From the County Antrim town of Larne, rugged cliffs stretch north for 80 miles, broken only by nine deep green glens, each with its own unique character. First stop, Ballygally, where, no surprise in a land steeped in legend, the hotel is reputed to have a (friendly) ghost.
Winding on past spectacular scenery, solve the mystery of the beech maze at Carnfunnock Country Park. Splash down at the beaches of Ballygally, Glenarm, Carnlough, Cushendall or Cushendun. The Glenarm Estate is certainly worth viewing on its open days. Not far inland is Slemish Mountain, where St. Patrick tended sheep as a young slave.
Cushendall, capital of the Glens, is a lively centre of music, dance and craic. Next stop is Cushendun, a National Trust Preserved village, famed for its Cornish cottages.
Dare you venture further? Whichever route you take, thrills await. White-knuckle cliff road skirting remote Fair Head, or inland to Ballycastle across the mysterious ‘vanishing lake’; watery grave to coach and horses way back when.
The Glens are equally famous for their festivals, exemplified by the Heart of the Glens festival at Cushendall in August, where everyone sings and dances from morning to night, and vice-versa. Not to be outdone, Glenarm, Carnlough and Cushendun have festival weeks in July.
The Glens Translated
The names of the Glens evoke their history and features.
- Glenarm – glen of the army
- Glencloy – glen of the dykes
- Glenariff – glen of the plough
- Glenballyemon – Edwardstown Glen
- Glanaan – glen of the little fords
- Glencorp – glen of the dead
- Glendun – brown glen
- Glenshesk – glen of the sedges (reeds)
- Glentaisie – after Taisie, princess of Rathlin Island