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I recently made a visit to Larne where I lived for many years. I enjoyed walking around th...

Gary Mcveigh, Kings Lynn

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Islandmagee, to the south of Larne, is a peninsula typical of Northern Ireland's picturesque rural beauty.  It is also a great place to visit if you are seeking an active holiday - horse riding, riding for the disabled, walking, relaxation therapy, diving, bird watching and fishing are just some of the activities on offer.  Larne Lough is an excellent spot for bird watching and Muck Island, a bird sanctuary, and the spectacular Gobbins Cliffs are also highly recommended when approached by boat.

The sandy beach at Brown's Bay is popular for sea bathing and watersports.  A popular National Trust walk is accessible from the beach area. 

Testifying to the ancient settlement of the area is Ballylumford Dolmen or 'The Druid's Altar', one of our most distinctive landmarks.  The ancient chuch at Ballykeel, a short distance along the Low Road, was once a foundation of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, while St. John's Parish Church can trace its foundation back 400 years.  The Viking cemetary at Ballypriormore bears silent witness to the turbulent history of the area.  A National Trust walking route skirts the sea cliffs above Portmuck and offers fantastic views towards Belfast and Scotland.  Portmuck was once the site of an ancient abbey but is now a picturesque harbour popular with visitors keen to discover this unspoilt haven for themselves.

Once a haunt of smugglers, a row of coastguard cottages was built in the yard of the nearby farmyard - now these make up part of the accommodation stock in this peaceful area.

It was on Islandmagee also in 1710 and 1711 that a series of mysterious incidents led to the arrest and trial of several local women for witchcraft.

A scenic route round the Island is signposted from the A2 road but be sure to stop and soak up some of the atmosphere of the island.  On your visit, beware of the mythical figures such as Gobbin Saor, a terrifying giant who lived in the Gobbins Cliffs and who is just one of the many legends of this seafaring community.

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