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A haven on the east coast of County Antrim
A visit to Islandmagee is a trip back to less rushed and stressful times. A peninsula on the East Antrim coast steeped in history with cottages, rolling fields, quiet villages and spectacular coastline, it is a microcosm of the Northern Ireland countryside.
The name 'Islandmagee' hails from the Gaelic 'Oileán MhicAodha' meaning 'MacAodha's island', the clan whose home was once at Portmuck, one of three stretches of coastline and countryside on the peninsula owned and managed by the National Trust.
Portmuck itself is a beautiful harbour located on the northwest coastline and steeped in history, from the site of an ancient monastery and castle to smuggling, lime production and fishing. Now it is a centre of leisure for the community and beyond, with a picnic area and clifftop walks offering views across the Irish Sea.
Keep a eye out for Kittiwakes, Guillemots and Razorbills around the wonderful 'pig-shaped' Isle of Muck nearby.
Further to the northeast, you'll find Brown's Bay, with its sandy beach is an ideal starting point for walking to Skernaghan Point with its spectacular views of the famous Antrim coast.
To the south lie 'The Gobbins'. The name has its origins in the Gaelic 'An Gobain' and translates to 'the points of rock'. Now an ASSI, he Gobbins cliffs afford stunning panoramic views and were the site of the now derelict Gobbins cliff path, cut into the rock and comprising suspended walkways and bridges, a feat of engineering once more popular than the Giant's Causeway!
What can you see?
All of the sites on Islandmagee are ideal for spotting the plethora of seabirds and other flora and fauna that inhabit the Northern Ireland coastline. Kittiwakes, Guillemots, Fulmars, Puffins, Razorbills and even Peregrine Falcons and Owls have been seen, while Minke whales and Common seals are also visitors to the area.
There is even the tale of the Portmuck mermaid, which unfortunately turned out to be a hoax at the expense of the many visitors from Belfast and elsewhere who turned up to have a look.