Causeway Coastal Route - One of the world's great road journeys

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myths & legend...

St Patrick once tended sheep in these very hills.  This is the home of the Children of Lir … of the giant Finn McCool and of the leaping dog who jumped from a mountain side to warn his Celtic master of enemy ambush.    Spirited stories are handed down through the ages with, it sometimes seems, every house of importance boasting its own ghost.  One hotel is so pleased with its ghost that the spirit even has its own room!
Story telling isn’t confined to traditional tales, for in almost every pub you’ll someone ready to spin a yarn to an appreciative audience!  Perhaps its something in our water... or it could be that it’s the local whiskey (from the oldest whiskey distillery in the world) which prompts spirited tales!

The Giant's Causeway

Finn McCool

The legend tells us that the Irish Giant Finn McCool had a rival - a Scottish giant named Benandonner. Finn McCool decided to build a causeway to Scotland so that he could challenge his adversary in battle. When the work was completed, the causeway stretched from North Antrim to Staffa.

Bennandonner accepted the invitation to walk over to Ireland and fight for supremacy. As Benandonner appeared over the horizon, Finn McCool realised in horror that he had taken on a rival much bigger than himself. He ran home to his wife, Oonagh. What to do?
The quick thinking Oonagh disguised Finn as a baby and made him curl up in an enormous cradle. Benandonner - faced with the sight of this huge ‘child’ took fright at the thought of the size of his father and fled back to Scotland tearing up the causeway in his wake.

Ballygally Castle Hotel

Ballygally Castle Hotel Ghost

Every castle has to have a ghost of some kind, and the ghost of Ballygally has been around for the best part of 400 years! The popular theory is that the ghost is that of Lady Isobella Shaw, wife of Lord James Shaw. Lord Shaw wanted a son, and when his wife delivered his heir, he snatched the baby from his wife and locked her in a room at the top of the castle. While trying to escape to search for her beloved child, Lady Isobella fell to her death from the tower window! Another theory is that she was actually thrown from the window by the cruel Lord Shaw or one of his henchmen!

Lady Isobella’s ghost is reputed to be a “friendly” spirit who walks the corridors of the old castle. Over the years many guests have reported strange experiences and have felt a presence in their rooms! There are also endless stories of unexplained noises in the night, and an eerie green mist over the castle!
The hotel is so fiercely proud of their permanent resident they have even given her her own bedroom, “The Ghost Room” in one of the towers in the oldest part of the castle.

[ Click here for more details on Ballygally Castle Hotel ]

Saint Patrick

Saint Patrick

Patrick was brought to Ireland as a slave and taken to County Antrim where he was sold to a local landowner, Meliuc, who put him to work as a shepherd. For six long years Patrick lived upon Slemish mountain, Ballymena with only his sheep for company. The land was bleak and the conditions harsh but Patrick found solace in the faith that his people had abandoned.

One night he heard a voice calling to him, telling him that the time had come to escape. It told him, “See, your ship is ready.” Patrick knew that he had to travel south to seek the ship God had told him of. He travelled for 200 miles until he came to Wexford where, sure enough, a boat heading for Britain was waiting.

The Children of Lir

Children of Lir

Children of Lir is a tragic story. Lir was a famous Irish Chieftain whose wife died after giving him a daughter and three sons. He then married his dead wife’s evil half-sister. She cast a spell on the children turning them into beautiful white swans, destined to spend nine hundred years in exile.

Three hundred of these years passed here, on the Waters of Moyle, and the birds’ lonely cries were heard about the bay. Finally, their sentence expired and they changed instantly into old people. Old and weak, they were baptised and died together. There is a local belief that it was to a little port on the Sea of Moyle that the children returned when their ordeal was over.

The Leap of the Dog

The Leap of The Dog

Limavady derives its name from the Irish “Leim an Mhadaidh” meaning leap of the dog, arising from the legendary leap over the River Roe by a dog owned by the O’Cahan Clan to warn the chieftans of an enemy ambush. The jump took place from the Dogleap Bridge, in the Roe Valley Country Park, where the site of the O’Cahan’s castle once stood.