This is a scenic walk around the head of Glenariff passing several of its famous waterfalls. Descending the eastern side of the glen the route follows the Glenariff River down to the pleasant town of Cushendall.
Starting at the entrance to the Glenariff Forest Park the path climbs up to follow the scenic Waterfall Walkway. Leading around the head of the Glen and past some of the famous waterfalls the route then descends steeply to the valley floor. From here the path runs alongside the Glenariff River to finish in the centre of Cushendall.
This is a great little walk with splendid views down the spectacular Glenariff to the coast. There are plenty of waterfalls cascading down the side of the Antrim plateau so take time to enjoy the experience. The National Nature Reserve is home to the native red squirrel so keep a look out.
The only parts of the walk today where you might encounter traffic are the road sections at the entrance to and leaving Glenariff Forest Park and arriving into Cushendallat the end. There is one steep descent down the side of Glenariff which might be tricky in wet weather. The stone steps in particular may be slippy so take extra care.
The small town of Ballycastle has a number of shops, cafes, restaurants and bars where you can stock up with food and drink. There are also supermarkets, banks and cash machines, pharmacies and a tourist information centre at the harbour. Most of the amenities are actually in the town centre although there are a few in the harbour area. There is one opportunity for refreshments on today’s walk at Laragh Lodge as you leave the Forest Park, but opening times may vary. Apart from here there is nothing until arrival in Cushendall.
Points of Interest
Meaning the “valley of the ploughman”, it is sometimes called the Queen of the Glens. Shaped by glacial action during the last Ice Age, it is the largest and most visited of all the nine Glens.
Glenariff Forest Park
A beautiful scenic area with a unique three mile Waterfall Walkway opened almost 80 years ago. There is also a small visitor exhibition centre as well as a National Nature Reserve.
Red Bay Castle
Situated on a headland above Red Arch are the remains of Red Bay Castle, also known locally as McQuillan’s Fort. The McQuillans at one time held the power in parts of the Glens. The castle was destroyed during Oliver Cromwell’s military campaign in 1652.
A conservation town known locally as the “Capital of the Glens” situated at the foot of Lurigethan Mountain. The Curfew Tower is a prominent feature in the centre of the town built in 1817 by Francis Townly.
Good boots or walking shoes are recommended as the terrain is variable on this walk. However the paths in the forest park are very good. Walking poles can be carried if you prefer as there is a fairly steep descent one section down the side of Glenariff .
Irish weather can be unpredictable and also wet so it is important to be prepared at all times. Waterproofs should be carried as well as a hat and gloves and maybe an extra layer just in case. In the summer sunscreen is also recommended and maybe insect repellent.