Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

Rathlin Island Walking Tour

Explore the History and Culture of Northern Ireland

Quick Details

The Mill Bay Meander
The Lower End Walk
The Round the Houses Walk

The Lower End Walk

By “The Lower End,” we mean the part of Rathlin that points south, towards Ballycastle and Fair Head. It’s called that because it is lower in elevation compared to the other portion. That larger portion points west and is referred to as “The Upper End.” A stream, entering the sea beside St Thomas’ Church, forms the boundary between the two ends.

This walk takes place on a combination of surfaced roads and designated trails. Different routes are available so please ask at time of booking. If you walk to the Rue Lighthouse along the spectacular cliffs at Roonivoolin you will be covering about half the island. Keep your ears open to hear the distinctive call of the chough: an island bird rarity. Altacarry or Rathlin East Lighthouse is another way to go. Sorry, you can’t get to see around the East light. If you visit the RSPB Seabird Centre (the other end of Rathlin), you will be able to see inside that lighthouse.

Hear the tale of Robert the Bruce or stories of the many other battles fought on Rathlin. You could hike towards the lonely Coastguard Hut, looking out for Buzzard, Raven, and Peregrine.

This walk lasts around four hours, be prepared to get muddy at times. UNSUITABLE FOR CHILDREN.

The Mill Bay Meander

This walk departs both a.m (year-round) and p.m (27 March to 15 September) from Church Bay and will last for one hour and 30 minutes approximately.

The walk is on surfaced roads, at a gentle pace with few inclines. Expect to see seals and shorebirds (perhaps curlew, oystercatcher, and herring gull). We will pass old buildings and hear their story. Shipwrecks didn’t just happen in the days of sail; you will hear about HMS Drake, sunk in WW1 and a shipwrecked as recently as 29 January 2007. The walk lasts a bit more than an hour and children are welcome.

Find out what it is like to live on Rathlin today. How are children educated? What if you suddenly get sick? What’re the chances of getting a speeding ticket? What jobs are important?

The Round the Houses Walk

The walk is on a combination of trails, clifftop and surfaced roads off with different route options, but all offering you a great opportunity to cover many parts of Rathlin.

In late spring, see orchids and maybe the rare Pyramidal Bugle (a favourite of your guide). This walk will last seven plus hours, but at a relaxed pace. It is sometimes combined with a bus journey, which is an additional cost and subject to availability.

With the time at our disposal, we could visit all three of Rathlin’s lighthouses. Plenty to see and learn with lots to chat about.

NOT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN. This walk is for adults with a good level of fitness.