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Wind turbines

IN 1992, three wind turbines were installed by Northern Ireland Electricity on Rathlin. Called Conn, Aedh and Fiachra, after three of the sons of Lir who were turned into swans by their evil stepmother to roam the water around Rathlin, the turbines are no longer operational. Continue reading

Eating & Staying

Manor House
The Manor House

Eating & staying


The Manor House has 12 rooms, not all ensuite. It also serves evening meals – although you should book – and a tiny public bar, The Auld Kitchen.
Rathlin Manor House,
 Co Antrim BT54 6RT
Tel:- +44 (0)28 2076 3964

McCuaig’s bar and restaurant overlooks the harbour and is the island’s main pub. It serves the usual bar food throughout the day, including evening meals.
Tel: +44 (0)28 2076 3974

Only 15 mins from the harbour, this lovely b&b sleeps six in two double/family bedrooms and one twin room.
Ballynoe, Rathlin Island,
 Co Antrim BT54 6RT
el: +44 (0) 2076 3983

The hostel takes six people (one room with double bed and two rooms with bunk beds), with full self-catering facilities.
John and Jennifer McCurdy
Tel: +44 (0) 28 2076 3954

Four houses available to rent on the island, three with three bedrooms, one with two. /

NB: Before booking accommodation confirm your ferry tickets.

For more information, see:

Getting around


There’s only one main road on Rathlin, so you have to try hard to get lost. However, the island is bigger than it looks, so many visitors use the minibus that meets each ferry for the five-mile drive to the West Light.  On the way to the RSPB bird colony – the chief attraction for many – you’ll see most of the island’s landmarks.

Few people go to the trouble of taking a car over on the ferry but bikes can be hired from Soerneog View Hostel.




Bruce's Castle

THE entire population of Rathlin has been wiped out twice by invaders, the most notorious incident being in 1575 when 600 men, women and children were butchered. Sir Francis Drake is often blamed for his role – he was in charge of the English fleet that transported the troops of Colonel John Norris to the island and provided a blockade against Scottish help arriving. Continue reading

Andy McInroy: Caves of Rathlin

Photographer Andy McInroy has created some impressive images of sea caves on the Antrim coastline (as part of a larger portfolio of landscapes in Ireland, Scotland and Wales). Rathlin Island merits its own pages on his website with atmospheric shots of cave interiors. He also relates many fascinating tales, with plenty of legends and a few good ghost stories.


What inspired you to visit Rathlin?
I had seen some beautiful photographs of the Rathlin shoreline and, when I was getting into my Antrim sea caves project, it seemed like a logical place to finish my story. What really interests me is to be able to tie a cave photograph to a story, legend or old etching. The caves of Rathlin have these in abundance. Bruce’s cave in particular interested me very much, although Oweynagolman cave (above), which lies closer to the castle, may be a more likely place for Bruce to have visited.


Which was the most interesting cave?

Oweynagolman is a fascinating place – not only because of its possible connection with Bruce but also to an old story told on Rathlin which refers to it as Avaragh, the cave of the Children of Lir. The physical description of the cave matches my photograph with its obvious protective bar across the mouth. This bar is said to have been put there by a wise woman of Rathlin.

Oweynagolman is a perfect example of a classic basalt cave: it’s cavernous, beautifully shaped and it is a proper active sea cave, requiring a deep wade to enter. It has a real atmosphere about it.




Some caves are quite dangerous to get to. Did you have any close calls?

Some are, yes, and I would not encourage people to enter the caves in my project without doing their homework. I took no chances on Rathlin, as I appreciate the remote nature of the cliffs and caves there. What we did at Dunkerry Cave on the Runkerry headland on the mainland was certainly risky.

We entered that massive cavern armed with a toy dinghy bought in Lidl supermarket for £40. However, on that adventure I was guided by an experienced sea-stack climber from Orkney who has a string of epic first ascents to his name both in Scotland and on the sea stacks of Donegal.

Dunkerry was a frightening undertaking, but we managed the risk as much as we could and everything went exactly to plan. Riding down the swells of the channel into Dunkerry in the dinghy is an experience I will never forget.



Have you explored all of the caves?

When I started this project I thought that there might be five caves in all of Antrim that might make a good photograph. How wrong I was. The more I dig, the more of these amazing places I find. There are probably enough caves on Rathlin alone to keep me busy for a lifetime.

Many of the caves of Antrim are not marked on the maps, most are rarely visited by anyone other than the odd inquisitive kayaker. My ‘to do’ list is actually bigger now than it was at the start of the project.

All photos on this page copyright of Andy McInroy

Rathlin’s Golden Hare

You’ll see plenty of rabbits on Rathlin but look out also for the unique Irish hare. With smaller ears, a white tail and reddish coat, this native Irish species is quite distinct from the Brown hare found in Britain. They can be found all over the island and there is even a rare local genetic mutation – an albino – with a much lighter coat and blue eyes, called the Rathlin Golden hare.
Islanders see off hare coursers

Interview with award-winning Rathlin photographer, Tom McDonnell