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Contae Aontroma Location
County Antrim (Contae Aontroma or simply Aontroim in Irish) is one of the six counties that form the political unit of Northern Ireland, and one of nine counties that historically and geographically constitute the Province of Ulster. It is the 9th largest of the 32 traditional Counties of Ireland in terms of area, and 2nd in terms of population behind County Dublin. Antrim is situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland. It is bounded north and east by the narrow seas separating Northern Ireland from Scotland, the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea, south by Belfast Lough and the River Lagan dividing it from County Down, south-west by Lough Neagh, dividing it from County Armagh and County Tyrone, and west by County Londonderry, the boundary with which is the River Bann. Covering an area of 2,844 km², it has a population of approximately 566,000, most of them in and around the Belfast area.
The Glens of Antrim offer isolated rugged landscapes, the Giant's Causeway is a unique landscape and a UNESCO World Heritage site, Bushmills produces legendary whiskey, and Portrush is a popular nightlife zone. The majority of the capital city of Northern Ireland, Belfast, is also in County Antrim, with the remainder being in County Down.
- 1 Geology
- 2 Transport
- 3 Population
- 4 Religion
- 5 Administration
- 6 Towns & Village
- 7 History
- 8 Notable residents
- 9 Flora and Fauna
- 10 References
- 11 See also
- 12 External links
GeologyFair Head seen from Ballycastle
A large portion of the county is hilly, especially in the east, where the highest elevations are attained, though these are nowhere great. The range runs north and south, and, following this direction the highest points are Knocklayd (1,695 feet), Slieveanorra (1,676 feet), Trostan (1,817 feet), Slemish (1,457 feet) and Divis (1,567 feet). The inland slope is gradual, but on the northern shore the range terminates in abrupt and almost perpendicular declivities, and here, consequently, some of the finest coast scenery in the world is found, widely differing, with its unbroken lines of cliffs, from the indented coast-line of the west. The most remarkable cliffs are those formed of perpendicular basaltic columns, extending for many miles, and most strikingly displayed in Fair Head and the celebrated Giant's Causeway. From the eastern coast the hills rise instantly but less abruptly, and the indentations are wider and deeper. On both coasts there are several resort towns, including Portrush (with well-known golf links), Portballintrae and Ballycastle; on the east Cushendun, Cushendall and Milltown on Red Bay, Carnlough and Glenarm, Larne, and Whitehead on Belfast Lough. All are somewhat exposed to the easterly winds prevalent in spring. The only island of size is Rathlin Island, off Ballycastle, 6½ miles in length by 1½ in breadth, 7 miles from the coast, and of similar basaltic and limestone formation to that of the mainland. It is partially arable, and supports a small population. Islandmagee is in fact a peninsula separating Larne Lough from the North Channel.
The valleys of the Bann and Lagan, with the intervening shores of Lough Neagh, form the fertile lowlands. These two rivers, both rising in County Down, are the only ones of importance. The latter flows to Belfast Lough, the former drains Lough Neagh, which is fed by a number of smaller streams. The fisheries of the Bann and of Lough Neagh (especially for salmon and eels) are of value both commercially and to sportsmen, the small town of Toome, at the outflow of the river, being the centre. Immediately below this point lies Lough Beg, the "Small Lake," about 15 feet lower than Lough Neagh.
County Antrim has a number of important air, rail and sea links.
Northern Ireland's main Airport, Belfast International Airport, at Aldergrove is in County Antrim. Belfast International shares its runways with the Royal Air Force base RAF Aldergrove, which otherwise has its own facilities. It is the fifth largest regional air cargo centre in the UK. There are regular services to Great Britain, Europe and North America.
(The region is also served by George Best Belfast City Airport, two kilometres east of Belfast city centre on the Co. Down side of the city, which was renamed in 2006 in honour of footballer George Best.)
The main Translink Northern Ireland Railways routes are the major line between Belfast, Antrim, Ballymena, Coleraine and Londonderry, Belfast to Carrickfergus and Larne, the port for Stranraer in Scotland and Coleraine to Portrush.
- Railway Stations in County Antrim
The Port of Belfast is Northern Ireland's principal maritime gateway, serving the Northern Ireland economy and increasingly that of the Republic of Ireland. It is a major centre of industry and commerce and has become established as the focus of logistics activity for Northern Ireland. Around two thirds of Northern Ireland's seaborne trade, and a quarter of that for Ireland as a whole, is handled at the port which receives over 9000 vessels each year.
The population of County Antrim is 566,000 (estimate). It is one of only two historic counties of Northern Ireland to presently have a majority of the population from a Protestant community background, according to the 2001 census. The other is County Down.
Presbyterianism is the largest religious denomination, followed by Catholicism and Anglicanism. County Antrim is one of two counties in Ireland in which the majority of people are Protestant (the other being Down). The strong Presbyterian presence in the county is due largely to the county's historical links with Scotland.
The traditional county town is Antrim. More recently, Ballymena was the seat of county government. (The counties of Northern Ireland ceased to be administrative entities in the 1970s, with the reorganization of local government.)
In Northern Ireland the county structure is no longer used in local government. Northern Ireland is split into districts. Those in County Antrim are administered by the following nine councils:
- Antrim Borough Council
- Ballymena Borough Council
- Ballymoney Borough Council
- Belfast City Council
- Carrickfergus Borough Council
- Larne Borough Council
- Lisburn City Council
- Moyle District Council
- Newtownabbey Borough Council
Parts of the following constituencies are also in County Antrim:
Towns & Village
- Junction one,
- White abbey
At what date the county of Antrim was formed is not known, but it appears that a certain district bore this name before the reign of Edward II (early 14th century), and when the shiring of Ulster was undertaken by Sir John Perrot in the 16th century, Antrim and Down were already recognized divisions, in contradistinction to the remainder of the province. The earliest known inhabitants were of Celtic origin, and the names of the townlands or subdivisions, supposed to have been made in the 13th century, are all of Gaelic derivation. Antrim was exposed to the inroads of the Danes, and also of the northern Scots, who ultimately effected permanent settlements. In ancient times, it was inhabited by a Celtic people called the Darini. In the early Middle Ages, southern County Antrim was part of the Kingdom of Ulidia, ruled by the Dál Fiatach clans O'Haughey/O'Hoey and MacDonlevy/McDunlavey; the north was part of Dal Riada, which stretched into western Scotland over the Irish Sea. Dal Riada was ruled by the O'Lynch clan, who were vassals of the Ulidians. Besides the Ulidians and Dal Riada, there were the Dal nAraide of lower County Antrim, and the Cruithne, who were not Gaelic Celts but Picts. In the late Middle Ages, it was divided into three parts: northern Clandeboy, the Glynnes and the Route. The Cambro-Norman MacQuillans were powerful in the Route. A branch of the O'Neills of Tyrone migrated to Clandeboy in the 1300s, and ruled it for a time. Their family was called O'Neill Clannaboy. A galloglass sept, the MacDonnells, became the most powerful in the Glynnes in the 1400s.
Antrim is divided into 16 baronies. Lower Antrim, part of Lower Clandeboy, was settled by the sept O'Flynn/O'Lynn. Upper Antrim, part of Lower Clandeboy, was the home of the O'Keevans. Belfast was part of Lower Clandeboy and was held by the O'Neill-Clannaboys. Lower Belfast, Upper Belfast, and Carrickfergus were also part of Lower Clandeboy. Cary was part of the Glynnes; ruled originally by the O'Quinn sept, the MacDonnell galloglasses from Scotland took power here in the late Middle Ages and some of the O'Haras also migrated from Connaught. Upper and Lower Dunluce were part of the Route, and were ruled by the MacQuillans. Upper and Lower Glenarm was ruled by the O'Flynn/O'Lynn sept, considered part of the Glynns. In addition to that sept and that of O'Quinn, both of which were native, the Scottish gallowglass septs of MacKeown, MacAlister, and MacGee, are found there. Kilconway was originally O'Flynn/O'Lynn territory, but was held by the MacQuillans as part of the Route, and later by the gallowglass sept of MacNeill. Lower Massereene was part of Lower Clandeboy and was ruled by the O'Flynns and the O'Heircs. Upper Massereene was part of Lower Clandeboy, ruled by the O'Heircs. Upper and Lower Toome, part of the Route, were O'Flynn/O'Lynn territory. Misc was first ruled by the MacQuillans. Later, the Scottish gallowglass MacDonnells and MacAlisters invaded. The MacDonnells were a branch of the Scottish Clan MacDonald; the MacAlisters traced their origin back to the Irish Colla Uais, eldest of the Three Collas. Islandmagee had, besides antiquarian remains, a notoriety as a home of witchcraft, and was the scene of an act of reprisal against the Catholic population during the Irish Rebellion of 1641 for the massacre of Protestants, by the Scottish Covenanter soldiery of Carrickfergus.
Historic MonumentsDunluce Castle.
The antiquities of the county consist of cairns, mounts or forts, remains of ecclesiastical and military structures, and round towers. The principal cairns are: one on Colin mountain, near Lisburn; one on Slieve True, near Carrickfergus; and two on Colinward. The cromlechs most worthy of notice are: one near Cairngrainey, to the north-east of the old road from Belfast to Templepatrick; the large cromlech at Mount Druid, near Ballintoy; and one at the northern extremity of Islandmagee. The mounts, forts and entrenchments are very numerous.
There are three round towers: one at Antrim, one at Armoy, and one on Ram Island in Lough Neagh, only that at Antrim being perfect. There are some remains of the ecclesiastic establishments at Bonamargy, where the earls of Antrim are buried, Kells, Glenarm, Glynn, Muckamore and Whiteabbey.
The noble castle of Carrickfergus is the only one in perfect preservation. There are, however, remains of other ancient castles, as Olderfleet, Cam's, Shane's, Glenarm, Garron Tower and Red Bay, but the most interesting of all is Dunluce Castle, remarkable for its great extent and romantic situation.
Slemish, about 8 miles east of Ballymena, is notable as being the scene of St Patrick's early life. According to tradition Saint Patrick was a slave for seven years, near the hill of Slemish, until he escaped back to Great Britain.
Linen manufacturing was previously an important industry in the County. At the time Ireland produced a large mount of flax. Cotton-spinning by jennies was first introduced by to Belfast by industrialists Robert Joy and Thomas M'Cabe in 1777; an Twenty-three years later it was estimated that more than 27,000 people were employed in the industry within 10 miles of Belfast. Women were employed in the working of patterns on muslin.
- James Adair, (1709-1783), born in County Antrim, explorer, trader, and historian
- John Bodkin Adams, (1899-1983), general practitioner born in Randalstown and suspected of killing 163 patients while practising in Eastbourne, England.
- William Arthur, (1797-1875), born in Ballymena, noted antiquitarian and Baptist clergyman in the United States.
- Eva McGown, (1883-1972), chorister, pioneer, and hostess in Alaska
- John O'Kane Murray, (1847-1885), born in Antrim, physician and noted author.
Flora and Fauna
Records of the seaweeds of Co. Antrim were brought together and published in 1907 by J. Adams  who notes that the list contains 211 species. Batter's list, of 1902, contained 747 species from the British Isles and Channel Islands.
- This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.
- ^ Cullen, Pamela V., "A Stranger in Blood: The Case Files on Dr John Bodkin Adams", London, Elliott & Thompson, 2006, ISBN 1-904027-19-9
- ^ Adams, J. 1907. The Seaweeds of the Antrim Coast. Scient. Pap. Ulster Fish. Biol. Ass. Vol.1: 29 - 37
- ^ Batters, E.A.L. 1902. A catalogue of the British marine algae being a list of all the species of seaweed known to occur on the shores of the British Islands, with the localities where they are found. J. Bot., Lond. 40 (suppl.): (2) + 107.
- County Antrim in 1900
- Castle FM - County Antrim Radio Station
- The Northern Ireland Guide: For information and reviews for locals and tourists alike
- Local Antrim Guide
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