> Hillwalk Tours Blog > Hiking in Ireland > Northern Ireland Highlights: Antrim in 9 photos
POSTED BY May 3, 2021

Forests, glacial valleys, castles, an epic coastline and countless Game of Thrones filming locations – Antrim is arguably the most versatile area in Northern Ireland. You can also discover these highlights of Northern Ireland on a Antrim Glens and Coastline hiking tour. This popular long-distance route connects the Giant’s Causeway, Rathlin Island and Glenariff Forest Park, among others. So start dreaming of your next trip today with these photos of Northern Ireland’s highlights all found in Antrim.

1. Carrick-a-rede

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Antrim Coastline

The Carrick-a-rede rope bridge is arguably the most iconic attraction along the Antrim coastline. The eerily high suspension bridge is a good challenge for those who want to tackle their fear of heights. Although the bridge itself is only 20 meters long, the colossus hangs no less than 30 meters above the water of the Atlantic Ocean! And then of course the bridge wobbles a bit when people walk over it.

So it might be better not to look down while crossing, but to admire the beautiful surroundings. The rugged coastline and cliffs make this an extra special spot and one of Northern Ireland’s absolute highlights!

2. Giant’s Causeway

highlights northern ireland antrim in 8 photos giant's causeway

Photo: Zhifei Zhou / Unsplash

One of the reasons the Giant’s Causeway in Antrim has become so famous is because of the area’s peculiar geology. Not only is it a mountainous region with rugged cliffs plunging into the sea; there are also the results of the volcanic activity that shaped the area millions of years ago.

3. Northern Irish sheep

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Whether you visit the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland, you will always encounter the necessary sheep on the emerald island. Antrim consists of picturesque fishing villages and rolling hills full of meadows. And there are often sheep in those meadows. To show how many there are, here’s a comparison: Northern Ireland has about 1.3 million sheep, while there are about 1.8 million people.

4. Rathlin Island

highlights northern ireland antrim in 8 photos rathlin island

Photo: K. Mitch Hodge / Unsplash

Rathlin Island (seen in the photo on the horizon) is the only inhabited island belonging to Northern Ireland. In addition to its 100 human inhabitants, the island is home to a wide variety of animals, including puffins and a seal colony. With its secluded island feel, rich wildlife and Stone Age historic sites, this is without a doubt one of the most unique destinations of Northern Ireland’s highlights.

5. Glenariff Forest Park

highlights northern ireland antrim in photos glenariff forest park

Photo: Umberto Nicoletti / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Glenariff Forest Park is one of Antrim’s best-kept secrets, but is now slowly starting to be discovered by travelers. The wooded nature reserve full of waterfalls, viewpoints and hiking trails is an ideal destination for hikers.

6. Bushmills

highlights northern ireland antrim in 8 photos bushmills

Photo: Yves Cosentino / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

The old Bushmills distillery was built in 1784. But this was the result of a tradition started over a century earlier by a local landowner. In 1608, he already had a license to distil whiskey. That era makes Bushmills the oldest licensed whiskey distillery in the world. Anyone walking the Antrim Way should definitely pay a visit to the distillery, one of our favorite Northern Ireland highlights.

7. Volcanic process

highlights northern ireland antrim in pictures giant's causway sunset

Photo: Hugo Kemmel / Unsplash

The bizarre hexagonal pillars of the Giant’s Causeway appear to be part of an ambitious art project. It is hard to believe that the tens of thousands of basalt rods naturally took their shape – the result of a volcanic process. No wonder that in the course of history many legends and myths have tried to explain how this landscape originally came to be.

8. Dunluce Castle

Dunluce Castle is one of the most dramatic castles in Ireland
Dunluce Castle is one of the most dramatic castles in Ireland

The Dunluce Castle site is located on a phenomenal vantage point along the Antrim coastline. This makes the castle, which was used as a filming location for Game of Thrones, one of the most famous destinations in Northern Ireland.

9. Rainbows

highlights northern ireland antrim in photos giant's causeway with rainbow

Photo: Gregory Hayes / Unsplash

Admittedly, the weather is usually not one of the highlights of Northern Ireland. But even when it rains, it can produce special pictures. Like this photo of a double rainbow at the Giant’s Causeway.

We hope that you enjoyed this guide to Northern Ireland Highlights: Antrim in 9 Photos. Would you like to experience these fascinating landscapes yourself and be part of the history and stories of the Antrim Way? Check out our range of Antrim hiking tours!