If you are coming into Northern Ireland from Dublin or like us, leaving the country and heading south to Dublin, consider putting time aside to drive through the Causeway Coastal Route.
This well-marked, 120 mile scenic road, goes between the cities of Belfast and Derry (Londonderry) and as the name suggests, it follows the coast traveling by numerous seaside villages, several ruins and stunning natural landscapes.
Our Route: Starting at Torr Head
We left Portrush as early as possible and went directly to the Causeway Coastal Route (A2) that passes through town. I had heard before coming to Ireland that this route was considered one of the best tourist drives and after going through it, I could not agree more.
Along narrow roads away from the scenic A2 is Torr Head. The site can be reached after passing the town of Ballycastle located thirty minutes from Portrush.
The roads along this route were very steep and zigzagged intensely as they lead us to an abandoned guard outlook and a former site to an ancient fort. The outlook was located on the summit of a tall hill, and once we arrived at the top, we had wide ranging views of the Irish Sea as well as the Scottish Isles.
Driving Past Small Towns and Vast Green Fields
Upon departure, we followed a narrow road that was appropriately named Torr. It led us through the seaside village of Cushendun, and then continued with a different name - Layde Road - until the tiny town of Cushendall.
The entire drive through this tight, meandering road by itself is worth the trip! We drove by fields of immense green and over mountainous cliffs above a turquoise ocean.
Ahead, the seaside towns of Carnlough and Glenarm are in close proximity to each other, but the best part is the coastal route that connects both towns.
The drive goes by the ruins of Red Bay Castle, a site perched on top of a hill where the route goes under an arch carved into the stone.
It also passes one of the greenest seaside towns we have seen called Waterfoot. The village lies at the foot of a beautiful valley called Glenariff, the biggest and most popular of the Nine Glens of Antrim (valleys of Antrim).
Heading back to Dublin Along Blue-Green Waters
From Glenarm to Ballygalley (the last town on our scenic route), we were led into our favorite stretch of the coast. Just past Glenarm, the drive goes through high cliffs on one side and on a clear, sunny day, along a surprisingly turquoise-colored ocean on the other.
From Ballygalley the drive to Dublin through major roads is quite simple and it took us less than three hours.
KEEP IN MIND
The Wrap-Up: Without an agenda, our total drive took around six hours and went from Portrush until the small coast town of Ballygalley and then straight to Dublin International Airport. This was our last day of our two week trip through Ireland and we closed it with one of the most stunning drives we have ever done!
The Eateries: Café Revive is located in the tiny town of Cushendall along the Causeway Coastal Route. We found it to be a great spot for a driving break as we shared a conversation with its charming owner and had his delicious hot chocolate and carrot cake.
- Want to see the full trip and plan your next? Check out our Ireland Two Week Itinerary!