Rathin Island, although technically not on the Causeway Coastal Route, is somewhere you should really try to visit. It is serviced by a modern catamaran ferry from Ballycastle and also some other smaller ribs that can be hired for the crossing. The main centre is Church Bay which has a pub, shop and accommodation, from there you can enjoy walks to Rue, Bull Point and Altnacarry lighthouses. Primarily Rathlin is an Island to enjoy on foot, there is though a min bus from Spring to Autumn which takes visitors around the island.
Rathlin or 'Raghery' as my grandfather called it, lies like a stepping stone between North Antrim and Scotland, at its closest point is is only three miles from Fair Head and sixteen from the Mull of Kintyre. The eight mile long limestone and basalt island is steeped in history which is evident in the standing stones, cairns, passage tombs, cashels, ancient church and castle sites that speckle its landscape.
The island has lots to offer those who like to explore and discover, it is full of history and stories from the ancient unwritten past, one of the most famous is the story of Robert the Bruce, who while hiding in a cave on Rathlin was inspired by a spider to return and fight for Scotland. Over the centuries its strategic position has brought the island turmoil from warring Scots, Irish and English forces, as well as raids by the Vikings.
A family whose name is synonomous with Rathin is the Gage family, the island was originally leased to the Reverend J Gage in 1746 and as landlords they made great improvement to the agricultural structure, building the harbour and buildings such as the manor house.
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