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The Glens of Antrim

Along the north coast of northern Ireland lie the nine Glens of Antrim. Woods, waterfalls and riverside paths await.

Each of these nine green valleys has its own character. The physical remoteness and intimacy with natural rugged beauty have left the Glens with stories of Irish myth and legend. Rivers divide the land from west to east and the road from Cushendun to Ballycastle is said to have crossed ‘the vanishing lake’ known as Loughareerma. Today it could be empty and tomorrow full of water! Legend has it horses pulling their coaches would gallop into this lake and hence their watery grave, taking their passengers with them.

Those living there are descendants of both the ancient Irish and their cousins the Hebridean Scots just across the Sea of Moyle. The Glens were one of the last places in Northern Ireland where Gaelic was spoken as a common language. The names of the glens from south to north are; Glenarm, Glencloy, Glenariff, Glenballyeamon, Glenaan, Glencorp, Glendun, Glenshesk and Glentaisie.

Their meanings of the names are unknown but the translations are similar to: glen of the army, glen of the hedges, ploughman’s glen, Edwardstown glen, glen of the rush lights, glen of the slaughter, brown glen, sedgy glen, and Taisie’s glen. Legend has it that Taisie was a princess who livened on Rathlin Island some 6 miles of the coast. Rathlin is Northern Ireland’s last inhabited offshore island, and it said that it was in one of the caves there that Robert the Bruce of Scotland received his renowned lesson in patience from a spider spinning and re-spinning its web.

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