Rathlin Island Roonivoolin Walk

(3 reviews)

Take the route less travelled on Rathlin Island and venture south to the RSPB Roonivoolin Reserve. Amazing views of the coastline can be enjoyed as well as wildlife such as seals, irish hare and curlew.

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Rathlin Island Roonivoolin Walk

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  • Lovely easy walk with varied tranquil countryside. Straight forward to follow and interesting all the way. Another glorious Northern Irish walk!

    Emma Bryant at 9:35 pm
  • Walked this with 3 children aged 11, 8 and 4 and they managed well. The way markers are good and there were so many more seals at the bay at this quieter end of the island than in Church Bay! There are some picnic tables by Ushet Lough which were perfect for a lunch break. Definitely the road less travelled – we saw 3 other families the whole morning.

    @dayoffdanders at 9:18 pm
  • One of the most beautiful and best birding spots I have ever been to. I loved it so much I spent a week on the island but wished I had spent longer!

    Antonio Salvadori at 7:49 pm
  • County Antrim

    Distance 4.8 miles

    OS Map 5

    Terrain Tarmaced laneway and open fields

    Nearest Town Rathlin Village

    Route Shape Circular

    Grid Reference D147 510

    Route Type Beach, Coastal, Lakeland

    Route Description

    The route begins at Rathlin Harbour. Follow the Shore Road to the right past the Manor House. Continue following the road past Church Bay, the disused Kelp Kiln and Mill Bay. At the end of Mill Bay, bear left to rejoin the straight tarmaced road leading south on the peninsula. Turn right onto this road and continue walking for 500m to meet Craigmacaghan Lough. Follow the route for another 800 metres, where on your right you should come across a wooden gate and a RSPB information panel highlighting the Roonivoolin Reserve. Go through the gate and follow the wooden way markers past Ally Lough on the right and Ushet Lough on the left. Continue following the wooden way markers across the open field, arriving at the fence along the cliff tops. From here stunning views of the cliffs, Church Bay and the Northern Irish coastline can be enjoyed. Continue following the fence in a southerly direction for 700m, to bear left along a fence to bring you back to the tarmac path. Land between the clifftop path and Rue Point Lighthouse is private, if you wish to continue to the lighthouse, follow the tarmac path in a southerly direction to reach the disused Kelp Kiln and the lighthouse. The route back to the harbour follows the tarmac path.

    Point of Interest

    Church Bay, Mill Bay, Craigmacaghan Lough, Ushet Lough, Rue Point

    Getting to the start

    Rathlin Ferries – www.rathlinballycastleferry.com or 028 2076 9299

    Public transport

    Translink – journeyplanner.translink.co.uk

    Dog Policy

    Dogs must be kept on a lead.


    Cafe, restaurant, public toilets and B + B’s are all available at Rathlin Harbour. The following facilities are available for users with limited mobility: – Café (wheelchair accessible) – May to October – Shop – Visitors Centre – May to Sept at Rathlin Harbour – Disabled toilets

    Accessibility Grade

    Grade 5

    • There may not be a formalised path, and variable, single file trails are to be expected.
    • Gradients and cross slope could be expected to be steep and not limited.
    • Obstacles and surface breaks of greater than 75mm measured across the line of the path to be expected.
    • Overhanging branches are possible. Passing places and rest areas may not be formalised or provided.