Ballycastle, County Antrim

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Ballycastle Harbour - - 468327.jpg
Ballycastle harbour
United Kingdom Northern Ireland adm location map.svg
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Location within Northern Ireland
Population5,237 (2011 Census)
Irish grid reference D115407
  Belfast 55 miles (89 km)
Country Northern Ireland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district BT54
Dialling code 028
Police Northern Ireland
Fire Northern Ireland
Ambulance Northern Ireland
UK Parliament
NI Assembly
List of places
Northern Ireland
55°12′18″N6°15′29″W / 55.205°N 6.258°W / 55.205; -6.258 Coordinates: 55°12′18″N6°15′29″W / 55.205°N 6.258°W / 55.205; -6.258
View from the Rathlin boat Ballycastle Northern Ireland.jpg
View from the Rathlin boat

Ballycastle (from Irish : Baile an Chaistil, meaning 'town of the castle') [4] [5] is a small seaside town in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It is on the north-easternmost coastal tip of Ireland, in the Antrim Coast and Glens Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The harbour hosts the ferry to Rathlin Island, which can be seen from the coast. The Ould Lammas Fair is held each year in Ballycastle on the last Monday and Tuesday of August. Ballycastle is the home of the Corrymeela Community.


Ballycastle had a population of 5,237 at the 2011 census. [6] It was the seat and main settlement of the old Moyle District Council.


At the time of the 2011 Census the population of Ballycastle was 5,237. [6] Of these:


The town is located within The Glens district electoral area (DEA) of the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council. [7] In the 2019 Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council election, the residents of this DEA elected 2 Sinn Fein, 1 SDLP, 1 UUP and 1 Independent representatives to the council.

Places of interest

The Marconi memorial Marconi memorial Ballycastle County Antrim.jpg
The Marconi memorial

Buildings of note

Church of the Holy Trinity Ballycastle Church of the Holy Trinity 2014 09 13.jpg
Church of the Holy Trinity


Rathlin Island Ferry, Ballycastle Harbour Rathlin Iland ferry at Ballycastle.jpg
Rathlin Island Ferry, Ballycastle Harbour

Bus services in Ballycastle are operated by Translink.

A ferry, currently operated by the Rathlin Island Ferry Company, runs between the town and Rathlin Island as part of a lifeline service. The ferry service to the island was formerly operated by Caledonian MacBrayne. Ferries formerly sailed between Ballycastle and Campbeltown in Scotland, but the service was suspended in June 2002. A passenger ferry service to Campbeltown, and Port Ellen on Islay, operated by Kintyre Express, now runs seven days during summer months and on Mondays and Fridays during winter months. [13]

Ballycastle railway station opened on 18 October 1880, but was closed on 3 July 1950. It was on the Ballycastle Railway, a narrow gauge railway which ran 17 miles connecting Ballycastle to Ballymoney station, on the Belfast and Northern Counties Railway (BNCR), later Northern Counties Committee (NCC) and now part of Northern Ireland Railways.

The Troubles in Ballycastle

Waves in Ballycastle; Scotland can be seen in the background Antrim Coast near Ballycastle.JPG
Waves in Ballycastle; Scotland can be seen in the background

There were several incidents of what came to be known as the Troubles in Northern Ireland, including:

Parade disputes

In the past, there has been unrest during Orange Order parades in the town. In 2001, there was serious public disorder at the 12 July parade. As a result of this, the Silver Plains flute band, from nearby Moyarget, was banned from marching in the town due to allegations of sectarian conduct and paramilitary trappings. [20]


As with the rest of Ireland, Ballycastle experiences a maritime climate with cool summers and mild winters. The nearest official Met Office weather station for which online records are available is at Ballypatrick Forest, [21] about four miles east-southeast of Ballypatrick.

Climate data for Ballypatrick Forest (156m elevation) 1981–2010
Average high °C (°F)6.7
Average low °C (°F)1.9
Average rainfall mm (inches)132.3
Average rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm)18.515.018.213.813.112.714.614.715.419.318.916.8191.0
Mean monthly sunshine hours 42.268.894.9158.7202.1160.5145.7144.0111.589.950.530.41,299.3
Source: [22]


Sports of local interest include tennis, bowling (Mary Street), hurling, camogie, Gaelic football, (Whitehall/Leyland Road), soccer, golf, quidditch and skateboarding.[ citation needed ]There is additionally a local pool league between the various pubs in the town.


Ballycastle Golf Club offers an 18-hole championship course open year-round to both members and non-members. [23] The course is one of the four courses played each June in the world-renowned Causeway Coast Golf Tournament. [24]


During the Summer, the town hosts two tennis tournaments, one of which is run by the Moyle District Council. [25]

Association Football

Ballycastle United Football Club combined with Moyle FC in 2011, and the team now competes in the Coleraine and District morning league. [26]


Ballycastle Bowling Club has a scenic outdoors setting that is a feature of the town's sea-front.

Notable people





Sir Roger Casement Sir Roger Casement (6188264610).jpg
Sir Roger Casement


See also

Related Research Articles

County Antrim County in Northern Ireland

County Antrim is one of six counties that form Northern Ireland. Adjoined to the north-east shore of Lough Neagh, the county covers an area of 3,046 square kilometres (1,176 sq mi) and has a population of about 618,000. County Antrim has a population density of 203 people per square kilometre or 526 people per square mile. It is also one of the thirty-two traditional counties of Ireland, as well as part of the historic province of Ulster.

Rathlin Island Human settlement in Northern Ireland

Rathlin Island is an island and civil parish off the coast of County Antrim in Northern Ireland. It is Northern Ireland's northernmost point.

Sorley Boy MacDonnell, also spelt as MacDonald, Scoto-Irish chief, was the son of Alexander MacDonnell, lord of Islay and Kintyre (Cantire), and Catherine, daughter of the Lord of Ardnamurchan, both in Scotland. MacDonnell is best known for establishing the MacDonnell clan in Antrim, Ireland, and resisting the campaign of Shane O'Neill and the English crown to expel the clan from Ireland. Sorley Boy's connection to other Irish Catholic lords was complicated, but also culturally and familiarly strong: for example, he married Mary O'Neill the daughter of Conn O'Neill. He is also known in English as Somerled and Somerled of the yellow hair.

Moyle District Council Human settlement in Northern Ireland

Moyle District Council was a local council in County Antrim in the northeast of Northern Ireland. It merged with Ballymoney Borough Council, Coleraine Borough Council and Limavady Borough Council in May 2015 under local government reorganisation to become Causeway Coast and Glens District Council.

North Antrim (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom, 1950 onwards

North Antrim is a parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom House of Commons. The current MP is Ian Paisley Jr of the DUP.

Ballintoy Human settlement in Northern Ireland

Ballintoy is a small village, townland and civil parish in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It is alongside the B15 coast road, 28 km (17 mi) north-east of Coleraine, 8 km (5.0 mi) west of Ballycastle and between it and Bushmills. It is in the historic barony of Cary. The village lies about one kilometre from Ballintoy Harbour, a small fishing harbour at the end of a very small, narrow, steep road down Knocksaughey hill which passes by the entrance to Larrybane and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. The harbour is host to a dawn service on Easter Sunday each year.

Randal Macsorley MacDonnell, 1st Earl of Antrim was called "Arranach" in Irish/Scottish Gaelic having been fostered in the Gaelic manner on the Scottish island of Arran.

Dunluce Castle Medieval castle on coast of Northern Ireland

Dunluce Castle is a now-ruined medieval castle in Northern Ireland, the seat of Clan McDonnell. It is located on the edge of a basalt outcropping in County Antrim, and is accessible via a bridge connecting it to the mainland. The castle is surrounded by extremely steep drops on either side, which may have been an important factor to the early Christians and Vikings who were drawn to this place where an early Irish fort once stood.

Bonamargy Friary Friary in Northern Ireland

Bonamargy Friary is situated in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, off the Cushendall Road on the approach to Ballycastle. The name Bonamargy means ‘foot of the Margy River’, the river formed by the joining of the Cary River and Shesk Rivers.

Kinbane Castle

Kinbane Castle is located in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, on a headland between Ballycastle and Ballintoy. The name comes from the Irish for "white head", referring to the limestone of the promontory. Nowadays, the castle is largely destroyed. Kinbane Castle is a State Care Historic Monument sited in the townland of Cregganboy, in Moyle District Council area, at grid ref: D0876 4383. The area surrounding Kinbane Castle is a Scheduled Historic Monument, grid ref: D0879 4381. The site also has views of Rathlin Island and Dunagregor Iron Age fort.

The Battle of Glentaisie, was a battle between the native Ulster Irish and Scottish settlers the MacDonnell's fought in the north of Ulster on 2 May 1565. The result was a victory for Shane O'Neill over the Clan MacDonald of Dunnyveg. The conflict was a part of the political and military struggle, involving the English and occasionally the Scots, for control of northern Ireland. Although the MacDonalds were a Scottish family, based principally on the island of Islay in the Hebrides, they had long been associated with the Gaelic polity rather than the Kingdom of Scotland.

The Battle of Aura, was fought in the middle of the sixteenth century between the MacDonnells, led by Sorley Boy MacDonnell, against the McQuillans and O'Neills, in which the MacQuillans and O'Neills were defeated. Translated, Slieve-an-Aura means Hill of Battle – the modern spelling is Slieveanorra.

Rathlin Island massacre

The Rathlin Island massacre took place on Rathlin Island, off the coast of Ireland on 26 July 1575, when more than 600 Scots and Irish were killed.

Antrim Coast and Glens Area of County Antrim, Northern Ireland

The Antrim Coast and Glens is an area of County Antrim in Northern Ireland, designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1988.

Rathlin Castle

Rathlin Castle, also known as Bruce's Castle, was a castle on Rathlin Island off the coast of County Antrim in Northern Ireland.

Causeway Coast and Glens Local government district in Northern Ireland

Causeway Coast and Glens is a local government district covering most of the northern part of Northern Ireland. It was created on 1 April 2015 by merging the Borough of Ballymoney, the Borough of Coleraine, the Borough of Limavady and the District of Moyle. The local authority is Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council.

Route, County Antrim

The Route was a medieval territory in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, stretching between Coleraine and Ballycastle and bounded on the south by the Clogh River. Originally part of Twescard, a county of the Earldom of Ulster, it was later ruled by the MacQuillans and then the MacDonnells.

Glentaisie is one of the nine Glens of Antrim in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It was shaped during the Ice Age by glaciers. The glen is most northerly of the nine glens and lies at the foot of Knocklayde mountain. The town of Ballycastle lies on the coast at the foot of the glen.

Cary (barony) Place in Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

Cary is a historic barony in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. To its north is the north-Antrim coast, and it is bordered by three other baronies: Dunluce Lower to the west; Dunluce Upper to the south; and Glenarm Lower to the south-east. The world-famous Giant's Causeway is situated on the north coast of Cary. Dunineny Castle lies in the civil parish of Ramoan within this barony.

Clan MacAuley of the Glens was a small Irish clan that descend from south-western Scotland, who originally come over to Ulster to serve as galloglass mercenaries. They held lands in the Glens of Antrim in modern County Antrim and the chief was at one time known as Lord of the Glens. In 1559, the clan participated in the Battle of Aura, in which the McQuillans were defeated by the MacDonnells. The MacAuleys and MacPhoils arrived midway through the battle, and had planned on siding with the McQuillans and O'Neills, but the chief of the clan was persuaded by Sorley Boy MacDonnell to join forces with the MacDonnells.


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  2. Bonamargy Friary guide – Department of the Environment
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  4. 1 2 Ballycastle. Placenames Database of Ireland.
  5. Place Names NI
  6. 1 2 "Census 2011 Population Statistics for Ballycastle Settlement". Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  7. "Local Government District Electoral Areas 2013" (PDF). Index map of Northern Ireland. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 September 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2020.
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  12. "Ballycastle Presbyterian Church". Archived from the original on 20 January 2008. Retrieved 13 November 2007.
  13. "Kintyre Express - ferry services and private charters". Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  14. Patrick Carville (27 August 1973). "50 hurt in bomb blast in Ulster". Chicago Tribune .
  15. Ken Wharton (August 2014). Wasted Years, Wasted Lives. 2. Helion & Company. p. 210. ISBN   9781909982178.
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  17. "Republicans". The Daily Telegraph . 27 July 2000.
  18. "UVF members linked to bomb". BBC News . 1 September 2001.
  19. The Guardian
  20. "Station Locations". MetOffice.
  21. "Climate Normals 1981–2010". Met Office. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  22. "Bally Castle Golf Club". Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  23. "Causeway Coast". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  24. Moyle Council
  25. | "Ballycastle UFC" . Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  26. Robert Pigott (3 March 2013). "Cardinal Keith O'Brien sorry for sexual misconduct". BBC. Retrieved 3 March 2013.