You could drive anywhere in Ireland and find something fascinating to see. The country has built a network of driving routes, from the Wild Atlantic Way to the Hidden Heartlands and Ireland’s Ancient East. All are excellent and should be explored at your leisure. However, for diversity, fun roads to drive, history and nature there is little to beat the Causeway Coast.
Dramatic cliffs and extensive beaches align next to lush green pastures and hidden glens around Ireland’s Causeway Coastal Route. Made famous by the unique features of the Giant’s Causeway, this route follows the Antrim coast for around 120 miles taking in ancient castles, whiskey distilleries and many charming towns and villages.
The Causeway Coastal Route stretches from Belfast City to Limavady and has been rated as one of the world’s great road journeys, so now is a good time to pay a visit.
Just outside Belfast you will see Norman castle at Carrickfergus, looming over the northern shore of Belfast Lough. Now a visitor attraction the castle was once besieged by the English, Irish, Scottish and French so it has an impressive story to tell.
Further up the coast the village of Ballygally is worth a visit. It is home to the Ballygally Castle, now a hotel, reportedly haunted by a friendly ghost! Beyond Ballygally you can visit the walled garden at Glenarm before reaching the villages of Cushendall and Cushendun. The coastal caves at Cushendun are one of the many locations in Northern Ireland to host filming for the hit TV series Game of Thrones.
Having detoured inland to explore the rich green glens and the forest park at Glenarriff it is possible to drive out to Torr Head for views across to Scotland, before heading on past Ballycastle to the area that gave its name to the Causeway Coast.
First a walk to the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge provides an exhilarating view, before a visit to Bushmills Distillery may liven your spirits. Finally a visit to Giants Causeway provides a unique insight in to how volcanoes once dominated the landscape, or maybe giants did if you prefer the ancient story.
The seaside towns of Portrush and Port Stewart have long been the summer destinations of residents of Belfast City. Now they are best known as the home of one of the best golf links courses in the country and annual host of the North West 200 motorcycle race.
Continue around the coast from the bustling town of Coleraine to visit the clifftop Mussenden Temple at the Downhill Demesne, before ending the route at the Limavady County Park where you will probably need a rest.
Whilst it is possible to complete the Causeway Coast in a couple of days, we would encourage you to stay longer, break the route in to sections to see more and enjoy the Irish hospitality on offer.