- Bird watching :
Rathlin Island, lying off Antrim’s Causeway Coast, has a rare, untamed beauty. The wildlife is evident before you step ashore - the ferry crossing presents many opportunities to spot auks, gannets and gulls with even a chance of porpoises or dolphins. Seals and eider ducks laze around the harbour at most times of the year.
On the journey from the harbour to the RSPB’s new visitor centre, whether travelling by minibus, on cycle or on foot, look out for wheatears, peregrines, stonechats, larks and lapwings. Our work to create ideal habitat for choughs has paid off, and they have now returned to breed after a 20-year absence.
At the viewpoint, get close up views of Northern Ireland’s biggest seabird colony, with puffins and other seabirds jostling for space as they congregate in their thousands to breed from May to July. Staff are there to provide helpful assistance,
binoculars and telescopes.
- If you are new to birdwatching
The seabird colonies at The West Light are very exciting to see and hear.
Information for families
Children's binoculars are available to hire and there is child-friendly assisted telescope viewing.
- Cycling: Cycling around the Causeway Coast
- Fishing :
The outstandingly beautiful Causeway Coast can offer the angler some excellent Ireland fishing for a variety of fish species at very different venues. Highly prized Atlantic salmon can be caught from the prime beats of the lower River Bann as well as from some smaller rivers like the Roe, the Agivey and the River Bush where the famous Irish whiskey is made.
There is also extremely good wild brown trout fishing on these rivers especially the Bann and the Agivey. There are four major tributaries, all of which are ideal game fish habitat; the Clady River, Agivey River, Macosquin River, and Ballymoney River, all but the latter joining from the west, having risen in the Sperrin mountains.
The lower River Bann is very important in an Ireland fishing context as a salmonid river, with historic catch statistics of over 20,000 salmon per annum taken by nets and traps until the mid-20th century. It still remains important as an angling river with between 1,500 to 2,000 salmon caught on the rod each year.
There are four main lower River Bann beats which give the angler an excellent chance of catching salmon and trout. These are:
- Carnroe: This is one of the premier angling beats in Ireland. Fish congregate in low water conditions and provide a superb angling opportunity. Carnroe is limited to eight anglers per day and has a 10 year average of over 1,000 per year. It has some excellent fly water as well as areas for spinning and bait fishing. This beat is heavily booked and so rods are limited.
- Portna: Portna has earned a good reputation as a salmon beat and is divided into two parts. The upper beat has fast flowing water , which is wadeable with caution and fly fishing is the main method. The lower part has slower flowing water but still offers excellent fly water.
- Genealogy: If you've always wondered about your roots, it’s time to mix research and pleasure and come to your ancestral homeland for some digging. It may seem like a needle in a haystack when you consider there are 25 million people of Northern Irish descent in the United States and Canada alone. But you'd be amazed what our professionals can find! With luck, you may be able to go directly to your ancestral home on arrival!
- Golf: Northern Ireland is a small country… but a big player in the world of golf.
County Tyrone’s Darren Clarke is one of the game’s top professionals and, apart from Tiger Woods, was the first man to win two World Golf Championship events.
The place on the world map also extends to our golf courses...Royal County Down and Royal Portrush are consistently rated among the very best and offer supreme links challenges that have been met and praised by legends such as Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Tom Watson.
But there are more than 90 courses to choose from in Northern Ireland, with degrees of difficulty that will suit everyone from the skilled exponent to the high-handicapper.
For all, the handicap is often the difficulty in taking their eyes off the scenery, from the Mountains of Mourne to stunning views over the Atlantic Ocean.
Royal Portrush Golf Club, founded in 1888 has two championship courses – the renowned Dunluce Course and the smaller but equally enjoyable Valley Course. The Dunluce Course was redesigned in 1947 by Mr H.S. Colt and later, in 1951, became host to the first ever Open Championship held in Ireland. During the entire tournament only two golfers managed to break 70. The course offers challenging golf and breathtaking scenery, the green is laid out among huge sand dunnes that gemtly raise above the ground to provide spectacular views over the Antrim coast. But no matter how appealing the view, attention must be paid to your game as Portrush can challenge even the most experienced of golfers. Portrush’s most celebrated
- Walking : From city walks to country routes, there's plenty to take in and all at your own speed..
Two great cities with outstanding city Local Walks.
Historic Walls of Derry - The only completely walled city in Ireland! A walk around Derry's walls reveals a city crammed with history and a vibrant cultural scene. The walls were built between 1613 -1618 as defences for settlers from England and Scotland. Walk the 1.5 mile route in under an hour, marvelling at how well preserved the walls are, even down to the cannons, stopping to visit landmarks along the way. As a walkway circling the inner city, it's ideal for viewing the Renaissance streetplan within and savouring the vista across the River Foyle and beyond to Donegal.
The North Coast of Northern Ireland is a very special place. Home to incredible contrasting landscapes, the North Coast is a region of stunning beauty. From wild, romantic coastlines to beautiful forests and spectacular countryside, this wonderfully unique area has something to offer everyone.
Coleraine is the main town on the Causeway Coast. Just a few miles away are the prosperous seaside towns of Portrush and Portstewart and of course, the awe-inspiring Giant’s Causeway – the top tourist attraction in Ireland in 2004 (Northern Ireland Tourist Board). Guests can find a wonderful variety of activities when one wishes to relax. They can explore our award-winning beaches, fantastic coastal cycling and walking routes and beautiful forest trails.