There is something very special about Rathlin Island, lying off County Antrim's Causeway Coast and it is well worth taking the family to the island and the
South Cleggan, Rathlin Island, Ballycastle
Tel: 028 2076 0062
Animals, Gardens and Open Spaces, Historical Sites, Indoor Activities, Outdoor Activities, Trips and Transport
Ages 5 - 12, All ages, Schools and Groups, Teenagers, Under 5s
(based on family of 4)
There is something very special about Rathlin Island, lying off County Antrim’s Causeway Coast and it is well worth taking the family to the island and the RSPB Nature Reserve for a visit. Rugged and beautiful, the island is accessible only by ferry from Ballycastle and for visitors with a keen interest in wildlife, even before reaching the island, the ferry crossing offers lots of opportunities to spot many different types of birdlife with possible sightings of porpoises or dolphins too. Access to the West Light Seabird Centre on the west of the island is by minibus, bicycle or on foot and there is a walking trail guide available. Between late April and July the breeding season is underway and the Centre offers a close-up view of this vast seabird colony with puffins and other seabirds taking centre stage in their thousands. To reach the main viewing platform, visitors will need to descend 89 steps down the cliffside. Volunteers are there to give a helping hand and children’s binoculars and telescope viewing are also available. Visitors will see some 250,000 birds jostling for space and mid-May is an ideal time to observe these birds as they try to get the best nest sites. Then mid-June is a wonderful time for spotting the first chicks. Fit in a visit to Rathlin West Light, an upside down lighthouse, built into the cliff face between 1912 and 1917 and an engineering feat. Learn about the people who lived and worked there and in fact lightkeepers only left in 1983 when the lighthouse was automated. On the southern end of the island, at Roonivoolin there is also important wildlife in the form of lapwings and choughs with sightings of seals and oystercatchers from the waymarked trail, which leads from the harbour. It is a fantastic experience.