County Antrim (named after the town of Antrim, from Irish: Aontroim,
meaning "lone ridge", [ˈeːnˠt̪ˠɾˠɪmʲ])) is one of six
counties that form Northern Ireland. Adjoined to the north-east shore
of Lough Neagh, the county covers an area of 3,046 square kilometres
(1,176 sq mi) and has a population of about 618,000.
County Antrim has a population density of 203 people per square
kilometre or 526 people per square mile. It is also one of the
thirty-two traditional counties of Ireland, as well as part of the
historic province of Ulster.
Glens of Antrim
Glens of Antrim offer isolated rugged landscapes, the Giant's
Causeway is a unique landscape and a
UNESCO World Heritage Site,
Bushmills produces whiskey, and
Portrush is a popular seaside resort
and night-life area. The majority of Belfast, the capital city of
Northern Ireland, is in County Antrim, with the remainder being in
It is currently one of only two counties of Ireland to have a majority
of the population from a
Protestant background, according to the 2001
census. The other is
County Down to the south.
4 Irish language
7.2 Large towns
7.3 Medium towns
7.4 Small towns
7.5 Intermediate settlements
7.7 Small villages or hamlets
9.1 Historic monuments
9.2 Saint Patrick
10 Notable residents
11 Flora and fauna
14 See also
16 External links
Glens of Antrim
Glens of Antrim at Glendun
Fair Head seen from Ballycastle
Columnar basalt at Giant's Causeway
Lisburn railway station
A large portion of Antrim is hilly, especially in the east, where the
highest elevations are attained. The range runs north and south, and,
following this direction, the highest points are Knocklayd 514 m
(1,690 ft), Slieveanorra 508 m (1,670 ft), Trostan
550 m (1,800 ft),
Slemish 437 m (1,430 ft),
Agnew's Hill 474 m (1,560 ft) and
Divis 478 m
(1,570 ft). The inland slope is gradual, but on the northern
shore the range terminates in abrupt and almost perpendicular
declivities, and here, consequently, some of the finest coast scenery
in the world is found, widely differing, with its unbroken lines of
cliffs, from the indented coast-line of the west. The most remarkable
cliffs are those formed of perpendicular basaltic columns, extending
for many miles, and most strikingly displayed in
Fair Head and the
celebrated Giant's Causeway. From the eastern coast the hills rise
instantly but less abruptly, and the indentations are wider and
deeper. On both coasts there are several resort towns, including
Portrush (with well-known golf links),
Portballintrae and Ballycastle;
on the east Cushendun,
Cushendall and Waterfoot on Red Bay, Carnlough
Larne on the Sea of Moyle, and Whitehead on Belfast
Lough. All are somewhat exposed to the easterly winds prevalent in
spring. The only island of size is the L-shaped Rathlin Island, off
Ballycastle, 11 km (6.8 mi) in total length by 2 km
(1.2 mi) maximum breadth, 7 km (4.3 mi) from the coast,
and of similar basaltic and limestone formation to that of the
mainland. It is partially arable, and supports a small population.
Islandmagee is a peninsula separating
Larne Lough from the North
The valleys of the Bann and Lagan, with the intervening shores of
Lough Neagh, form the fertile lowlands. These two rivers, both rising
in County Down, are the only ones of importance. The latter flows to
Belfast Lough, the former drains Lough Neagh, which is fed by a number
of smaller streams. The fisheries of the Bann and of Lough Neagh
(especially for salmon and eels) are of value both commercially and to
sportsmen, the small town of Toome, at the outflow of the river, being
the centre. Immediately below this point lies Lough Beg, the "Small
Lake", about 4.5 m (15 ft) lower than Lough Neagh.
County Antrim has a number of air, rail and sea links.
Northern Ireland's main airport,
Belfast International Airport, at
Aldergrove is in County Antrim.
Belfast International shares its
runways with the
Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force base RAF Aldergrove, which otherwise
has its own facilities. It is the fifth-largest
regional air cargo centre in the UK. There are regular services to
Great Britain, Europe and North America.
The region is also served by
Belfast City Airport, a mile
Belfast city centre on the
County Down side of the city, which
was renamed in 2006 in honour of footballer George Best.
See also: Category:Railway stations in County Antrim
The main Translink
Northern Ireland Railways routes are the major line
between Belfast, Antrim, Ballymena,
Coleraine and Derry,
Carrickfergus and Larne, the port for
Stranraer in Scotland and
Coleraine to Portrush.
Two of Northern Ireland's main ports are in County Antrim,
Ferries sail from
Larne Harbour to destinations including
The Port of
Belfast is Northern Ireland's principal maritime gateway,
Northern Ireland economy and increasingly that of the
Republic of Ireland. It is a major centre of industry and commerce and
has become established as the focus of logistics activity for Northern
Ireland. Around two-thirds of Northern Ireland's seaborne trade, and a
quarter of that for Ireland as a whole is handled at the port, which
receives over 6,000 vessels each year.
The population of
County Antrim was 615,384 according to recent census
information, making it the most populous county in Northern Ireland.
Statistics for 2009–2010 show 1,832 students attending the 12
Irish language primary schools) and 1 Gaelcholáiste
Irish language secondary school).
Presbyterian Church in Ireland
Presbyterian Church in Ireland is the largest religious
denomination, followed by the
Catholic Church and the Anglican Church
County Antrim is one of two counties in Ireland in which
the majority of people are Protestant, according to the 2001 census,
the other being Down. The strong Presbyterian presence in the county
is due largely to the county's historical links with lowland Scotland,
which supplied many immigrants to Ireland.
Protestants are the
majority in most of the county, whilst Catholics are concentrated in
Belfast, particularly the west of the city, the northeast, and on the
shore of Lough Neagh.
The traditional county town is Antrim. More recently,
the seat of county government. The counties of
Northern Ireland ceased
to be administrative entities in 1973, with the reorganization of
Northern Ireland the county structure is no longer used in local
Northern Ireland is split into districts. The majority of
County Antrim residents are administered by the following nine
Newtownabbey Borough Council
Ballymena Borough Council
Ballymoney Borough Council
Belfast City Council
Carrickfergus Borough Council
Larne Borough Council
Lisburn City Council
Moyle District Council
Small portions of the county are administered by councils that are
based in neighbouring counties, notably the village of
the Craigavon Borough and the town of
Portrush in the Coleraine
The county contains within it the whole of five parliamentary
Parts of the following five parliamentary constituencies are also in
(places with official city status)
(population of 18,000 or more and under 75,000 at 2001 Census)
(population of 10,000 or more and under 18,000 at 2001 Census)
(population of 4,500 or more and under 10,000 at 2001 Census)
(population of 2,250 or more and under 4,500 at 2001 Census)
(population of 1,000 or more and under 2,250 at 2001 Census)
Cogry & Kilbride
Small villages or hamlets
(population of less than 1,000 at 2001 Census)
Main article: Barony (Ireland)
Main article: List of civil parishes of County Antrim
Main article: List of townlands in County Antrim
Royal Avenue, Belfast.
Photochrom print circa 1890–1900.
At what date the county of Antrim was formed is not known, but it
appears that a certain district bore this name before the reign of
Edward II (early 14th century), and when the shiring of
undertaken by Sir
John Perrot in the 16th century, Antrim and Down
were already recognised divisions, in contradistinction to the
remainder of the province. The earliest known inhabitants were
Mesolithic hunter-gatherers of pre-Celtic origin, but the names of
the townlands or subdivisions, supposed to have been made in the 13th
century, are all of Celtic derivation.
In ancient times, Antrim was inhabited by a Celtic people called the
Darini. In the early Middle Ages, southern
County Antrim was part
of the Kingdom of Ulidia, ruled by the
Dál Fiatach clans Keenan and
MacDonlevy/McDunlavey; the north was part of Dál Riada, which
stretched into what is now western Scotland over the Irish Sea. Dál
Riada was ruled by the O'Lynch clan, who were vassals of the Ulidians.
Besides the Ulidians and Dál Riada, there were the
Dál nAraide of
lower County Antrim, and the Cruthin, who were pre-Gaelic Celts and
probably related to the Picts of Britain. Between the 8th and 11th
centuries Antrim was exposed to the inroads of the Vikings.
In the late 12th century Antrim became part of the Earldom of Ulster,
conquered by Anglo-Norman invaders. A revival of Gaelic power followed
the campaign of
Edward Bruce in 1315, leaving
Carrickfergus as the
only significant English stronghold. In the late Middle Ages, Antrim
was divided into three parts: northern Clandeboye, the Glynnes and the
Cambro-Norman MacQuillans were powerful in the Route. A
branch of the O'Neills of Tyrone migrated to Clandeboye in the 14th
century, and ruled it for a time. Their family was called O'Neill
Gallowglass sept, the MacDonnells, became the most
powerful in the Glynnes in the 15th century.
During the Tudor era (16th century) numerous adventurers from Britain
attempted to colonise the region; many Scots settled in Antrim around
this time. In 1588 the Antrim coast was the scene of one of the 24
wrecks of the Spanish Armada in Ireland. The Spanish vessel La Girona
was wrecked off Lacana Point,
Giant's Causeway in 1588 with the loss
of nearly 1,300 lives.
Antrim is divided into sixteen baronies. Lower Antrim, part of Lower
Clandeboye, was settled by the sept O'Flynn/O'Lynn. Upper Antrim, part
of Lower Clandeboye, was the home of the O'Keevans.
Belfast was part
of Lower Clandeboye and was held by the O'Neill-Clannaboys. Lower
Belfast, Upper Belfast, and
Carrickfergus were also part of Lower
Clandeboye. Cary was part of the Glynnes; ruled originally by the
O'Quinn sept, the MacDonnell galloglasses from Scotland took power
here in the late Middle Ages and some of the O'Haras also migrated
from Connaught. Upper and Lower Dunluce were part of the Route, and
were ruled by the MacQuillans. Upper and Lower
Glenarm was ruled by
the O'Flynn/O'Lynn sept, considered part of the Glynns. In addition to
that sept and that of O'Quinn, both of which were native, the Scottish
Gallowglass septs of MacKeown, MacAlister, and MacGee, are found
Kilconway was originally O'Flynn/O'Lynn territory, but was held
by the MacQuillans as part of the Route, and later by the gallowglass
sept of MacNeill. Lower Massereene was part of Lower Clandeboye and
was ruled by the O'Flynns and the O'Heircs. Upper Massereene was part
of Lower Clandeboye, ruled by the O'Heircs. Upper and Lower Toome,
part of the Route, were O'Flynn/O'Lynn territory. Misc was first ruled
by the MacQuillans. Later, the Scottish
Gallowglass MacDonnells and
MacAlisters invaded. The MacDonnells were a branch of the Scottish
Clan MacDonald; the MacAlisters traced their origin back to the Irish
Colla Uais, eldest of the Three Collas.
Islandmagee had, besides antiquarian remains, a notoriety as a home of
witchcraft, and during the
Irish Rebellion of 1641
Irish Rebellion of 1641 was the scene of an
act of reprisal (for the massacre of Protestants) against the Catholic
population by the Scottish
Covenanter soldiery of Carrickfergus.
In 1689 during the Williamite War in Ireland,
County Antrim was a
Protestant resistance against the rule of the Catholic James
II. During the developing crisis James' garrison at Carrickfergus
successfully repulsed an attempt by local
Protestants to storm it.
After the advance of the Irish Army under Richard Hamilton, all of
County Antrim was brought under Jacobite control. Later in the year a
major expedition from England under
Marshal Schomberg landed in
Belfast Lough and successfully laid siege to Carrickfergus. Having
captured most of the largest towns of the area, they then marched
southwards towards Dundalk.
Carrickfergus Castle (1177)
See also: Castles in County Antrim
The antiquities of the county consist of cairns, mounts or forts,
remains of ecclesiastical and military structures, and round towers.
There are three round towers: one at Antrim, one at Armoy, and one on
Ram's Island in Lough Neagh, only that at Antrim being perfect. There
are some remains of the ecclesiastic establishments at Bonamargy,
where the earls of Antrim are buried, Kells, Glenarm, Glynn, Muckamore
The castle at Carrickfergus, dating from the Norman invasion of
Ireland, is one of the best preserved medieval structures in Ireland.
There are, however, remains of other ancient castles, as Olderfleet,
Cam's, Shane's, Glenarm, Garron Tower, Red Bay, and Dunluce Castle,
notable for its dramatic location on a rocky outcrop.
The principal cairns are: one on Colin mountain, near Lisburn; one on
Slieve True, near Carrickfergus; and two on Colinward. The cromlechs
most worthy of notice are: one near Cairngrainey, to the north-east of
the old road from
Belfast to Templepatrick; the large cromlech at
Mount Druid, near Ballintoy; and one at the northern extremity of
Islandmagee. The mounts, forts and entrenchments are very numerous.
The natural rock formations of
Giant's Causeway on the Antrim coast
are now designated a
UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Slemish, about eight miles (13 km) east of Ballymena, is notable
as being the scene of St Patrick's early life. According to
Saint Patrick was a slave for seven years, near the hill of
Slemish, until he escaped back to Great Britain.
Linen manufacturing was previously an important industry in the
County. At the time Ireland produced a large amount of flax.
Cotton-spinning by jennies was first introduced to
industrialists Robert Joy and Thomas M'Cabe in 1777; and twenty-three
years later it was estimated that more than 27,000 people were
employed in the industry within ten miles (16 km) of Belfast.
Women were employed in the working of patterns on muslin.
James Adair (1709–1783), born in County Antrim, explorer, trader,
Charles Clinton Beatty (1715?–1772), born in County Antrim, noted
clergyman in the
New Jersey area
John Bodkin Adams
John Bodkin Adams (1899–1983), general practitioner born in
Randalstown and suspected of killing 163 patients while practising in
William Arthur (1797–1875), born in Ballymena, noted antiquitarian
Baptist clergyman in the United States.
Joey Dunlop, OBE (1952–2000), from Ballymoney, five time World
Amy James-Kelly (1995-), born in Antrim, known for her role as Maddie
Heath in Coronation Street
John Jamison (1776–1844), physician and naval surgeon from
Carrickfergus who became an important pioneering landowner and
constitutional reformer in New South Wales, Australia.
George Macartney, 1st Earl Macartney
George Macartney, 1st Earl Macartney (1737–1806), from Ballymoney,
first British Ambassador to China in 1772.
Eva McGown (1883–1972), chorister, pioneer, and hostess in Alaska.
John O'Kane Murray (1847–1885), born in Antrim, physician and noted
James Nesbitt (1965—), from
Broughshane (though he lived near
Coleraine for most of his teenage and adult life), notable actor.
Liam Neeson (1952—), from Ballymena, notable actor.
Tony McCoy (1974–), from Moneyglass, notable jockey.
Hugh Boyle (1897–1986), from Dunloy, Catholic Bishop of Port
Elizabeth, 1951-1954, Bishop of Johannesburg, 1954-1976.
General Sir James Steele (1894–1975), senior officer in the British
Army who served in both
World War I
World War I and World War II. L
Flora and fauna
Records of the seaweeds of
County Antrim were brought together and
published in 1907 by J. Adams who notes that the list contains 211
species. Batter's list, of 1902, contained 747 species in his
catalogue of British marine algae.
Of the freshwater algae there are 10 taxa in the Charophyta (Charales)
recorded from Co. Antrim: Chara aspera Deth. ex Willd. var. aspera;
Chara globularis Thuill. var. globularis; Chara globularis var.
virgata (Kütz.) R.D.;Chara vulgaris L. var. vulgaris; Chara vulgaris
var. contraria (A. Braun ex Kütz.) J.A.Moore; Chara vulgaris var.
longibracteata (Kütz.) J. Groves & Bullock-Webster; Chara
vulgaris var. papillata Wallr. ex A. Braun; Nitella flexilis (L.) Ag.
var. flexilis; Nitella translucens (Pers.) C.A. Ag. and Tolypella
nidifica (O.Mull.) Leonh. var. glomerata (Desv.) R.D. Wood.
Main article: Antrim GAA
Most common surnames in
County Antrim at the time of the United
Kingdom Census of 1901, by order of incidence:
Abbeys and priories in
Northern Ireland (County Antrim)
List of townlands in County Antrim
List of civil parishes of County Antrim
Lord Lieutenant of Antrim
High Sheriff of Antrim
Wikimedia Commons has media related to County Antrim.
This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain
unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. Please help to
improve this article by introducing more precise citations. (May 2009)
(Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Bonamargy Friary Guide Department of the Environment.
^ North-South Ministerial Council: 2004 Annual Report in
Archived 2 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
^ 2008 annual report in Ulster-Scots Tourism Ireland.
^ The Ulster-Scot, June 2011 Charlie 'Tha Poocher' Rennals.
^ Postal Towns/Bailte Poist,
Northern Ireland Place-name Project.
Queen's University Belfast. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
^ "Antrim". Encyclopædia Britannica.
^ Divide the population of
County Antrim (618,108) by the area (3046
^ "Mountain Views". Simon Stewart. Retrieved 30 August 2010.
^ a b c d e f g h i One or more of the preceding
sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public
domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Antrim (county)".
Encyclopædia Britannica. 2 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
^ "About Us".
Belfast Harbour. Archived from the original on 29 May
^ Statistics from the national
Gaelscoil management body, accessed at
^ a b c d e f "Statistical classification of settlements". NI
Neighbourhood Information Service. Retrieved 23 February 2009.
^ Waddell, John (1998). The Prehistoric Archaeology of Ireland.
Galway: Galway University Press Limited. pp. 11–24.
^ O'Rahilly, Thomas F. (1946). Early Irish History and Mythology.
Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. p. 7.
^ O'Rahilly, Thomas F. (1946). Early Irish History and Mythology.
Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.
^ Benn, George (1877). A History of the Town of Belfast. Belfast:
Marcus Ward & Company. pp. 21 ff. ; Encyclopædia
Britannica (14th edition), Antrim.
^ "La Girona" (PDF). # Annual Report of the Advisory Committee on
Historic Wrecks, 2005. Advisory Committee on Historic Wreck Sites.
p. 35. Retrieved 1 November 2008.
^ a b c d Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607–1896.
Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1967.
^ Cullen, Pamela V., "A Stranger in Blood: The Case Files on Dr John
Bodkin Adams", London, Elliott & Thompson, 2006,
^ Adams, J.1907. The Seaweeds of the Antrim Coast. Scient. Pap. Ulster
Fish. Biol. Ass. Vol.1: 29 – 37
^ Batters, E.A.L. 1902. A catalogue of the British marine algae being
a list of all the species of seaweed known to occur on the shores of
the British Islands, with the localities where they are found. J.
Bot., Lond. 40 (suppl.): (2) + 107.
^ Hackney, P. ed. Stewart & Corry's Flora of the North-east of
Ireland. Third edition Institute of Irish Studies and The Queen's
University of Belfast. ISBN 0 85389 446 9
^ "Antrim Genealogy Resources & Parish Registers - Ulster".
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for County Antrim.
County Antrim at Curlie (based on DMOZ)
County Antrim in 1900
Castle FM –
County Antrim Radio Station
Northern Ireland Guide: For information and reviews for locals and
Local Antrim Guide
Places adjacent to County Antrim
Places in County Antrim
List of places in County Antrim
Glens of Antrim
Glenariff Forest Park
WikiProject Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland Portal
United Kingdom Portal
Counties and cities of Northern Ireland
Geology of Northern Ireland
Basalt columns at Giant's Causeway
Carrick a Rede
Dykes and Sills
Ring of Gullion
Hibernian Greensands Group
Marble Arch Caves
Ulster White Limestone Group
Geological faults of Northern Ireland
Counties of Ireland
The counties are listed per province
Italics denote non-administrative counties.
Brackets denote non-traditional counties.
†denotes non-administrative counties of Nort