NORTH ANTRIM COAST

         

 Technically the North Antrim Coast Road runs between Ballycastle and Larne forming part of the main A2 coast road, though many would see it as running to Portrush. Today it forms part of the Causeway Coastal Route from Londonderry to Carrickfergus. It was built by William Bald between 1832 and 1842 to replace the Old Irish Highway which was both poor and dangerous. Originally called the Grand Military Way it was built in light of strategic lessons learnt by government after the1798 rebellion and was intended to make not only accessibility to the Glens and coastal areas possible for inhabitants and trade but also to create a quick access route for troops. The road employed the skills of not only the engineer William Bald but those of the Thomas Woodhouse and Charles Lanyon - there are some fine examples of designs and bridge construction along the route, especially the wonderful Glendun bridge. On leaving Ballycastle the first small hamlet is Ballyvoy, here at Culfeightrin Church which looks almost tropical with its species of palm tree in the graveyard, you can find a large standing stone situated close to the entrance door of the Church. The road ascends from Ballyvoy to Ballypatrick Forest Park following the winding valley that carries the Carey River down from Cushleake Mountain. The Forest Park has a six mile loop drive around Carneighaneigh Mountain, mid-way around the drive you can visit an example of a Megalithic  burial chambered which is signposted - the route offers some fantastic views of Knocklayd and Rathlin Island. Corratavey Bridge which was built by William Bald in 1832 to carry the Coast Road over Corratavey Burn, now also forms an interesting feature to the forest drive - the road and burn combine as a ford to pass below the bridge.

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