Rathlin Island is just six miles across the Sea of Moyle from Ballycastle. This island is six miles long, one mile wide, “L” shaped and home to a slowly increasing population of around 140 people. At the Boathouse Visitor Centre visitors can discover some of the exciting history, learn about present day island life and see some artefacts from shipwrecks around the island. Enjoy many of the walks the Island has to offer including along the shore to Mill Bay where you may see some of the resident seals basking or at play. Cycle hire is another way to enjoy the island or take a bus trip. From April to July is puffin season so don’t miss the opportunity to see them along with lots of other sea birds. The re-furbished seabird centre is open to the public from Easter with the added bonus of being able to explore a real working lighthouse which is now part of the Great Lighthouses of Ireland tour.
Many tales of myth and mystery surround Rathlin; perhaps 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 where he watched a spider persevering again and again to bridge a gap with its web. Eventually it succeeded. Taking heart from the spider’s efforts, he returned to Scotland and eventually regained his crown.