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Don’t just stay. Experience

Don’t just stay. Experience

Lighthouse keepers’ houses, 19th-century follies and haunted hotels. It’s only natural that this unique part of the world has some unique places to stay.

Blackhead Lighthouse

Blackhead Lighthouse stands atop the basalt cliffs of Islandmagee, keeping watch over the busy shipping lanes at the mouth of Belfast Lough. It was built in 1901, saw the heyday of Belfast’s shipbuilding industry, and helped guide the ill‑fated Titanic on the first leg of its maiden voyage.

Today, the light is automated, but it was once staffed by lighthouse keepers who lived in the houses to its rear. These beautifully‑restored homes are now available for self‑catering stays, and nothing exemplifies life on the sea and stone coast more than a getaway to this isolated spot. The windows look out onto sweeping views of The Gobbins Cliffs and the Irish Sea. Gulls and guillemots circle overhead. Each night you are lulled to sleep by the surging of the waves on the rocks far below.

Don’t just stay. Experience. | Shaped by Sea and Stone

The Barbican

The Barbican looks as if it has been guarding over Glenarm village since the Middle Ages.

In fact, it was built in the early 19th century, when ornamental gardens and romantic follies were all the rage among the upper classes.

Its stone turrets, gothic windows and period décor evoke nostalgia and whimsy.

Come for a self‑catering stay in the tower room where thick rugs, vaulted ceilings and wood‑burning stoves promise evenings of cosy comfort.

The Barbican

Water’s Edge

The best way to get close to daily life is to stay in a B&B. The Water’s Edge, in Glenarm, is a beautiful home right on the water where hosts Jenny and Pete love to introduce newcomers to this quaint village. Their rooms are bright and modern, the breakfast is delicious, and the views are to die for. It’s no wonder that the Water’s Edge won Northern Ireland’s Best Overnight Stay at the 2018 Tourism NI Awards.

The Adair Arms

The Adair Arms, a boutique hotel, was designed by Charles Lanyon – the architect responsible for Queen’s University Belfast’s main building and the Palm House at Belfast Botanic Gardens. This is one of the finest hotels in County Antrim, with luxury rooms, traditional afternoon teas and fine dining right in the heart of Ballymena. It’s a great place to spoil yourself.

    The Water’s Edge

    Ballygally Castle

    Every castle has to have at least one ghost of some kind, and Ballygally Castle is rumoured to have as many as three. Guests have reported being woken up by small hands pushing and tugging at them in their sleep, only to wake up and find no one there, hearing only the sound of a laughing child.

    Most reports consist of knocking at the doors of their room in the night, followed by the laughing of children and the sound of small feet running away down the hall. But it’s the

    ghost of Lady Isabella Shaw, wife of Lord James Shaw, that is perhaps the most well-known.

    Legend has it that Lord Shaw wanted a son, and when his wife delivered his heir, he snatched the baby from his wife and locked her in a room at the top of the castle.

    Ballygally

    While trying to escape to search for her beloved child, Lady Isabella fell to her death from the tower window. Her ghost is reputed to be a "friendly" spirit who walks the corridors of the old castle.

    Over the years many guests have reported strange experiences and have felt a presence in their rooms. There are also endless stories of unexplained noises in the night and an eerie green mist falling over the castle. Braver guests to the castle can climb the winding stair and visit Lady Isabella’s room. Not one for the faint-hearted!

    Oranmore Guesthouse & Tearooms

    Oranmore Guesthouse & Tearooms in Ballymena offers warm hospitality in an idyllic country setting.

    Each room has been lovingly decorated around a different garden theme.

    A roaring fire warms the sitting room in the colder months and the kitchen provides hearty Irish fare.

    Explore the gardens where ancient trees preside over colourful flower beds.

    Treat yourself to traditional, country hospitality at this hidden gem in the heart of County Antrim.

    Oranmore Guesthouse & Tearooms

    Dobbins Inn

    Dobbins Inn, in Carrickfergus, is perhaps the most storied hotel in the region.

    It has been standing for over 800 years, built in the 13th century by the Norman knight, Reginald D’Aubin.

    The ancient walls and old timbers have been lovingly restored, and the halls are lined with fascinating items like hunting trophies and suits of armour. Beware though, these rooms are frequented by the benign ghost of Elizabeth Dobbin, the wife of the inn’s 15th-century owner.

    He had her put to death after he discovered that she was having an affair with a young soldier from Carrickfergus Castle.

    The Dobbins Inn
    Lighthouse keepers’ houses, 19th-century follies and haunted hotels. It’s only natural that this unique part of the world has some unique places to stay.
    Itineraries

    Plan Your Trip

    Make the most of your stay in Mid & East Antrim by selecting from one of our itineraries. Each one caters to a different interest, a different mood, and ensures you experience the very best in the region.

    Hospitality Itinerary

    Let’s explore the culinary landscape of Mid and East Antrim and follow the trail of one of Ireland’s Top Ten Foodie Destinations of 2018.

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    Hospitality Itinerary | Shaped by Sea and Stone
    Hospitality

    Coast Itinerary

    The Causeway Coastal Route that twists and turns along the ancient County Antrim coastline is quite simply a journey unlike any other.

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    Coast Itinerary | Shaped by Sea and Stone
    Coast

    Wellbeing Itinerary

    From atop Slemish Mountain, the vast sky stretches away into the far distance - Patchwork fields, divided by dry stone walls, and the grasslands of the Shillanavogy Valley are burnished gold by the sun.

    Read More
    Wellbeing Itinerary | Shaped by Sea and Stone
    Wellbeing

    Towns & Villages Itinerary

    To truly appreciate the splendour of Mid & East Antrim, you must walk its towns and villages - These are places that have grown up from the rolling valleys of the Glens, nourished by the ebb and flow of the sea. 

    Read More
    Towns & Villages Itinerary | Shaped by Sea and Stone
    Town & Villages

    48-Hour Itinerary

    The idyllic area of Mid & East Antrim was not built in a day, over thousands of years, the land started to take shape - with the collision of the rough Irish Sea on the soft grassy verges and the power of mother nature, the land started to flourish.

    Read More
    48-Hour Itinerary | Shaped by Sea and Stone
    48 Hours
    Editorials
    Editorials

    A Taste of Tradition

    A Taste of Tradition

    'Toast the Coast' with Portia Woods and enjoy a taste of tradition on a fabulous foodie tour where you will enjoy some of the finest produce Northern Ireland and Mid & East Antrim has to offer.

    Read More
    Food and Drink
    Toast the Coast | Shaped by Sea and Stone

    Galgorm Resort & Spa

    Galgorm Resort & Spa

    Set amidst woodland on the banks of the plunging River Maine, Galgorm Resort & Spa, is a part of our heritage, part of our natural world, but just on a higher plane of indulgence! This internationally renowned spa hotel welcomes guests to wander its 163 acres, relax in wood-fired hot tubs overlooking the river or in tranquil garden settings. 

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    Relaxation
    Galgorm | Shaped by Sea and Stone

    The Londonderry Arms

    The Londonderry Arms

    Pull up a chair and have a chat with Raymond Hunt in the Londonderry Arms' Arkle Whiskey Bar for tales of the Titanic, Winston Churchill, and a famous steeplechaser.

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    Meet The Locals
    The Londonderry Arms