Things to do
rathlin west lighthouse seabird centre
This Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) centre offers spectacular views of a thriving seabird colony, where every summer thousands of puffins can be seen. It’s located at Rathlin’s upside-down west lighthouse (the lamp is at the building’s base). Built into the cliff face, the lighthouse was a feat of engineering when it was completed in 1919. The lighthouse tower now contains exhibits on Rathlin’s marine life and history. Above the lighthouse, viewing platforms look out to the neighbouring sea stacks, where every year thousands of seabirds return to breed, including guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes and fulmars. The best times to see puffins are mid-May (when the birds gather on the cliffs), mid-June (when the chicks begin hatching) and late July (when the puffins prepare to return to sea). Binoculars and telescopes are provided for close-up views of the birds and their chicks.
PRICE: adult/child £5/2.50
HOURS: 10am-5pm Mar-Sep
rathlin Island walks
From the harbour in Church Bay there are three main walking routes: to the Rathlin West Light Seabird Centre (7km), to the East Lighthouse(3km) and to the South Lighthouse (4.5km). The roads are all suitable for cycling; bikes can be hired.
There are also some fabulous off-road walking trails including the Ballyconagan Trail to the Old Coastguard Station on the north coast, with great views along the sea cliffs and across to the Scottish islands of Islay and Jura; and the cliff-top Roonivoolin Trail in the south, where you can spot choughs (the rarest of the crow family), hear the singing of skylarks and spot Irish hares.
Boat House visitor centre
The Rathlin Boathouse Visitor Centre is generally open for tourist season from April until the end of September and is open seven days a week, 10.00am – 5.00pm. Closed for lunch 12.30 – 1.00pm. Admission free. Disabled access limited.
Phone: 028 2076 0054. For further information contact Ballycastle Tourist Information Centre on 028 2076 2024.
Opens 7 days a week
Baby changing facilities, fee customer wi-fi, pay by card, ATM (charges apply), catering available for weddings, birthdays, etc., dogs welcome outside.
Phone: 028 2076 0011
The Café is open every day for lunch from 12.00pm to 4.00pm, and the Island Restaurant is open for evening meals via bookings (please give at least one day’s notice – ring 028 2076 0046).
Phone: +44 (0) 28 2076 0046
Mobile: +44 (0) 78 8689 3296
Water shed Café
The Water Shed Café (formerly The Harbour Café) is a, friendly snug, cosy little cottage by the harbour, that serves a wide variety of snacks, teas and coffee. The café will reopen on Easter Monday 2018, opening hours below;
Easter Monday, Easter Tuesday, 10.00-4.00
April, Wednesday-Saturday, 10.00-4.00
May-September, Tuesday-Sunday, 10.00-5.00
Contact: Sarah on 075 1735 4990.
Rathlin island cooperative
Monday-Saturday: 11.00-1.00 & 2.00-4.00
Island treasures souvenir shop/post office
Island Treasures Opening hours:
October – March: 10.00-2.00 (Mon-Fri)
April, May, June, September: 11.00-3.00 (Mon-Fri & Sun) 12.00-4.00 (Sat)
July & August: 11.00-5.00 (7 Days)
Post Office Opening Hours:
Open 10.30am – 4.00pm
Contact Details: Studio Telephone Number – 02820763986
e-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org
Two private companies run minibuses to and from the RSPB Seabird Centre, operating from the harbour during the season, picking people up off the incoming ferries in the morning – £5 return for adults, £3 for children. The journey takes about 20 minutes each way, and the bus companies usually leave passengers at the Seabird Centre for about an hour. If you would like to walk one of the ways, you might want to consider getting the bus up to the Centre, and walking the return leg. For further information contact Bertie Currie (07740586898) or Francis McGinn (07752861788/07759935192).
A large, modern children’s playground is 5 minutes walking distance from the Glamping site and is maintained by the Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council
There is an ATM in McCuaig’s Bar (open from 11.00am daily). This machine charges £1.85 per transaction. Money can also be withdrawn on most cards in the Post Office (see opening hours above). Please note that these machines may not accept your card, and that not all island businesses are able to accept card payments, so it is best to bring cash with you on your visit. The nearest ATM to the ferry office in Ballycastle is in the Spar on the seafront.