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County Antrim (Irish: Contae Aontroma) is a county in Northern Ireland. The Antrim coast is one of the most beautiful parts of Northern Ireland, with the Antrim Coast Road taking in some of the best scenery in the country.
The Glens of Antrim offer isolated rugged landscapes, the Giant's Causeway is one of the most striking landscapes on Earth and is a UNESCO World Heritage site, Bushmills produces legendary whiskey, and Portrush is where mostly farmers go to party, with most heading for a better night out in Belfast. It is one of Ireland's most fascinating counties. It is also home of the Ulster Grand Prix, set in the tiny village of Dundrod and is the world's fastest motorcycle racing circuit.
Antrim the county town is worth a visit with many historical locations and for the bargain hunters a large outlet centre and huge Saturday morning bootsale at Dunsilly.
Cities, towns and villages
- Belfast (Béal Feirste, "mouth of the river bank") – partly in County Antrim and County Down — the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland. It is also the second largest city on the island of Ireland (after Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland), and the fifteenth largest in the United Kingdom. Shattered by more than three decades of paramilitary conflict, Belfast has undergone a renaissance and is now a vibrant, modern city.
- (Lios na gCearrbhach, "fort of the stream") – partly in County Antrim and County Down
- Antrim (Aontroim, "lone ridge") – small historical town, situated on the shore of Lough Neagh
- (Baile an Chaistil, "town of the castle") – town on the coast near Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge
- Ballymena (an Baile Meánach, "the middle townland") – large town in the middle between the Glens of Antrim and the Bann valley, the North Coast and the Capital.
- (Baile Monaidh, "homestead on the peatland") – head out to find the "King's Road" from Game of Thrones
- Bushmills (Muileann na Buaise) – home of the oldest whiskey distillery in the world.
- (Carraig Fhearghais, "Fergus's rock") – with its Norman castle
- Larne (Latharna) – important passenger and vehicle ferry port to Scotland and England
- (Baile Nua na Mainistreach) – large residential area north of Belfast
- Portrush (Port Rois, "promontory port") and Dunluce Castle
- (Cois Abhann Dalla, "foot of the River Dall")
- Rathlin Island (Reachlainn) – the only inhabited offshore island of Northern Ireland
- (Clochán an Aifir or Clochán na bhFomhórach) – volcanic rock formations that are a must see (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
- (BFS) is situated near the town of Antrim, and is convenient for exploring the region.
- (BHD) has flights from Heathrow, Brussels and Amsterdam as well as a number of small UK city airports.
- Car ferries sail between Larne and Cairnryan near Stranraer in Scotland.
- In summer a ferry for foot passengers runs from Campbeltown on the Mull of Kintyre to Ballycastle, then continues to Port Ellen on Islay in the Scottish Hebrides.
Translink operates the public transport system in Antrim. It has rail and bus services.
The main rail line is between Belfast, Antrim, Ballymena, Coleraine and Londonderry. There is a Belfast to Carrickfergus and Larne line and a Coleraine to Portrush.
The Glens of Antrim, known locally as "the Glens", is a region of County Antrim. It comprises nine glens (valleys), that radiate from the Antrim Plateau to the coast. The Glens are an area of outstanding natural beauty and are a major tourist attraction in north Antrim. The main towns and villages in the Glens are Ballycastle, Cushendun, Cushendall, Waterfoot, Carnlough and Glenarm.
Standard Northern Irish fare, but if you're lucky enough to catch the Oul Lammas Fair in Ballycastle (held on the last Monday and Tuesday of August), be sure to try Yallow Man, a rock-hard yellow sweet that is eaten with the aid of a hammer. Make sure your dental insurance is up to date first.
Bushmills Distillery, of course. You can take distillery tours, and you'll likely be more merry going out than when you went in. At the end of each tour, four people from the tour group (two women and two men) are asked to volunteer for a special whiskey tasting, where participants get to try nine different types of whiskey.
Visitors who are unaccustomed to driving on the left are well advised to shun the whiskey tasting. Buy some to take back to your hotel.
Stay sensible, don't wander around urban areas at night or make political statements in strange company, and you'll be just fine.
- South to County Down
- West to County Londonderry