At one end of this beautiful sweeping bay, sheltered below the cliffs from the prevailing winds lies the small fishing hamlet of Portbraddon and at the other end the myriad basalt islands that surround Ballintoy harbour.

Whitepark Bay was one of the first settlements of man in Ireland and evidence of these Neolithic settlers are continually being exposed on the raised beach and sand dune system. It is known that the manufacturing and exporting of axes and arrow heads took place from here, the limestone cliffs being a rich source of flint nodules.  Three passage tombs stand on the high points of surrounding hills overlooking the bay, the most striking being the dolmen known as the Druids Altar, which was placed on the highest point above the bay.

 

The area is breathtaking in its beauty and pristine landscape and an excellent location to base yourself to explore the wonderful North Antrim coast from. The dune system is a declared area of scientific interest and exposed near the beach edge are the remains of an old summer school. The beach area contains rip currents which have claimed lives over the years, before swimming or surfing, you should make yourself aware of them. Knowing where they are and understanding what they are could save your life.

 

Portbraddon is a beautiful small hamlet with stunning views out across Whitepark Bay to Ballintoy Church and the basalt islands known as the Parks which shelter the harbour of Ballintoy. It is the site of an ancient salmon fishing station and still has a working slipway for fishermen. It is possible to walk from Portbraddon to Dunseverick Harbour following a coastal path which passes through Gid Point, a naturally formed hole in the headland. Parking here is restrictive and it is is advisable to either park at Dunseverick Harbour and walk the few kilometres round the coast or park on the road well above Portbraddon. On a low Spring tide it is also possible to walk from here to Whitepark Bay beach and on to Ballintoy harbour.

 

lA local myth and one that some tourism agencies still promote is that Portbraddon is the location of the smallest church in Ireland - picturesque it might be but it was originally a cow byre built in the 1950's, the building was mistakenly listed without research being done and when the true facts emerged it had to be de-listed. You can though get married there.  The site of the ancient church of Templastragh lies a kilometre from Portbraddon on the cliff top towards Dunseverick harbour.  The original church is said to have been inland from here and was built by  St.Goban in 648 AD, the stone set into the gable end of the present ruin is reputed to have come from that church.