world, who originally hails from the local town of Ballymoney.
Of course, a trip to Belfast is a must, with its thriving tourism market making it now rank amongst the most visited of all the cities belonging to the United Kingdom. The tourist outlet at Donegall Place is a good spot to start your Belfast adventure.
County Antrim Information and Fast Facts
- Country: Ireland
- Province: Ulster
- Population: approximately 625,000
- County administrative town or city: Antrim
- Language: English and Irish (Gaelic)
- Area: 1,180 square miles / 3,055 square kilometres
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