Rathlin is a boot shaped limestone and basalt Island six miles off the coast from Ballycastle in the North East of County Antrim, Northern Ireland and 16 miles West from the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland.
Surrounded by precipitous cliffs, ever pounded by relentless waves, the Island has three impressive lighthouses. In testament the the power of the Sea, off this small coastline lies the wrecks of 40 shipping vessels making the area very popular with the diving fraternity who regularly explore them, the submarine caves and underwater life.
Northern Ireland’s largest Bird Sanctuary is on the Island it is of significant importance worldwide and is managed by The RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds).
The Island did not have grid electricity until 1992, power on the Island is now provided by two of three Wind Turbines collectively named the Children of Lir.
The highest population was nearly 1200 people in the 1780’s there are just over 80 residents today. Unlike other rural areas in Ireland and Scotland the Rathlin Islanders, by tradition, live in near isolation from each other rather than in communities. There are two churches on the Island, a bar and restaurant, a couple of Guest Houses and a Hostel.
There are regular ferry services to and from the Island and Ballycastle. Some services may be interrupted due to bad weather.