( ) is one of the traditional
counties of Ireland
located within the province of Ulster and is
part of Northern
Ireland. It was named after the town of Antrim ( ).
an area of 2,844 km², it has a population of approximately
616,000, most of them in and around the Belfast area.
Antrim offer isolated rugged landscapes, the Giant's
Causeway is a unique
landscape and a UNESCO World
Heritage site, Bushmills produces legendary whiskey, and Portrush is a popular
seaside resort and night-life area.
The majority of the
capital city of Northern Ireland, Belfast, is also in County
Antrim, with the remainder being in County Down.
Fair Head seen from Ballycastle
Lisburn railway station
A large portion of Antrim is hilly, especially in the east, where
the highest elevations are attained. The range runs north and
south, and, following this direction the highest points are
Knocklayd (1,695 ft), Slieveanorra (1,676 ft), Trostan
(1,817 ft), Slemish (1,457 ft) and Divis (1,567 ft).
The inland slope is gradual, but on the northern shore the range
terminates in abrupt and almost perpendicular declivities, and
here, consequently, some of the finest coast scenery in the world
is found, widely differing, with its unbroken lines of cliffs, from
the indented coast-line of the west. The most remarkable
cliffs are those formed of perpendicular basaltic columns,
extending for many miles, and most strikingly displayed in Fair Head and the celebrated Giant's Causeway.
From the eastern coast the hills rise
instantly but less abruptly, and the indentations are wider and
both coasts there are several resort towns, including Portrush (with
well-known golf links), Portballintrae and Ballycastle; on the
east Cushendun, Cushendall and Waterfoot on Red Bay, Carnlough and Glenarm, Larne on the
Sea of Moyle, and Whitehead on Belfast Lough.
All are somewhat exposed
to the easterly winds prevalent in spring. The only island of
size is Rathlin
Island, off Ballycastle, 6½ miles in length by 1½ in
breadth, 7 miles from the coast, and of similar basaltic and
limestone formation to that of the mainland.
It is partially
arable, and supports a small population. Islandmagee is in fact a peninsula separating Larne Lough from the North Channel.
The valleys of the Bann and Lagan, with the intervening shores of
Lough Neagh, form the fertile lowlands. These two rivers, both
rising in County Down, are the only ones of importance. The latter
flows to Belfast Lough, the former drains Lough Neagh, which is fed
by a number of smaller streams. The fisheries of the Bann and of Lough Neagh
(especially for salmon and eels) are of value both commercially and to sportsmen,
the small town of Toome, at the
outflow of the river, being the centre.
this point lies Lough Beg, the "Small Lake," about fifteen feet
lower than Lough Neagh.
County Antrim has a number of air, rail and sea links.
Ireland's main airport, Belfast International Airport, at Aldergrove is in County Antrim.
International shares its runways with the Royal Air Force base RAF
otherwise has its own facilities.
It is the fifth largest
regional air cargo centre in the UK. There are regular
services to Great
Britain, Europe and North America.
region is also served by George Best
Belfast City Airport, a mile east of Belfast city
centre on the County Down side of the city, which was
renamed in 2006 in honour of footballer George Best.
See also: :Category:Railway
stations in County Antrim
Translink Northern Ireland Railways routes
are the major line between Belfast, Antrim, Ballymena, Coleraine and Londonderry, Belfast to Carrickfergus and Larne, the port
for Stranraer in Scotland and Coleraine to Portrush.
Northern Ireland's main ports are in County Antrim, Larne and Belfast.
sail from Larne Harbour to destinations including Cairnryan and Troon in Scotland, and Fleetwood in England.
Belfast is Northern Ireland's principal maritime gateway,
serving the Northern Ireland economy and increasingly that of the
Republic of Ireland.
It is a major centre of industry and
commerce and has become established as the focus of logistics
activity for Northern Ireland. Around two thirds of Northern
Ireland's seaborne trade, and a quarter of that for Ireland as a
whole, is handled at the port which receives over 6,000 vessels
The population of County Antrim was 616,384 according to recent
information. It is one of two counties
of Northern Ireland to
presently have a majority of the population from a Protestant
community background, according to the
being County Down
), and it is the most
populous county in Northern Ireland.
the largest religious denomination, followed by Roman Catholicism
. County Antrim is one
of two counties in Ireland in which the majority of people are Protestant, the
other being Down. The strong
Presbyterian presence in the county is due largely to the county's
historical links with Scotland.
traditional county town is Antrim. More recently, Ballymena was the seat of county government.
counties of Northern Ireland ceased to be administrative entities
in 1973, with the reorganization of local government.
In Northern Ireland the county structure is no longer used in local
government. Northern Ireland is split into districts
. Those in County
Antrim are administered by the following nine councils:
county contains all of five parliamentary constituencies:
Parts of the following constituencies are also in County Antrim:
(population of 18,000 or more and under 75,000 at 2001 Census)
(population of 10,000 or more and under 18,000 at 2001 Census)
(population of 4,500 or more and under 10,000 at 2001 Census)
(population of 2,250 or more and under 4,500 at 2001 Census)
(population of 1,000 or more and under 2,250 at 2001 Census)
Small villages or hamlets
(population of less than 1,000 at 2001 Census)
At what date the county of Antrim was formed is not known, but it
appears that a certain district bore this name before the reign of
(early 14th century),
and when the shiring of Ulster was undertaken by Sir John Perrot
in the 16th century, Antrim and Down
were already recognized divisions, in contradistinction to the
remainder of the province. The earliest known inhabitants were of
origin, and the names of the townlands
or subdivisions, supposed to have been
made in the 13th century, are all of Gaelic derivation. Antrim was
exposed to the inroads of the Danes
, and also
of the northern Scots, who ultimately effected permanent
In ancient times, it was inhabited by a Celtic people called the
. In the early Middle Ages, southern
County Antrim was part of the Kingdom of Ulidia
, ruled by the Dál
clans Keenan and MacDonlevy/McDunlavey; the north was
part of Dal Riada
, which stretched into
what is now western Scotland over the Irish Sea. Dal Riada was
ruled by the O'Lynch clan, who were vassals
of the Ulidians. Besides the Ulidians and Dal Riada, there were the
of lower County Antrim, and
, who were not Gaelic Celts but
Picts. In the late Middle Ages, it was divided into three parts:
northern Clandeboye, the Glynnes and the Route. The Cambro-Norman MacQuillans
were powerful in the Route. A branch
of the O'Neills of Tyrone migrated to Clandeboye in the 1300s, and
ruled it for a time. Their family was called O'Neill Clannaboy. A
sept, the MacDonnells,
became the most powerful in the Glynnes in the 1400s.
During the Tudor era
the Antrim coast was the scene of one of the 24 wrecks of the
Spanish Armada in Ireland
The Spanish vessel La Girona
was wrecked off Lacana Point, Giant's Causeway in 1588 with the
loss of nearly 1,300 lives.
Antrim is divided into sixteen baronies. Lower Antrim, part of
Lower Clandeboye, was settled by the sept O'Flynn/O'Lynn. Upper
Antrim, part of Lower Clandeboye, was the home of the O'Keevans.
Belfast was part of Lower Clandeboye and was held by the
O'Neill-Clannaboys. Lower Belfast, Upper Belfast, and Carrickfergus
were also part of Lower Clandeboye. Cary was part of the Glynnes;
ruled originally by the O'Quinn sept, the MacDonnell galloglasses
from Scotland took power here in the late Middle Ages and some of
the O'Haras also migrated from Connaught
Upper and Lower Dunluce
were part of the
Route, and were ruled by the MacQuillans. Upper and Lower
Glenarm was ruled by the O'Flynn/O'Lynn sept, considered
part of the Glynns.
In addition to that sept and that of
O'Quinn, both of which were native, the Scottish Gallowglass septs
of MacKeown, MacAlister, and MacGee, are found there. Kilconway was
originally O'Flynn/O'Lynn territory, but was held by the
MacQuillans as part of the Route, and later by the gallowglass sept
of MacNeill. Lower Massereene was part of Lower Clandeboye and was
ruled by the O'Flynns and the O'Heircs. Upper Massereene was part
of Lower Clandeboye, ruled by the O'Heircs. Upper and Lower Toome,
part of the Route, were O'Flynn/O'Lynn territory. Misc was first
ruled by the MacQuillans. Later, the Scottish Gallowglass
MacDonnells and MacAlisters invaded. The MacDonnells were a branch
of the Scottish Clan MacDonald; the MacAlisters traced their origin
back to the Irish Colla Uais, eldest of the Three Collas.
Islandmagee had, besides antiquarian remains, a notoriety as a
home of witchcraft, and during the Irish Rebellion of 1641 was the
scene of an act of reprisal (for the massacre of Protestants) against the Catholic population
by the Scottish Covenanter soldiery of
See Also: Castles
in County Antrim
Carrickferrgus Castle (1177)
The antiquities of the county consist of cairns
, mounts or forts, remains of ecclesiastical and
military structures, and round
three round towers: one at Antrim, one at Armoy, and one
on Ram Island in Lough Neagh, only that
at Antrim being perfect. There are some remains of the ecclesiastic
establishments at Bonamargy, where the
earls of Antrim are buried, Kells, Glenarm, Glynn, Muckamore and Whiteabbey.
castle at Carrickfergus, dating from the Norman invasion of Ireland, is
one of the best preserved medieval structures in Ireland.
are, however, remains of other ancient castles, as Olderfleet, Cam's, Shane's, Glenarm, Garron Tower, Red Bay,
Castle, notable for its dramatic location on a rocky
The principal cairns are: one on Colin mountain, near Lisburn; one
on Slieve True
, near Carrickfergus; and
two on Colinward. The cromlechs most
worthy of notice are: one near Cairngrainey, to the north-east of the old road
from Belfast to Templepatrick; the large cromlech at Mount
Druid, near Ballintoy; and one at the northern extremity of
The mounts, forts and entrenchments are very
natural rock formations of Giant's Causeway on the Antrim coast are now designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Slemish, about eight miles east of Ballymena, is notable as
being the scene of St Patrick's early life. According to
tradition Saint Patrick was a slave
for seven years, near the hill of Slemish, until he escaped back to
manufacturing was previously an
important industry in the County. At the time Ireland produced a
large mount of flax
. Cotton-spinning by
was first introduced by to
Belfast by industrialists Robert Joy and Thomas M'Cabe in 1777; an
Twenty-three years later it was estimated that more than 27,000
people were employed in the industry within ten miles of Belfast.
Women were employed in the working of patterns on muslin
- James Adair,
(1709-1783), born in County Antrim, explorer, trader, and
- John Bodkin
Adams, (1899-1983), general practitioner born in Randalstown and suspected of killing 163 patients while
practising in Eastbourne, England.
- William Arthur, (1797-1875), born
in Ballymena, noted antiquitarian and Baptist clergyman in the
John Jamison, (1776-1844), physician
and naval surgeon from Carrickfergus who became an important pioneering landowner and
constitutional reformer in New South Wales, Australia.
- Eva McGown,
(1883-1972), chorister, pioneer, and hostess in Alaska.
- John O'Kane Murray,
(1847-1885), born in Antrim, physician and noted author.
- James Nesbitt,
(1965—), from Broughshane (though he lived near Coleraine for most of his teenage and adult life), notable
- Liam Neeson,
(1952—), from Ballymena, notable actor.
- Tony McCoy Champion National Hunt
Jump Jockey born in
Flora and Fauna
Records of the seaweeds
of County Antrim
were brought together and published in 1907 by J. Adams who notes
that the list contains 211 species. Batter's list, of 1902,
contained 747 species in his catalogue of British marine
- Port of Belfast
- Cullen, Pamela V., "A Stranger in Blood: The Case Files on Dr
John Bodkin Adams", London, Elliott & Thompson, 2006, ISBN
- Adams, J. 1907. The Seaweeds of the Antrim
Coast. Scient. Pap. Ulster Fish. Biol. Ass. Vol.1: 29 -
- Batters, E.A.L. 1902. A catalogue of the
British marine algae being a list of all the species of seaweed
known to occur on the shores of the British Islands, with the
localities where they are found. J. Bot., Lond.
40 (suppl.): (2) + 107.