Northwest of Larne lie the nine Glens of Antrim, a curious landscape in which neat seaside villages contrast vividly with the rough moorland above. Despite their proximity to the Scottish coast, the Glens were extremely isolated until the completion of the coast road in the 1830s. Their largest town is Ballycastle, which is also the departure point for the ferry to rugged Rathlin, Northern Ireland’s last inhabited offshore island, in one of whose caves Robert the Bruce of Scotland acquired a legendary lesson in patience from a spider spinning and respinning its web. The best base for exploration of the area, though, is Cushendall, a charming village 26 miles along the coast from Larne.

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