Amidst the rugged landscape of this isolated island, you can let your mind wander and discover a tranquility and beauty that is so unexpected.
The ferry to Rathlin Island travels just six miles across the "Sea of Moyle". This island is six miles long, one mile wide, "L" shaped and home to a small population of around seventy people.
In the harbour is the Boathouse, where visitors can discover some of the exciting history, learn about present day island life and see some artefacts from shipwrecks around the island. A short walk around to Mill Bay there is a colony of seals, who are fun to just sit and watch!
At the other side of the harbour are two churches where visitors can sit quietly or just admire the architecture. At the west of the island is the renowned RSPB Seabird Centre, where puffins, guillemots, razorbills and kittiwakes can be viewed during the summer months. It is also home to some magnificent views, on clear days Donegal, the North Antrim coastline, the island of Islay and the Mull of Kintyre can be seen. Throughout the year special occasions are celebrated with ceilidhs. Music, song and dance remain at the heart of the community life.
***Please note that the RSPB Seabird Centre will not be open to the public during the 2014 season. It will re-open for business in April 2015. This is to facilitate an upgrade to visitor facilities at the centre.
There are many tales of myth and mystery surrounding Rathlin, the most famous tells of Robert the Bruce. In 1306, the Scottish King was driven from Scotland by Edward I of England and took refuge on Rathlin. While he was on Rathlin, it is said that he watched a spider persevering again and again to bridge a gap with its web. Eventually it succeeded. Robert the Bruce took heart from the spider's efforts, raised fresh forces and returned to Scotland to fight for his kingdom. He too, eventually succeeded and in 1314, regained the crown of Scotland.
There is accommodation to suit all needs, a pub and restaurant to while away a few hours in the evening and Little Treasures gift shop to pick up that special souvenir.
Don't miss Emma's Chip Ahoy - Rathlin Island's award-winning fish & chip Shop (Northern Ireland's Chip Shop Awards 2011 - Best Newcomer). Located in Church Bay around the corner from the souvenir and gift shop and 5 minutes walk from the ferry, Emma's Chip Ahoy is the place to get some fresh fish and chips, pan fried mackerel or a sausage supper with a wide menu including tea/coffee and hot chocolate to take away. Picnic benches and a wooden hut across from the shop are available for you to enjoy takeaway food with a wonderful sea view. Visitors staying overnight can also contact Emma and pre-order their food to collect.
Opening hours: March - May Tuesday, Friday and Saturday 1pm - 6pm Open 6 days, June - September facebook: Emma's Chip Ahoy on Rathlin Island Website: www.emmaschipahoy.com
Accommodation on Rathlin Island
Bed & Breakfast / Guesthouse: Coolnagrock Bed & Breakfast | Manor House (opening Easter 2014)
Self Catering: The Hayloft | Puffin Cottage
Hostel / Bunk House: Soerneog View Hostel | Kinramer Cottage | Rathlin Island Hostel (new for 2014)
View the Ballycastle to Rathlin Ferry Timetable: http://www.rathlinballycastleferry.com/tr/index.php?id=timetable
Check out our Guide to Visiting Rathlin Island.