Ballycastle is a small town in County Antrim surrounded by glens, forests and ancient rocks. This well loved town is the splendid Eastern Gateway to the Causeway Coast and five thousand people live there.

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Ballycastle Map

Eastern Gateway

BallycastleBallycastle is 19 miles East of Coleraine and 47 miles North of Belfast. 

It is perfect for a day trip destination or a great place to base your Causeway Coast Holiday! 

Ballycastle is famous for its longstanding festival the 'Ould Lammas Fair', which celebrates harvest.  This 17th century old festival now attracts over 150,000 people to historic Ballycastle every year in August. There are hundreds of market stalls offering all types of artisan wares, produce and hand crafted pieces. Celebrate with music of all types and location, fete festivities, and delicious food choices both savoury and sweet!

Baile an Chaistil

Ballycastle, means 'town of the castle' and is taken from the Irish name 'Baile an Chaistil'.  

Ballycastle Strand

Enjoy great views of Rathlin Island just offshore, and of the Mull of Kintyre from the Blue Flag Ballycastle Strand (Beach).  Ballycastle Strand is just under a mile in length, is a great beach for surfing, swimming and watersports and is close to town location making it popular with locals and visitors alike.   The beach is safe for swimming and there is no Life Guard at Ballycastle Strand at any time. 

Ballycastle over the North Atlantic OceanThe West end of the beach starts at the Pier at Ballycastle Marina, where the Glenshesk River meets the ocean. The Ballycastle Seafront is a mix of curved landscaped gardens stretching from the Marina to the Foot Bridge crossing the River Glenshesk to the main beach.   

The East end of the beach stops at Pans Rock, an really interesting rocky outcrop that juts out to the sea and is popular for rock climbing and fishing. 

The Ballycastle Golf club makes an enriching backdrop. Ballycastle Golf Club offers an 18-hole championship course open to both members and non-members year round.


Ballycastle Visitor InformationBallycastle has a rich heritage with over 50 listed buildings within the '18th Century Conservation Area'. According to the Historic Buildings Council for Northern Ireland, "Ballycastle has the largest collection of traditional shop frontages in the entire island of Ireland." ( (pdf)

Take a walk around and experience Ballycastle's past via it's well preserved old buildings.  The Georgian sandstone Holy Trinity Church with clock and sundial spire faces built around 1752-1756, is located behind The Diamond, the heart of the Town. Ballycastle Market House is a two-storey structure built around 1830. 

All this can be learned at the Ballycastle Museum which is open to the public daily during July and August.

Historic past

Kinbane Castle, now mostly ruins, is a State Care Historic Monument 5 km from Ballycastle on the road to Ballintoy, by the edge of the ocean.  It was built in 1547 by Colla MacDonnell. You will experience special views along the coastline and out towards the Coast of Scotland. 

Ballycastle Friary or Bonamargy Friary, established in 1485, is also a State Care Historic Monument. Bonamargy Friary and graves, such as that of Sorley Boy MacDonnell and several of the Earls of Antrim's graves, have great historic significance, is located on the edge of Ballycastle Golf Course, off the Cushendall Road on the approach to Ballycastle, only a short walk to Ballycastle seafront.

Natural wonders of the area are strong. Fair Head is an impressive headland that rises 643 feet out of the bay.  It is a prestigious rock-climbing location. The National Trust owns much of the surrounding areas of Fair Head and preserves its natural beauty. 

Knocklayde, is the 1695 ft high heather covered mountain which has breathtaking views over Fair Head, Ballycastle, Rathlin Island and Scotland. 

Blue Flag Marina at Ballycastle

Ballycastle MarinaBallycastle has a working harbour and a Blue Flag Marina, one of only 2 with this prestigious accolade in Northern Ireland. The 74 berth Marina started in 1999 and is situated within the inner harbour. The Ballycastle Visitor Information Centre is based at the Marina. There is parking available and toilets. 

Rathlin Island Ferry

The Rathlin Island Ferry Company currently operates a Ferry between Ballycastle and Rathlin Island.

Rathlin is the only inhabited offshore island of Northern Ireland, with a population of just over 100 people.  It is a Special Area of Conservation home to thirty different species of bird and is popular with Bird Watchers. Rathlin island is the northernmost point of the Antrim Coast and Glens Area of Outstanding Beauty.

Charters from Ballycastle Harbour

Short charters and boat trips for visiting, bird watching, diving or fishing the Causeway Coast and Rathlin Island. 

You can even start your visit to the Giant's Causeway from Ballycastle Marina. You can board a daily site seeing boat and experience the Causeway Coast from the sea, including spectacular sights such as Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and Dunluce Castle from the ocean! Sunset sailing to watch the sun set over the Atlantic or Learn the basics of sailing with hands on experience.  The sailing trips are great fun for children aged 3 upwards.

Check out Aquasports

Map to Ballycastle:

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