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27 January 2020

A guide to living in Ballycastle


From beautiful beaches to areas of outstanding natural beauty, there are plenty of things to see and do in Ballycastle.

Game of Thrones fans flock to the area to immerse themselves into the mythical land, visiting spots that were used as filming locations in the Co. Antrim town. have created a guide to living in Ballycastle which showcases the top eateries, main attractions and more!

Living in Ballycastle

With an eclectic array of colourful townhouses, unrivalled sea views and picturesque sandy beaches, Ballycastle offers residents an enticing combination of revelry and relaxation. Admired by both locals and tourists alike, it is favoured by those who love the charm of a small town.

Given its prime location at the Antrim Coast and Glens Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it is also a popular spot with those who crave idyllic surroundings to reside.

In recent years, a spotlight has deservedly been shone on the area, thanks to Game of Thrones, highlighting its true beauty. The town also serves as the ideal base to explore famous landmarks such as the Giant’s Causeway, Bushmills Distillery and Carrick-a-rede rope bridge, given that each is less than 10-minutes away.

And while its location may prove popular, the town itself has much to offer with a collection of traditional pubs and eateries where a warm welcome is certain.

A highlight in its annual calendar is the highly praised Auld Lammas Fair, which provides street entertainment and market stalls, drawing hundreds of visitors from far and wide.

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Who is Ballycastle ideal for?

The idyllic rural town is a popular choice with those who wish to set up a second home, while easy access to the surrounding areas of Coleraine, Portrush and Portstewart, makes it an ideal base for commuters.

An abundance of townhouses, cottages, detached, semis and villas ensure there is something for everyone.

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Where to eat in Ballycastle?

  • Central Wine Bar: Located in the heart of the town, this family-run business is the perfect location for a great evening. The menus guarantee something for everyone, from a tasty quick lunch to excellent à la carte style evening options.
  • The Promenade Café: Renowned for offering some of the best fish and chips in the area, The Promenade Café is a firm favourite. An emphasis is placed on using only fresh local produce, while the attention to detail leaves diners vowing to return again soon.
  • The Cellar Restaurant: A calm and peaceful ambience awaits at The Cellar Restaurant. Church pews with cushioned seats flank either side of the wooden tables, while a low hanging light casts light and creates a setting with a difference.
  • O’Connor’s Bar: The traditional Irish bar prides itself on offering the best pint of Guinness in North Antrim. A menu of freshly prepared meals caters for all tastes, best enjoyed over the tones of the bar’s live music.
  • Anzac Restaurant: With a team who really go the extra mile, it’s unsurprising that Anzac is earning a reputation for excellence. Exceptional food and outstanding service mean that word is quickly spreading about this true hidden gem.
  • Marconi’s Bar & Bistro: Located in the Marine Hotel, Marconi’s talented team of chefs create delicious seasonal menus, using only the finest locally sourced products.
  • Donnelly’s Bakery & Coffee Shop: Right in the heart of Ballycastle, a second generation of the Donnelly family man the ovens, producing a wide range of traditional breads – such as their very own dulse wheaten loaf – as well as delicious pastries and hot savouries, fresh every day.
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What to do in Ballycastle?

  • Game of Thrones tours: For fans of the hit TV series, a Game of Thrones tour is a must. With a variety of tours available, whichever one you choose, take advantage of the opportunity to soak up the area’s awe-inspiring views.
  • Kinbane Castle: Just outside Ballycastle, on the main Causeway Coastal Route resides the secluded headland of Kinbane Castle. Constructed on a limestone headland which protrudes out from below the overlying basalt cliffs, it truly needs to be seen to be believed.
  • Ballycastle Beach: The popular tourist destination stretches 1.2 kilometres in length, running from the pier in Ballycastle Marina to Pans Rock, with stunning views along the way.
  • Murlough Bay, Fairhead and Torr Head: Unrivalled views and an expanse of natural beauty can be seen for miles along the protruding rocks of Fairhead, Murlough Bay and Torr Head. Rising 600 feet above sea level, the rugged rocks can be enjoyed from Ballycastle and various other points along the North Coast.
  • Rathlin Island Ferry: Take a trip to the historic Rathlin Island from the ferry in Ballycastle. Arrive at the other side and relish all that this spectacular island has to offer, including its famous puffins.
  • Bonamargy Friary: The ruins of the monastery are a reminder of the battle between the warring MacDonnell and MacQuillan clans. The cloister, gatehouse, altar and church are well preserved and several other interesting features such as the east window and staircase can still be enjoyed today.
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Schools in Ballycastle

  • Ballycastle Integrated Primary School: Ballycastle Integrated Primary school has been a controlled integrated school since 2007 and provides a dedicated purpose built nursery unit. The school takes a child-centered approach and believes that building high self-esteem is crucial to success.
  • Ballycastle High School: Ballycastle High School was established over 100 years ago and provides post-primary teaching. The school’s ethos is to provide the best possible education for each child in a creative and caring environment.
  • Cross and Passion College: Cross & Passion College has a unique history with a tradition of excellence dating back to 1852. The school became co-educational in 1936 and merged with Star of the Sea Secondary School in the 70s to become one of Northern Ireland’s first all-ability schools.
  • St Patrick’s & St Brigid’s Primary School: The school was formed in 1991 as part of an amalgamation between St Brigid’s Girls’ Primary School and St Patrick’s Boys’ Primary School. The vision of the school is to provide an education which prepares pupils to be model citizens.
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