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County Antrim

County Antrim is located on the northeast coast of Ireland, separated from Scotland by the Irish Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

  • Of the 32 counties that comprise the Emerald Isle, Antrim ranks ninth in size and second (to County Dublin) in population
  • The County Antrim landscape varies
    • from the surreal basaltic cliffs of the northern coastal regions near the Giant's Causeway
    • to the lush and fertile lands of the Bann and Lagan River valleys and Loughs Belfast and Neagh

Antrim Highlights

  • In Belfast City, the Botanic Gardens contain indoor and outdoor areas that showcase all sorts of plant life.
  • Queen's University campus features historical architecture, artistic and cultural exhibits and libraries
  • The Crown Liquor Saloon in Belfast, well preserved in a charming, late 19th century style, serves food and drink to residents and tourists alike in the authentic atmosphere of an old-fashioned pub.
  • Outside Belfast City, a visit to the village of Bushmills provides the chance to see and sample the famous Irish whiskey as it is being made.
  • Ballycastle offers charming seaside accommodations in close proximity to the Rope Bridge of Carrick-a-Rede
  • The village also proudly hosts On Lannas Fari in the month of August
  • County Antrim is also home to Ireland's most popular attraction -- the Giant's Causeway, a magical series of seaside columns steeped in legend and mystery

History of Antrim

  • The first inhabitants of County Antrim were probably Celtic, but settlers from Denmark and Scotland soon joined them.
  • It is widely believed that the Hill of Slemish in County Antrim was the place where St. Patrick spent seven years of his youth as a slave before he escaped and returned to England
  • Some sites in Antrim became famous during the turbulent period of Irish history referred to as the Troubles -- most notably, the Belfast Wall Murals
    • The murals are poignant expressions of the hopes, dreams and emotions of the Protestant and Catholic residents of Antrim County
    • They focus on topics from historic images from the Book of Kells (housed in Trinity College) to memorials dedicated to heroes and freedom fighters of both Irish and non-Irish descent

Popular Surnames from Antrim

Popular surnames associated with County Antrim include:

  • Brown
  • Burns
  • Campbell
  • Craig
  • Lynch
  • Kerr
  • Moore
  • Mac Gee
  • Mac Dougal
  • Riordan
  • O'Hara
  • Scott
  • Wilson

Image

Carrick-a-rede rope bridge. Image: Alan Bruce.

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