Castlerock is the Western Gateway of the Causeway Coast. It is a popular seaside village five miles west of Coleraine that perfectly blends the past and present. This town is home to less than fifteen hundred people attracting many more visitors in season due to great amenities a naturally beautiful landscape and a variety of places to visit nearby.
Castlerock starts where the River Bann meets the sea, 5 miles west of Coleraine on the way towards Limavady and Londonderry (see the MAP).
It is surrounded by nature in many forms and is within the Benevenagh Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
There is a small selection of local shops, tea shops, restaurants, pubs, a Village Green and Community Centre in the heart of the town proper.
The excellent championship golf course and the exceptional Blue Flag beaches at Castlerock, Downhill, Benone bring flocks of visitors to the town.
The Settlement History of Castlerock can be seen though its remaining architecture.
A Heritage walking tour around town will showcase the late 19th century buildings such as Castlerock Train Station (1853), the Presbyterian Church (1880), Christ Church (1882), Twelve Apostles (1882) and The Villas (1860). The Railway and Tunnel Construction was constructed around 1845.
Above the beach the famous row of houses named the "Twelve Apostles" sit. They are cute inside and quite small, although some have been renovated and extended in the back to take full advantage of the divine location.
The driving turnoff to Castlerock is off the main A2. On this corner of Sea Road, one mile south of the town, you can see the 17th century Hazlett House, an amazing example of a well preserved Thatched Cottage. Every year at Halloween the ancient cottage transforms into a scary haunted house.
Now owned by The National Trust you can step back in time as you explore inside and the well manicured cottage grounds, experiencing what life was like back in the late 1600's, in what is one of Northern Ireland's oldest buildings. The reception area offers hot drinks and snacks.
The award winning, just under a mile long, golden sands, friendly people and breathtaking views are all good reasons to visit Castlerock, not to mention the absolutely fresh air! The castlerock sand dunes are west of the River Bann estuary. Portstewart Strand is on the other side of the estuary.
Castlerock Beach won the Rural Beach Seaside Award in 2014 based on the 'Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful' 15 criteria.
'Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful' is an 'environmental charity dedicated to making Northern Ireland a cleaner and more pleasant place in which to live'.
Castlerock Beach is simply beautiful and perfect for a play with the children, a swim, surf, fishing, horse riding, canoeing and more.
There are toilets and parking available and dogs are allowed at certain times of the year. There is a Lifeguard on duty in season (1st June - 15th September).
The Promenade offers cycling and walking opportunities with views to the hills of Donegal. There is also a winding walk down to Castlerock Beach from up on this high ground. Explore through the small bays, a perfect way to reach the main Castlerock Beach and Promenade, whilst climbing rocks and fishing in rock pools along the way.
Fun for the children, take a ball with you for a spot of beach footie!
Downhill Forest is maintained by the National Trust and is South East of Castlerock. The forest is 80 hectares of mixed woodland and is perfect for walking or orienteering, where there is a permanent course. Enjoy a cuppa in the Forest Cafe.
I was totally captivated to hear that C. S. Lewis, author of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, plus other classics, enjoyed holidays in Castlerock as a young child travelling from Belfast. It is easy to understand how his imagination has been sparked by the heritage, myth and majesty of the land around him! Did you know that CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien were friends... two of my favourites!
School Lane is near the second entrance to the Downhill Estate, where you can take a leisurely walk through the National Trust grounds of Frederick Augustus Hervey's ruined home.
The historical Downhill Demense, Mussenden Temple and glorious surrounds were built high on the cliff tops overlooking the Atlantic Ocean by the 4th Earl of Bristol in the late 1700's.
The Mussenden Temple sits majestically out on the cliff edge with unparalled coastal, cliff and inland views.
A visit here is sensory rich and will stay with you forever. I often imagine what it would have been like to sit in this amazing circular stone building out on the edge of this 280ft towering cliff in days gone by?
The House is mostly in ruins for many reasons including a fire in 1851, but you see enough to be able to imagine its grandiose life as a Stately Home of its time. The National Trust helps to paint the picture for you with informative signs. There are breathtaking 360 degree views from this exquisite parcel of land!
Castlerock Golf Club, founded in 1901, resides overlooking over half of the main beach and dunes stretching from the River Bann Barmouth to the Clubhouse and South.
Today, Castlerock is a championship course, rated one of 'Ireland's finest' links courses! The Golf Course provides a peaceful haven set in this naturally beautiful landscape offering 18 holes on the Mussenden Course and 9 holes on the Bann Course.
There is also a Restaurant, Bar, Clubhouse and Pro Shop.
You can reach the relaxed and peaceful holiday destination of Castlerock by train, either from Coleraine or Londonderry. The train station, which opened in the mid 19th century, was the main catalyst for the growth of what was once just a small fishing hamlet. Going to Castlerock by train from Londonderry is an amazing trip, passing through beautiful scenery alongside Lough Foyle, with beautiful views of Inishowen, Donegal.
You get the added bonus of a long tunnel ride through Tunnel Brae just before arriving at Castlerock Train Station. This is the trainride of a lifetime and to some it's their daily commute! There is also a regular public bus service.
Downhill Beach is West (and below) Mussenden Temple and is the start of an impressive seven miles strand of sand and dunes leading all the way to Magilligan Point, known as Benone Strand. This Blue Flag award winning beach is one of Ireland's longest. It stretches all the way to Lough Foyle, Magilligan Point and the ferry to Donegal. You can drive unto the beach and park. A walk towards Mussenden Temple high on the clifftop takes you close to the west side of Tunnel Brae. If you're lucky enough to see a train coming speeding out from the tunnel, you won't forget it, it is a tremendous experience.
You can walk all along the gorgeous and peaceful beach until you reach Lough Foyle and Magilliagan Point. This is a great beach for adventure sports such as Jet Skiing, Kite Surfing, Gliding and Surfing. There is a lifeguard on duty during high season, July and August. NO Dogs between May and Sept on Benone Strand but at certain times you can Horseride. You can fish, Caneo, Cycle, Swim and Walk all year round.
Magilligan is an area of both historic and conservational significance. The Martello Tower at Magilligan Point is an example of the small defensive forts which were built as a defence against a possible attack from Napoleon's forces during the 19th Century. This 32 square mile reserve borders Lough Foyle. Read about Magilligan and Lough Foyle as an Area of Special Scientific Interest here:
Tap the markers for information or pinch and zoom to pan around the map.