fbpx 48-Hour Itinerary | Shaped by Sea and Stone

48-Hour Itinerary

From Castle to Coast…

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. After the land, we welcomed the equally impressive man-made elements of the landscape. The carving of rugged paths, scenic trails and the construction of royal residences. This truly is a place of chance.

It may have taken thousands of years for the land to form, but with this handy itinerary, you can take a journey from castle to coast in just 48 hours.

Highlights

  • Follow the cliff-hugging trail along the Gobbins Cliff Path. 
     
  • Take home a unique memento from your trip at Steensons Jewellery.
     
  • Visit the ancestral cottage of the 21st President of the United States.

Travel Time

If you were to visit all the stops on this itinerary, you’d be driving for a total of:

  • Day One - 1 Hour
     
  • Day Two - 1 Hour 20 Minutes
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Day One

Carrickfergus Castle

Allow 2 hours

First stop, Carrickfergus Castle. This iconic symbol has dominated the town of Carrickfergus for the past 800 years and still does today. Let’s walk in the footsteps of King Henry’s Anglo-Norman invaders, as we visit medieval chambers, an ancient banqueting hall, and walk the steep cobblestone steps to the panoramic views of the looking tower. With a castle as grand as this one, they needed all the protection they could get.

As you go, count how many large canons you can spot!

Carrickfergus Castle | Shaped By Sea And Stone

Old Town Walls & St Nicolas’ Church

Allow 1 hour

On exiting the castle, take a short walk and you’ll find the Old Town Walls. Today we see the remains of the stone walls which once spanned over 1159 metres. Built in the 1600’s by Sir Arthur Chichester, the walls were built to protect both the people of Carrickfergus and the castle. Many tried to breach the wall. Some succeeded and some failed, but they all left their mark on the history of this great town.

St Nicholas’ Church is another great structure built by John de Courcy. If you look closely, you will see the historic tales of Carrickfergus interwoven in the fabric.

Old Town Walls & St Nicolas’ Church | Shaped By Sea And Stone

Whitehead Town & Railway Museum

Allow 1 hour

The reflection of colourful homes dance on the water as we enter Whitehead.

This radiant town is known for its beautiful seaside and is home to Ireland’s largest collection of heritage locomotives. The Whitehead Railway Museum offers history, family fun and local cuisine.

Whilst here, you can hop aboard the footplate of a 1879 steam engine or enjoy lunch in an Edwardian Tea Room.

Whitehead Town & Railway Museum | Shaped By Sea And Stone

The Rinkha

Allow 1 hour

Nostalgic tourists from far and wide visit the Rinkha for a taste of their famous ice cream.  Since 1921, the Hawkins family have been delighting the tastebuds of the nation with their unrivalled recipe.

Once you try this homemade treat, you’ll see why the people of Islandmagee have flocked here for nearly 100 years!

Ice cream was not the only passion of the Hawkins family, as they also opened up a local dancehall.

Many locals shared their first dance within these very walls.

The Rinkha | Shaped By Sea And Stone

Gobbins Cliff Path

Allow 3 hours

Take a short 3-minute walk from the Rinka to the Gobbins Cliff Path. With the crashing waves of the North Channel underfoot, you will tread through underwater tunnels, dramatic bridges, ancient caves and more.

This cliff hugging experience brings together all that's great about Northern Ireland, from the spectacular views of the sea, to the history of our coastlines, not to mention the fantastic sound of birds overhead and the chance to see dolphins swimming on our rugged coastline.

Such a dramatic coastal walk is in high demand and must be booked in advanced.

Gobbins Cliff Path | Shaped By Sea And Stone

Ballygally Castle

Allow 1-2 hours

With a short drive to the top of the Causeway Coastal Route, we’ll arrive in Ballygally. Built in 1625, the stunning Ballygally Castle is an iconic part of this seaside town.

Take in the beautiful surroundings with a spot of lunch in the Lounge. Here you can enjoy the unspoiled views of the Antrim coastline as you savour their menu of locally sourced ingredients.

Before you leave, don’t forget to check out the castle’s exclusive Game of Thrones® door.

Ballygally Castle | Shaped By Sea And Stone

Day Two

Glenarm Castle

Allow 1 hour

Nestled in the heart of the Glenarm Glen, is Glenarm Castle. This iconic building was built in 1636 and is currently owned by the son of the 9th Earl of Antrim, Randal Viscount Dunluce.

The impressive grounds of the castle span far and wide with a Walled Garden, historic sculptures, views of the sea and a quaint little gift shop. You could spend all day here.

Walk the grounds, check out the castle and soak up yesteryears with a coffee in the tea room.

Glenarm Castle | Shaped By Sea And Stone

Steensons Jewellers

Allow 1 hour

Make this journey a memorable one with a keepsake from Steensons Jewellers. Watch as some of Ireland’s finest goldsmiths cut, shape and manipulate metals right before your eyes.

Once the process is complete, the goldsmiths embellish their masterpiece with stone or textured finishes. This jewellers is so iconic that Game of Thrones® wanted in on the action.

Many of the crowns and jewellery featured in the hit TV show was made right here at Steensons.

Steensons Jewellers | Shaped By Sea And Stone

Slemish Mountain

Allow 1-2 hours

As we drive, you’ll start to see the dramatic facade of Slemish Mountain. Standing tall in both stature and history, this extinct volcano was once home to the Irish legend - Saint Patrick.

Following his capture as a young boy, St Patrick worked as a shepherd on the mountain for around 6 years. Now for the hike. After a steep and rocky trail through murky terrain you will arrive at the summit.

The breathtaking views over Lough Neagh, the Sperrin Mountains, Bann Valley and the Scottish coast make it worth every step!

Slemish Mountain | Shaped By Sea And Stone

Arthur Cottage

Allow 1 hour

Now we’ll travel to the ancestral home of the 21st President of the United States of America.

This modest cottage has Guinness to how it used to look and function back in the 18th century.

We will listen to Irish folklore and learn about the link this rural village has to Chester Alan Arthur and the American Presidency.

You can also take part in a bakery demonstration and get pictures with people in period costumes.

Arthur Cottage | Shaped By Sea And Stone

Crosskeys Inn Toomebridge

Allow 1 hour

Crosskeys Inn is the epitome of a traditional Irish bar from days gone by. 

Being the oldest thatched pub in Ireland, the atmosphere is incredible. The sound of traditional Irish music and the aroma of the roaring turf fires makes this the best place to enjoy an Irish beverage.

So, get to the bar, order a pint a Guinness or a glass Irish whiskey and raise a toast to this wonderful place.

Crosskeys Inn Toomebridge | Shaped By Sea And Stone

Galgorm Hotel & Spa

Allow 1-2 hours

After 48 hours of sightseeing, it’s time to unwind at Galgorm Hotel & Spa. This tranquil hideaway has everything you need to refuel and relax.

Rest your body and mind in the Thermal Village, dine in a Guinness restaurant or take it all in at the Conservatory Bar.

This haven of unspoiled relaxation will leave you feeling totally rejuvenated and ready to take on your next adventure!

Galgorm Hotel & Spa | Shaped By Sea And Stone
Editorials
Editorials

St. Nicholas Church

St. Nicholas Church

Built by Ulster Anglo-Norman conqueror John de Courcy in the late 12th century, it seems every invasion or change of power or tumultuous local event has left its imprint here.

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Historic Sites
St Nicolas' Church | Shaped By Sea And Stone

The Gobbins

The Gobbins

George McGrand has been guiding people over a spectacular sea cliff walk that clings to this epic coast since it was reimagined in 2015.

Read More
Coastal Walks
The Gobbins | Shaped By Sea And Stone

The Hot Milk Forge

The Hot Milk Forge

Eamonn Higgins is reviving the ancient craft of blacksmithing amidst the unspoilt beauty of Glenravel. Join him to take up your own anvil, forge and hammer to craft traditional blades or a longbow straight out of Game of Thrones.

Read More
Forging Game of Thrones
The Hot Milk Forge | Shaped By Sea And Stone

Whitehead Railway Museum

Whitehead Railway Museum

It's true that many visitors talk about the smell of the smoke and memories it brings back but thanks to Thomas the Tank Engine and Harry Potter and the Hogwarts Express you’d be amazed at the number of kids that love it here.

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Family Fun
Whitehead Railway Museum | Shaped By Sea And Stone

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
A Taste of Tradition | Shaped By Sea And Stone

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.

Read More
Quirky Lodgings
Don’t just stay. Experience | 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. 

Read More
Relaxation
Galgorm Resort & Spa | Shaped By Sea And Stone

Glenarm Castle

Glenarm Castle

Medieval conflicts of the Glens and Causeway Coast, giving way to an 18th-century elegance that transformed this achingly beautiful site into one of the treasures of Northern Ireland.

Read More
Castles
Glenarm Castle | Shaped By Sea And Stone

Steensons

Steensons

Steensons in Glenarm are makers of exquisite jewellery. You can browse their range of hand-crafted jewellery in their showroom, or enter their studio and watch their artists at work.

Read More
Arts & Crafts
The Steensons | Shaped By Sea And Stone
Itineraries

Other Itinerary's

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.

Coast Itinerary

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

Read More
Coast Itinerary | Shaped By Sea And Stone
Coast

Heritage Itinerary

This land has a story to tell - A historic tale passed down through generations, through artefacts and ruins, through folklore and ancient writings, where etchings of the past reveal a deeper understanding.

Read More
Heritage Itinerary | Shaped By Sea And Stone
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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

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.

Read More
Hospitality Itinerary | Shaped By Sea And Stone
Hospitality

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

Game of Thrones® Itinerary

The makers of HBO’s Game of Thrones® wanted to find an ancient landscape new to the rest of the world - dramatic cliffs that give way to beautiful valleys, medieval castles towering over picturesque stone harbours.

Read More
Game of Thrones® Itinerary | Shaped By Sea And Stone
Game Of Thrones®