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About Antrim

One of the most impressive aspects of county Antrim has got to be its famous coastline. The marine drive north from Larne, and then west to the resort of Portrush follows sixty miles of the most beautiful coast you could imagine. For many visitors, however, the world renowned Giant's Causeway is reason alone to visit the county.

This geological phenomenon is famed for its columns of layered basalt and is a world heritage site. The shapes we see today were formed when red-hot lava erupted from an underground fissure and crystallised some 60 million years ago. Two well established routes set at different levels leave from the Visitor Centre and form a circular walk. The Cliff top at Hamilton's seat affords one of the best views of the Causeway, also taking in Malin Head and Inishowen.

Owned by the conservation charity The National Trust, the Causeway sits in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Guided tours are available from June to August or visitors can explore the North Antrim coastal path themselves, all year round. A shop with gifts and Irish crafts and a restaurant for coffees, lunches and teas is open from March to November.

Another area of outstanding natural beauty is the Antrim Glens. The landscape here is dominated by a high plateau, punctuated by deep glens which sweep towards the sea. Gentle bays are separated by blunt headlands, exposed moorlands give way to gentle valleys, wide vistas to enclosed farm lands. The Heart Of The Glens (the middle Glens) consist of Glenariff, Glenaan, Glenballyeamon , Glencorp and Glendun. A unique area, it remained isolated for many years from the hinterland. It is also one of Ireland's most wonderfully secluded corners, where the pace of life here is peaceful and unhurried.

Some of the other attractions to look out for in Antrim include:

Arts Council Sculpture Park
Pieces on view in the Arts Council's large and pleasant gardens include works of bronze, steel, wood and ceramics by Deborah Brown, John Aitken, John Kindness and other local sculptors.

Bushmills Distillery
The Bushmills distillery is the oldest legal whiskey distillery in the world. King James granted the original licence to distil in 1608. Visitors today can take a guided tour of the distillery and receive a complimentary glass to round off their visit.

Dunseverick Museum
Exhibts in this museum include Spanish Armada and local marine artefacts, a World War I display, a steamboat gauge, recovered coal from the Titanic, photographs as well as fossil and mineral collections.

Dunluce Castle
This spectacular castlecrowned crag on the famous north Antrim coast was shaped when the sea cut deep into the land, exploiting cracks on either side of the rock. Dunluce Castle was originally occupied by the O'Donnells and was set to seige by the British in the sixteenth Century.

Ballycastle Museum
This museum explores the folk and social history of the Glens in the town's eighteenth century courthouse. Exhibits include the Glentaisie banner of the first Feis na nGleann from 1904.

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