Places To Stay Near The Giants Causeway

The Ballygally Castle Near Larne

Places To Stay Near The Giants Causeway

There is accommodation for every budget, from boutique guesthouses with panorama and luxury hotels to rustically styled glamping and campsites.

The Causeway Coastal route in Northern Ireland offers an abundance of exciting things to do, historical sites, geological wonders such as the Giant’s Causeway – UNESCO World Heritage Site, cosying cafés, vibrant bars and mouthwatering restaurants. You could easily spend days exploring every nook and cranny along this beautiful coast.

But if you’re short on time, why not make the most of the weekends? With plenty of accommodation options to choose from, you’ll find yourself spoilt for choice. So whether you fancy glamping under canvas or staying in luxury lodges, you can guarantee you’ll get the best deal along this stunning coastal route.

Here are our favourite places to stay near the Giant’s Causeway:

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You can’t stay much closer to Giant’s Causeway than at the Causeway Hotel. The Causeway Hotel is located right near Giant’s Causeway Visitors Centre and just a short walk to the head of the footpath that winds its way down to the hexagonal rocks.

Both the Causeway Hotel and the Giants Causeway Visitor Centre are run by the National Trust for Northern Ireland North Coast

The Giants Causeway hotel itself is a little piece of history, too. Now a Grade II-listed building, it was first constructed in 1836 and was the first and still one of the best hotels near where visitors to this stretch of coastline could stay.

Rooms facing the Atlantic best have panoramic views across the north coast past Dunluce Castle and Portrush toward Portstewart Strand for their sunset coastal sea views.

The hotel offers free parking, which is handy when it’s normally $8.50 per day to park in the visitor Centre, free wifi and is only a stone’s throw from the main event making the Causeway Hotel the perfect location for visiting the Giants Causeway or just Northern Ireland in general.

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Just a short trip down the road from the Giants Causeway hotel is one of the most well-known hotels in Northern Ireland. The Bushmills Inn is a historic building which has been updated into an upmarket boutique hotel. The current owners have created rooms that retain their original features from its days as coaching inn in the 17th century.

The name Bushmills may well precede it, thanks to the town’s well-known Bushmills whiskey distillery, just a short walk up the road. Try a tipple at the classy wood-panelled bar of the Bushmills Inn, Rooms range from a hayloft snug double room to larger rooms with four-poster beds. The inn even has its cinema.

Blackrock House, Portrush

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Price: From £145 per night (3-night minimum stay)

In the bustling city of Portrush, BlackRock House provides boutique bed & breakfast accommodations that fuse modern style with laid-back coastal life. This is the perfect relaxing retreat after a busy day, boasting panoramas of the golden beaches across the wild Atlantic ocean. Hearty breakfast is served to refuel you for a busy day tomorrow, while the cosy lounge is the perfect place to curl up with a good read when you return home. And as for your private balcony in summer, it’s the ideal spot for sunset drinks!

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The Carrick sits in the beautiful seaside town of Portrush, on the stunning North coast of Northern Ireland. The Edwardian townhouse dating back to 1905 has been sympathetically renovated to the highest standard to create this Luxurious B&B. With many of the building’s original features maintained while incorporating every possible modern convenience, we guarantee you a wonderful stay and the perfect spot to explore everything the North coast offers, including The Giant’s Causeway and nearby Game of Thrones film locations. Only 1.2 miles from Royal Portrush Golf Club, home of the 148th Open Championship. Bookings can be made directly with the property or via the website.

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Price: From £120 per room per night

This beautiful 18-bedroom Victorian terrace was built in 1920. It features stunning sea views and has been extensively refurbished to create an elegant, sophisticated, glamorous atmosphere. It’s located in the centre of Portrush, so it’s also home to one of the best restaurants- open for breakfast, lunches and dinners.

The Salthouse, Ballycastle

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Price: From £160 per night

This five-star hotel offers 24 stylishly decorated rooms and suites, a relaxing spa and laid-back bar, and a fine dining restaurant.

Located in its private grounds in the heart of the beautiful Antrim coast, The Salthouse overlooks the rugged cliffs of Ballycastle, the picturesque town of Fairhead, and beyond.

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Price: From £169 per night

The Bayview Hotel is located in the picturesque village of Portballintrae. It has an open fire and an expansive view from the balcony. Its Porthole Bar and Restaurant is ideal for relaxing after an adventure along the Causeway Coast.

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Price: From £150 per night

Located in the seaside town of Portstewart, this boutique guesthouse offers comfortable accommodation for guests who want to enjoy the sights and sounds of the area. It also serves up a delicious meal at its award-winning restaurant. Overlooking the “Prom” towards Portstewart Strand beach, this is the perfect base to explore Portstewart after your trip to the Giants Causeway

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Price: From £119 per night

Perched on the edge of the famed Causeway Coastal Route lies Ballygally Castel, an impressive 17th-century fortress overlooking Ballygally bay. Said to be haunted by a ghostly presence, the accommodation is home to a spooky Ghost Room and Dungeon. Other parts of the building offer beautifully appointed guest suites with stunning ocean vistas. The Garden Restaurant overlook the gardens and serves excellent food.

Carnside Guest House

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Carnside Guest House is on an elevated site with spectacular views of the Giant’s Causeway (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Portrush and Donegal. 10-minute walk to Giant’s Causeway and three restaurants.

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Dunluce Castle and Bushmills Distillery are nearby. This area is a walkers paradise, and Carnside is an ideal base for a three-day walking holiday or for those wishing to have a relaxing holiday.

Ballyvoy Camping Barn

Price: £25 per person per night

This is the perfect place for those who are on a tight budget. This cute little Barn in the tiny hamlet of Ballyvoy is much better than staying in a regular hostel. Each room has a comfortable bunk bed and ensuite bathrooms, while a large kitchen/dining room is the perfect place to hang out with friends.

Or, you could just head across the street to Hunter’s Restaurant, where they serve delicious food at affordable prices. And Barnish Cafe is right next door, so you can grab something to eat after your hike.

Captain’s Cottage

Price: £140 per night

It’s on the Causeway Coastal road, from Larne to the Giant’s Causeway. It’s a lovely place to stay if you want peace and tranquillity. You can take walks in either direction, visit the Giant’s Causeway and the nearby town of Ballycastle, or even go surfing!

The cottage has two bedrooms – one double and one single. It converts into a king-size bed.

Places To Eat Near The Giants Causeway

The patio at the bushmill sin with food on plates


The Causeway Hotel over looking the Causeway Coast at sunset

The restaurant located next to the Giants Causeway Visitor Centre, overlooking the Causeway Coast, serving contemporary dishes, and local food from northern Ireland’s local produce from farm shops.

The Causeway Hotel gave off an inviting atmosphere and made us want to linger for longer than usual. It felt very fancy fine dining and made me feel very spoilt for Sunday lunch or traditional afternoon tea

The decor fits in beautifully with the history of the building, which dates back to 1842 – including tall window panes, antique brass light fixtures, ornate mantles, high-backed chairs, and delicate chandeliers dangling from the ceiling. The rooms we stayed in felt like they belonged in a castle but still exuded that sense of home.

The kids’ menu with a fun title, “Little Giants.” If you’re familiar with me, you’ll realise I’m a big fan of these small details. It’s such an adorable name for a children’s menu when visiting the Giant’s Causeway.

When we ordered for our kids, they were offered some colouring books and felt pens to keep them entertained until their food came.

It was so lovely! The whole place had such a cosy feeling – the beautifully soft leather sofas and wonderfully purple high-backed armchair were inviting. I think you could chill out here for a bit after a long hike from the Giant’s Causeway without any doubts.

Website –

Phone Number – +44 (28) 2073 1210


The front of the Smugglers Inn Near the Giants Causeway

The Smuggler’s Inn is situated in an idyllic countryside setting only two kilometres from the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Giant’s Causeways and Causeway headland and two kilometres from Bushmill’s distillery.

Our inn is within easy reach of the historic town of Dunluce castle and several local golf courses, including Portballintraig (Bushfoot), Royal Portrush and Port Stewart.

Whether you’re staying for a short break or extended holiday, we offer comfortable accommodation and friendly service. We provide a range of facilities, including wireless internet access, TV, DVD player, games room, children’s play area and secure off-road vehicle storage. You can also enjoy a meal in one of our restaurants or take advantage of our bar menu.


An old caravban that sells the most amazing toasties outside the Giants Causeway

It’s hard to beat a good grilled cheese sandwich at any time, but if you’re looking for a particularly delicious one, look no further than Maegden. Served from a 1950’s caravan pitched up in a field a stone’s throw from the Giant’s Causeway and one of the best places to eat after your walk down to the stones. Using

Maegden (pronounced May-den) produce absolute perfection when it comes to toasties sandwiches/grilled cheese that is made with love and flavoured with some of the best local produce from Northern Ireland, the two girls produce absolute perfection when it comes to toasties.

There’s plenty of seating and site parking at Maegden for you to relax and take time out on the causeway coast. It opens every day from March to October between 11:00 and 17:30 but closes on Tuesday afternoons.

We recommend leaving space between the last bite of a toastie and the first sip[ of Bushmills whiskey on the distillery tour

Dogs accepted as well, with facilities catering dogs and other pets

Website –


The Bilberry Mill Cafe in Bushmills High street, just across from the park and ride to the Giants Causeway, is one of our Favourite places to eat. They have a great selection of tasty treats with traditional and contemporary dishes.

On a damp day, its a great place to get a cuppa and a bite to eat before heading to the Causeway and on sunny days, you can enjoy the sun on your face outside in their pavement seating area and watch the world go by.

You’ll be glad to know dogs accepted here, and you will find the restaurant owners full of Irish hospitality for your whole family.

Website –

Phone – 028 2073 2560


Dunner on a table outside the Bushmills Inn

Visitors will enjoy the Irish charm at Bushmills Inn. Still, they might also want something different than oak-panelled walls and peated wood fireplaces. Next door is the light and airiness of the French Room restaurant.

Undoubtedly one of Northern Ireland’s best places to eat for food lovers, stop on the causeway coastal route. With a mix of fine dining, Sunday lunch, afternoon tea and sample some of Northern Ireland’s and the causeway coastal route fine food and local produce

The French Huguenot community has left its mark on the area by contributing to the local economy. It would be lovely to visit again for a cup of tea or coffee and some cake.

Website –

Phone – tel: 028 2073 3000


Poele enjoying the cafe at Broughammon farm

On the way along the causeway coastal route to Ballycastle, the Glens of Antrim, stop by Broughgammon Farm outside Ballycastle. The owners, Becky and Charlie Cole, run their farm shop and cafe, a hidden gem that sells locally sourced meats and local produce. And they have a blog where they share tips about seasonal living on their county Antrim land.

Make sure to visit their goat herd in their barn, where they had lots of fun and mischief, chewing my hands and looking at me with curious gazes. It was great for all the family.

Artisanal farmers like Becky and Charlie in northern Ireland sell their products at local marketplaces, farm stores, and delis along the causeway coast.

They offer cookery courses and classes for people who want to learn about farming, cooking, and growing vegetables.

Website –

Phone – tel:%20+44%207976270465


Babushka Cafe on the Harbour at Portrush
Babushkah Phot: Paul Lyndsay/Alamy

Set on the dock in Portrush Harbor, smack dab in the middle of the harbour, in an old Lifeboat Station, is the perfect place to rest your feet after a day spent exploring the Causeway Coast. This isn’t your average coffee shop offering good food in northern ireland.

This café takes what they do seriously and puts it in a location where people can enjoy it without going far. With Koppi being the roast of choice here for owner Georges Nelson and his staff, its the best option in port if you want something delicious and fresh with a spot of Irish hospitality.

They also serve breakfast and lunch, so you can grab a bite before or after your walk around the area. As you can see from the picture its not very big so gets filled up fast, especially on cooler days. However, the on the sunny side you get a great seat out of the wind.

You can also find facilities catering dogs outside

Website –


There’ll be one for everyone at the Ramore Group’s harbour event. Six different restaurants and bars catering to different tastes, but most importantly: Bringing loads of people to the County Antrim seaside village.

The Wine Bar

With a lively atmosphere and contemporary menu, The Wine bar is one of the highlights of any social savvy crowd, as testament by the long queues to get a shared table and the extensive menu. Many a selfie will be had on a night while “Ramoring” in Northern Ireland on the Causeway coast

The Harbour Bar

The Harbour Bar is one of the oldest bars in town, serving delicious pints and showcasing an impressive gin collection upstairs.

The Harbour Bistro

The Harbour Bistro downstairs has an excellent modern feel with indie tunes playing and a wood-fired oven turning out mouthwatering pizzas.

Neptune & Prawn

Neptune & Prawn serves Asian-influenced dishes with a twist and caters to kids with play areas and family meals.

The Mermaid

The Mermaid is a relaxed all-rounder offering everything from breakfast to dinner, with a great range of menus and prices.

The Tourist

The Tourist is their fast food option with burgers, pizzas and Mexican street food. And if you fancy something a little bit special, head to the wine bar. Full details of each venue can be found online.

Website –


You really can’t beat a trip to the Central Bar in Belfast. With warm Northern Irish hospitality, the menu is always popular. Using locally sourced food, you can expect a traditional steak from the local butcher, fresh fish and chips and a stylish cocktail bar on hand.

So whether you’re after a fun night out or just an informal bite to eat, the Central Bar should tickle your fancy!

Website –


This Ballycastle institution, situated on the harbour, is renowned for the best fish and chips on the Causeway Coast if not Northern Ireland.

The family own their own fishing boats and also have a fishmonger selling the fresh fish next door so you can be sure that the fish is ultra-fresh and cooked to order.

Locals travel miles to buy fish and chips here and sit eating it with a view of the harbour.


There is only ever so much space in any given area, so it was inevitable that the North Coast would end up with a baker specialising in baked goods.

In Ballycastle, there is only so much room for a cafe serving delicious food and warm drinks. Here, it is no secret that a slice of freshly baked bread is the best thing to eat.

But it is also not a secret that Ursa Minor is the best place to get such a loaf. With a menu full of tasty treats, it is clear that Ursa Minor is a place where people come to enjoy themselves.

And suppose you are lucky enough to find yourself in Ballycastle. In that case, you can take advantage of the excellent service and tasty food at Ursa Minor.


It was a surprise to see Harry’s Shack on the beautiful North Coast of County Antrim, but not a shocker. I’d heard so many good things about Harry’s Shack that I had been determined to go there and managed to squeeze it into a trip to Mussenden Temples and the Giants Causeway.

One of the places to eat, The Shack is an outdoor restaurant overlooking the sea where you can enjoy delicious seafood dishes with organic ingredients. I was shocked by the food quality at the Shack because I had expected mediocre fare.

Harry’s Shack is a place I would go back to, and it’s also one of the better places to eat near the Giant’s Causeway. It manages to be family-friendly and pleasing to serious eaters of all ages.

A rustic seaside style with simple dishes cooked very well and an extensive wine list..also car parking on the beach was fun.

One of the best restaurants around with live music on a Saturday night its one of the idyllic places to watch the sun go down on the causeway coast in Northern Ireland and

Carrick A Rede Rope Bridge

Located around 8 miles from the Giant’s Causeway, along the causeway coast, close to Ballintoy in Northern Ireland, Carrick a Rede Rope Bridge is a suspension bridge originally made from rope that links Carrick Island to the mainland.

This site is on the world-famous Causeway Coast Route County Antrim, Northern Ireland and is maintained and owned by the conservation charity The National Trust. Nowadays, the bridge is open as a tourist attraction, with nearly half a million people crossing the rope bridge in 2019. The rope bridge remains closed since the pandemic of 2020, with it hoping to be open fully again in summer 2022.

To enjoy an exciting clifftop experience visit the rope bridge to Carrick, a Rede island on the Causeway Coast. This 20-metre vast and 30-metre deep chasm above the Atlantic ocean is crossed by the rope bridge, which salmon fishermen initially built. Individuals brave enough to walk across the bridge to the rocky island are rewarded with amazing views.


The name Carrick-a-rede means ‘rock in the road’, and it is believed the salmon fishermen in the area have been building the bridges to the island for more than 350 years. Over the years, the bridge has had many forms. It had significant gaps between the slats and only one handrail in the 1970s.

In 2000, local climbers built a version of the bridge tested to hold ten tonnes. In 2004 a new design was implemented, offering fishermen and visitors a safer passage to the island. The current wire rope bridge with the Douglas fir walkway was built early in 2008 by Belfast’s Heyn Construction and was created at the cost of more than £16,000. Although there is no record of anyone falling off the bridge, there have been many cases where visitors could not walk back to the mainland across the bridge and were transported off the island by boat.


The island is no longer used during the salmon season from June until September by fishermen, as there are very few salmon left. About 300 fish were caught each day in the 1960s, but in 2002, only 300 were caught during the whole season. The salmon come back every year to spawn in the River Bush, near Bushmills, and the River Bann at Portstewart.


The area boasts exceptional natural beauty with amazing views of Scotland and Rathlin Island. The surrounding area has been declared an Area of Special Scientific Interest, with unique fauna, flora, and geology. Huge caves are visible underneath, and these once served as shelter during stormy weather and as homes for boat builders.

Legend and Life

A car park at Larrybane Head’s base, which once had its peninsula fort more than 1,000 years old. It has however been quarried away over the years, and only a stark quarry face, filled with fossils and flint, is left. There are big caves under the quarry, and one of these was once a boat builder’s yard for a while, while others were used for winter shelter. The walk along the cliff’s top is exhilarating, even without the excitement of the bridge at the end.

The sea below turns every shade of blue and green in summer, while several Mediterranean lagoons make the walk to the bridge seem so much shorter. The bridge was originally built by fishermen working at a salmon fishing station during the summer. Their whitewashed cottage, complete with a wooden stairway to the path and its winch still nestles in the only shelter on the island.

The bridge is one of the most amazing experiences on Northern Ireland’s causeway coast.

Every single step seems to move the bridge slightly, even on the calmest day, and its 20 metres length seem like it belongs in an adventure movie. Although the bridge was initially built with rope and only had a single handrail, the fishermen did an excellent job of it, and nobody was ever injured crossing the bridge.

On the modern bridge, ropes are only used for the netting beside the bridge, the lashings that hold the Douglas fir boards in place and the latticework sides. The bridge’s strength comes from the upper steel handrails which have been designed to carry 10 tons.

Nearly 500,000 visitors come to the bridge every year.

The terror the bridge holds for many lies in the thought that a mere one-inch thick board stands between you and the waves and rocks below, 30 metres down. Once you have made it safely to the island, it is an experience like no other. The island has a unique, undisturbed and isolated quality, even though the same fantastic views over the Atlantic ocean of the Scottish Isles and Rathlin can be enjoyed from many other places on the north coast.

Although the rocks are the typical mix of limestone and basalt commonly found in this area, the basalt takes on its unique forms. Some of it is smooth like it’s been made from plasticine, while other pieces stand in tall precariously crumbling columns.

The permanent residents of nesting razorbills, guillemots and fulmars are worth seeing.


Carrick a rede island is one of the best examples of a volcanic plug in Ireland and the United Kingdom. Erosion by the Sea of Moyle/Irish Sea has exposed this old volcano’s neck.

The violence of molten rock punched through the soft limestone 60 million years ago can be observed via geological evidence such as Explosion breccias, Tuff, grey volcanic ash, and explosion bobs in the layers of the Island’s rock and its surroundings.

The characteristic Ulster Chalk, topped by basalt cliffs can be found along the North Antrim coast, which forms much of the Antrim plateau. The ancient volcanic pipe has deposited dolerite, a rock more robust than basalt, at Carrickarede, and this erodes much more slowly. To the south and behind the dolerite, the vent has been filled with pyroclastic rocks that deteriorate much easier to form a coarse tuff agglomerate. This small island was the eventual product of the combination of the softer rock behind and the hard rock out front that were eroded by the waves over time.

The island has big caves that are most visible during low tide. It is believed that the caves originally provided shelter for fishing vessels during stormy weather and were also used as homes for boat builders.

The ocean around the area has a natural blue colour that sometimes turns green, making the area very interesting. Unique fauna and flora cover the island and there are many bird colonies that play a crucial role in the ecology of the area. Razorbills for example live on the island and only come back to nest and mate. The island’s cliffs are covered by thrifts and birdsfoot trefoil, giving the island a paradise-like feel.

Getting To Carrick A Rede

There are various routes that can be used to get to the Carrick a rede rope bridge. The bridge is opened at 9:30 am, and normally closes at 6:00 pm, although ticket sales stop at 5:15 pm. The closing time is however sometimes extended due to heavy tourist traffic. In the summer the closing time is set at 7:00 pm while the winter closing time can be as early as 3:00 pm. This can be due to a lack of tourists wanting to go on the bridge or severe weather conditions.

Carrick a rede is located around 20 minutes (15 miles) from Portrush and an hour (60 miles) from Belfast.

Giants Causeway and Bushmills Railway

Giants Causeway and Bushmills Railway

The Giants Causeway and Bushmills Railway departs from outside Bushmills town centre on a 2-mile journey lasting 20 minutes from and to the Giants Causeway, along a trackbed of the former Giants Causeway Tram on the Causeway Coast. The diesel locomotive operates four times daily

between 11 am and 2.30 pm on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Children especially love riding on the train. The Bushmills platform is located a short walk from Bushmills town centre, around 50m from the diamond heading along the Causeway Coast road towards Portrush. The old Bushmills Terminus can still be seen, now a private home. There is a free car park for the causeway and Bushmills railway users. The diesel-driven train provides a traditional mode of transportation near the Bushmills’ historic town, at the Bushmills Terminus and the beloved Giant’s Causeway station. The giant’s causeway and Bushmills railway journey along the stunning North Antrim coast in Northern Ireland is 2 miles long and offers fantastic views as it makes its way slowly over the magnificent coastal stretch past Portballintrea and Bushfoot Golf Course spectacular beach forms. This is a different and picturesque way to travel to the Giant’s Causeway. The Giant’s Causeway Journey The tram-type carriages, powered by three diesel engines, travel along the same route along the golden sandy beach as the original Bushmills Hydro Electric Tram and Giant’s Causeway track. This irish narrow gauge track was initially operated by the Portrush, Giant’s Causeway and Bush Valley Railway Tramway Company Ltd. The original tramway was built in 1883 and is the first long electric tramway globally! It ran until 1949 and had a history of more than 65 years. Facilities Car parking is available at the Bushmills platform, where the train to the Giant’s Causeway can be boarded. The Station has a picnic area and serves refreshments. Check the timetable and make sure you are at the station 10 minutes before the scheduled departure. The station has,, unfortunately,

lately been neglected. Although the hedges and grass in the area are overgrown and the Station could do with a revamp, the trip is still worth the experience.

As the service is operated by volunteers,, make sure your first call to check before arriving: (028) 20732844

You can use your train ticket at the Visitors Centre to get a discounted entrance fee when you arrive at Giants Causeway station.

Parking Address: Giant’s Causeway Station, Runkerry Road, BT57 8SZ

Bushmills Railway Giant’s Causeway History

The Causeway Tramway was re-opened in the spring of 2002. The rolling stock and locomotives which were used on the track were used initially at Shane’s Castle and included a Simplex’ T’class diesel locomotive named Rory, a Barclay 0-4-0WT “hane” named Larne and originally built in 1949 for Bord na Mona and a Peckett 0-4-0 WT named Tyrone made for the British Aluminium Company in 1904.

It is interesting to note that Shane was one of the three locomotives KKilmarnock’sAndrew Barclay built originally to be used by Bord na Mona at Clonast on the peat bog rail. It was designed specifically to burn peat.

Before the original Giant’s Causeway Tramway was initiated in 1883, costing and engineering surveys were done. Several meetings were held to determine whether it was feasible to construct a railway line along the coast between Ballycastle and Portrush. The idea was to link the commercial bauxite, coal, limestone, iron, basalt, and lignite industries along the north coast with Portrush’scommercial harbour.

The ambitious project was never implemented due to a lack of financial backing and doubts about the investment’s sufficient returns. Eventually, a narrow-gauge railway was constructed to run from Ballymoney to Ballycastle via Dervock and Armoy.

The Giants Causeway tramway came into being due to the enthusiasm and vision of Colonel William Traill of Ballyclough. He was a keen proponent of the railway and was well informed on technological developments.

This enthusiasm, together with the Siemens Company in 1879 revealing the first electric railway system at the Berlin Trade Fair, led to Siemens being appointed to incorporate this technology into the Tramway system at Giants Causeway. Colonel Traill installed water turbines for producing the necessary electrical power for the tram line and built the Walkmill Falls generating station. Although the generating station still exists, the equipment is no longer available.

Sir Macnaghten of Dundarave was strongly opposed to the railway being constructed, so much so that he diverted water from the river Bush above the Falls trying to decrease the flow. Despite this effort, the tramway opened in 1883 and was greeted as the first commercially operated “hydroelectric” powered tram system globally.

Midland Carriage and Wagons electric cars were initially used, and GEC and a Peckham car later replaced these. Although hydroelectric power was used, two Wilkinson steam locomotives were used to haul the carriages most of the time.

Its rail tracks originally stretched between Portrush and Bushmills, with the mile extension route to the Giants Causeway added later. An overhead electric wire replaced the live rail which ran next to the track in 1899. In 1916, steam haulage stopped, and the tramway operated for 65 years before finally being closed down in 1949.

Getting to The Giants Causeway From The Railway

The Giants Causeway is only a short walk to the UNESCO world heritage site from the giant’s causeway station end of the Giants Causeway and Bushmills railway. You will see the signs pointing towards a path leading to the world heritage site famous stone columns and giant’s causeway visitor experience.


Bushmills-main-street-toll-and-tower-visitportrush (1)

Situated on the Causeway Coast, Northern Ireland Bushmills is a small village only 2 miles to the North of the famous Giants Causeway on the north coast. The Centre of the Town is charming and makes you feel like you’ve taken a step back in time, a feeling reinforced by the Old Bushmills Distillery and the ancient shop frontages. In the North East Area in county Antrim, Bushmills has the most historic Listed Buildings of any village or town. It is 12 miles from Ballycastle and 7 miles from Coleraine.

The Mills on the River Bush

In the 17th Century, Bushmills got its name from the River Bush that has its source in the Antrim Hills flowing to Portballintrae where it meets the Atlantic Ocean. The mill was in those days powered by this river.

Main Street is a narrow central road that runs through the village and is lined with historic listed shops and houses.

The street also leads to ‘The Diamond’, which is the Town war memorial in the heart of the village.

The MacNaghten family of ‘Bushmills House’ in the 1820s re-invented Bushmills as a market village, established in 1828 with the Market Square later formed around 1840.

As a market town, Bushmills attracted more attention leading to an influx of people. There are seven active water-powered mills along the river, and the region has become a top-rated tourist destination, especially The Giant’s Causeway.

Old Bushmills Distillery and Bushmills Irish Whiskey

Bushmills had five licensed distilleries in 1788, and the Old Bushmills Distillery Company Limited, where Bushmills Irish whiskey (not whisky – thats Scottish Whisky and not to be confused) is distilled, is still a major tourist attraction to this day.

The first licence to distil whiskey in the area was granted to Bushmills distillery in 1608 by King James I & VI, making the Bushmills Irish whiskey the oldest licence distillery in the world. The old Bushmills distillery company limited was set up by Hugh Anderson in 1784.

The Distillery offers several tours to learn how the world-famous triple distilled malt whiskey and single malt whiskey are made and how malt distilling is done!

The current building dated back to the Victorian era and was built in the late 1800s. It’s worthwhile reading about the whole history on the Old Bushmills Distillery’s website.

The old Bushmills Distillery also makes lighter Irish grain whiskey. It is also host to the recently famous ‘Bushmills Live’ festival, described as a music festival and triple distilled handcrafted Irish whiskey from the old Bushmills distillery.

Old Bushmills Irish Whiskey

Bushmills now produces a range of Irish Whiskey including

Bushmills Original

The cornerstone of bottles produced by the Old Bushmills Dustillery, Bushmills Original is a smooth and versatile triple distilled blend. A whiskey matured in both bourbon and sherry casks resulting in fresh fruit and vanilla note.

Black Bush

Black Bush Irish whiskey combines an exceptionally high amount of malt married with a sweet, small-batch grain whiskey, and then matured in former Oloroso sherry and bourbon casks. This unique recipe means Black Bush has rich, fruity notes and a deep intense character, balanced by an incredibly unique smoothness. The most seasoned of Irish whiskey drinkers know that you can’t beat Black Bush.

Bushmills Railway and The Giants Causeway

The Bushmills Railway meanders through the dunes high above Runkerry Strand on its 15 minutes journey between The Giant’s Causeway and Bushmills.

This Journey is a real treat for train enthusiasts and a magical experience for individuals of all ages! Whenever possible, we prefer to arrive via train at the Giant’s Causeway when visiting! The line starts at the station located outside Bushmills on Ballaghmore Road that leads to Portballintrae.

The Giants Causeway and Bushmills Railway leaves from Bushmills Village on a 2 mile, 20-minute Journey to and from the Giants Causeway. It runs along the trackbed of what used to be the Giants Causeway Tram. A diesel locomotive runs on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, four times per day, between 11 am and 2.30 pm. Especially children love riding on the train. Visit Giants Causeway and Bushmills Railway for an unforgettable experience.

Places of Interest in Bushmills

Shell Row

These cottages were built by the McNaughten s in the early 1800s for workers on the Dundarave Estate.

The Alphabet Angel

This Bronze sculpture was created in 2004 by artist Ross Wilson and members of the local community. It represents the currency of language and the unique local tongue of the Ulster-Scots dialect. It was the first bronze sculpture anywhere in the world to celebrate the Ulster-Scots dialect.

The Market Square & Clock Tower

The McNaughtons constructed the Market SquareThe McNaughtons constructed the Market Square in around 1840 as the focal point of their new market town. This was also where men, women and children were hired at the twice-yearly hiring fair.

The clock tower is modelled on a classic round tower built in 1874.

The War Memorial

In the middle of the Market Square stands the war memorial, a memorial to those who left Bushmills and never returned in World War 1 & 2. There is also a special plaque to commemorate Sgt Robert Quigg, who won the Victoria Cross at the Battle of the Somme.

The sculpture atop the memorial was created by Charles Hartwell ARA and unveiled in 1921 after a short exhibition in the royal academy in London.

The Courthouse

Built-in 1834 as a centre for local authorities, the building,, had apartments for Police officers and jail cells for crooks. Local Judges used the court for petty sessions and misdemeanours predominantly. The building was used as a courthouse well into the 20th century.

The local Enterprise agency is now developing the buildingThe local Enterprise agency is now developing the building into a hub for creative industries. They received a £5.1 million grant in 2019 to carry out the work. The hub will feature a café, workspace for 14 businesses, event and retail space and deliver activities and workshops in culture, heritage art, crafts, food, tourism,, and creativity.

The Mills

Palmer and Bonner Mills are the only surviving corn mills on the river bush. Both have been carefully restored to their former condition with working water wheels. During its peak, there were seven water wheel driven mills working in Bushmills with the last ceasing in the 1960s

The Salmon Fishery

Since the early 1970s, the Bushmills Salmon Research Station has monitored the salmon population in the River Bush. Today this facility is an internationally recognised research facility providing long term scientific data on salmon stocks.

Bushmills Memorial School

Built in 1927, the Bushmills Memorial School was designed by Architect Clough William-Ellis.

William-Ellis had served in France with the Welsh Gaurds and Royal Tank Regiment during world war 1, where he was awarded the Military Cross. On his return from the front he designed many prominent war memorials of the era and also designed Bushmills Memorial School.

He is possibly most famous for designing Portmerrion in Snowdonia, which was used as the filming location for the 1960 clut drama The Prinsoner starring Patrick magoohan. He also designed the Giants Causeway Memorial School situated over looking the World Heritage same site.