Larne is a town and port in County Antrim.
Larne town is a small seaport town on the East Antrim coast. It is the Gateway to the Glens of Antrim along the famous East Antrim Coastal route to the North Coast of Northern Ireland. Larne takes its name from Latharna, a Gaelic territory or túath that was part of the Ulaid minor-kingdom of Dál nAraidi. Latharna itself means "descendants of Lathar", with Lathar according to legend being a son of the pre-Christian king Úgaine Mór. The town was once a central tourist hub where many visitors would get off the boat and then take trips up the East Antrim coast. During the 1960’s and 70’s Larne had many hotels and bars including the Latharna Hotel and the Kings Arms. Unfortunately Larne no longer has many of those old historic buildings but recently Larne has been undergoing a lot of development including a new town centre, new stands at Larne Football Club Inver Park, new hotel in the town centre and more. The town has also been highly commended by The Great British High Street organisation in 2018 and the area is becoming more desirable as a place to live and work because of the large amount of community development activities being done by community groups and Mid and East Antrim Council. This includes artistic murals in the town centre, temporary art exhibitions like the Umbrella Street, Café Culture nights, and events like The Goodwill Music Festival, Larne Civic Parade and more.
Belfast is less than an hour away by Bus, Car or Train so Larne is an easy location to visit and explore for a day trip, weekend or more. Come and visit the beautiful and award winning Carnfunnock Country Park, take in the views from Larne Town Park and visit the many local independent cafes and shops in the town centre.
Larne is an important passenger and vehicle ferry port and is served by ferries from Cairnryan in Scotland.
The A8 road connects Larne to Belfast and takes between 30minutes and an hour depending on traffic. It also passes by some local scenic villages/hamlets in the Larne area including Glenoe, Ballynure and Kilwaughter. A more scenic alternative is the A2 Antrim Coast Road.
Larne has 2 railway stations, Larne Town and Larne Harbour, both of which are on the Belfast to Larne Railway Line. The train takes approximately an hour to get from Belfast to Larne and vice versa. The train ride takes in views of Larne Lough and Belfast Lough and stops at many nice locations on the way including the Glynn, Whitehead, Carrickfergus, Jordanstown and Belfast.
Larne Town is only 45 minutes away from both Belfast City Airport and Belfast International Airport.
- Larne Town Park: Old Glenarm Road. The park is situated about 5 minutes walk from Larne Town Centre and also the Larne Train Station. The park looks out towards the Irish Sea and on a clear day you can get great views of Scotland, Islandmagee and the Chaine Memorial Tower. The park is paved and has a children’s play park, tennis courts, picnic areas and tennis courts.
- Carnfunnock Country Park: Coast Road. Located within a large 191 hectare country park, Carnfunnock Caravan Park sits on the spectacular Antrim coastline making it an ideal spot to set up base, while exploring the area. The caravan park has 31 hard standing touring pitches in an area surrounded by mature trees and manicured gardens. Carnfunnock is a great park for families.
- Chaine Memorial Tower: Chaine Memorial Road. The structure is both a working lighthouse and a memorial tower. Officially called the Chaine Memorial Tower, it honors James Chaine, a local businessman and politician who was key in developing the Port of Larne and the town itself.
- Ballyboley Forest: Upper Ballyboley Road. The forest is sited upon an old ancient Druid rituals and sacrifices site on the Ballyboley Road which links Larne town with Ballymena in Mid Antrim. The forest service planted many of the trees back in 1957 when it officially became a commercial forest for timber, but there is much more interesting history to this area which goes back centuries. It is said that the forest has been the location of many disappearances of people throughout the centuries and other such instances of shadowy figures and strange noises being reported. In fact in recent history back in 1994 and also in 1997 there were reports of strange moaning noises, hooded human figures and also blood smeared onto the trunks of trees. Other stories include strange ape like creatures and also animal squealing sounds as if an abattoir was close by have also be reported in its recent history. Locals say that the forest contains a gateway to the other-side known as “The Otherworld”. This forest contains many stories, unnatural features and various superstitions which help make it one of the most hunted places in Northern Ireland.
- Larne Promenade: Tower Road. The Promenade is next to Larne Town Park and is a great place for walking and sea views.
- Glenoe Waterfall: Waterfall Road. Within the quiet little hamlet village of Glenoe sits this lovely picturesque waterfall and hill trail. Glenoe village derives its name from the Irish name “Gleann Eo” which translates as “The Valley of the Yew”. The waterfall is an area owned by the National Trust and is definitely one of the hidden treasures of east Antrim. It is also where any tour of the Glens of Antrim should begin from as you leave Larne Town (The Gateway to the Glens of Antrim) onwards towards the north coast following the east Antrim Coast Road through the many other Glens of Antrim.
- Ballygally Beach: Coast Road. Situated in Ballygally village, this sandy beach is just next to the Ballygally Castle Hotel.
- Drain’s Bay: Coast Road. 5 Minutes drive from Larne Town is a small rock and sandy beach. There are public toilets, picnic areas and Carnfunnock Country Park is within walking distance from the beach.
- Larne Town Centre Murals: Main Street, Larne. There are two main murals on Main Street, one depicting Henry McNeill who is considered a father of tourism in this area and the other is of Richard Hayward a famous actor, artist and poet who grew up in Larne. There are also many other small pieces of street art across the town centre to look out for.
- The Black Arch and Devils Churn: Coast Road. Blackcave Tunnel, or “The Black Arch” as it is known as by most local people, sits at the start of the legendary Antrim Coast Road, which winds through picturesque scenery and charming towns and villages. The road was built in the 19th century by a local civil engineer called William Bald, whose task was to link the many small communities within the Glens of Antrim with the main towns in the area. He managed to blast many cubic tonnes of rock away from the coast to create the route and many archways along the way. The Black Arch is one of them. Next to the Black Arch, there are two strangely shaped large rocks sticking out from the ocean, and a small cave entrance with a staircase that takes you beyond the seawall and closer to the lapping waves of the sea. This strange creation is called the “Devil’s Churn,” and is one of Larne’s most famous haunted tales. The story goes that one night a drunken piper went into the rocky opening and never returned. Apparently as the clocks strike midnight, you can hear him playing his pipes under the hearthstone of a house in Ballycraigy area of Larne, where the cavern is supposed to exist. It is called the Devil’s Churn due the old hand churn-like sounds the lapping waves produce moving between the rocks and the cave.
The climate in Larne is best described as warm and temperate. The overall average temperature for the area is 8.6 °C. Precipitation here averages 1061 mm. The driest month is April and the greatest levels of precipitation in December. The average temperature for summer time is around 14.3 °C.
- Larne Football Club: Inver Road, Larne. Home of the Red and White Army. The team is one of the few full-time teams in the Irish League.
- Larne Museum and Arts Centre: Victoria Road, Larne. This small museum is home to many interesting facts about the town and its history.
- Carnlough Boat Tours: Carnlough Harbour. Boat tours along the East Antrim Coast line and even trips to the Maidens.
- Larne Rugby Club: Shore Road, Glynn. Larne Rugby club is located in Glynn village and has a number of senior and junior teams.
- Q Club: Off Point Street, Larne. Snooker Club.
- Show at Larne McNeill Theatre: 28-30 Tower Road, Larne. The McNeill Theatre is within the Larne Leisure Centre and puts on many shows during the year including Northern Irish comedy like “Give My Head Peace” and musicals.
- Larne Civic Parade: On the 1st weekend in June Larne Town Centre is closed for a few hours for the annual Civic Parade where the whole town gets involved in celebrating their love for the area.
- The Goodwill Music Festival: On the 2nd weekend in May Larne Town puts on a music festival like no other. The music festival occurs over a number of days and celebrates the Irish immigration taken in the 18th and 19th centuries to the promise land of America. There is plenty of local artist on show and some national ones as well.
- Pop-Up Emporium Christmas Twilight Market: Occurs yearly in early December at the Larne Market Yard. This market is different from most others with live music and lots of local independent crafts, artisans, food, drink and other businesses involved.
- Halloween at Carnfunnock: Hallloween weekend. In Carnfunnock Country Park there is lots of Halloween activities and scary trails to do, as well as Pop-up cinemas and food and drink stalls.
- Broadisland Gathering: Occurs in early/mid-September in the village of Ballycarry. It celebrates Northern Ireland’s connection with Scotland and the Ulster Scots culture. There is usually a parade and lots of family fun activities.
- Carnlough New Year’s Dip: On New Years’ Day in Carnlough people dress up and jump off the Carnlough pier into the harbour waters.
- Dalriada Festival, Glenarm: In July Glenarm Castle Estate puts on the biggest celebration in the Glens of Antrim with music, family fun, strong man competitions, wife carrying races, food and drink and much more.
- Larne Half Marathon: The annual half marathon takes place mid-March and is one of the most popular half marathons in the Northern Ireland with most of the route taking place on the famous East Antrim Coast Road.
- Mounthill Fair: This small farmer’s fair occurs in early October and is just outside Larne in the Glenoe village area and it celebrates our connection to the countryside and farming. It has petting zoos, horse riding, and food and drink stalls for all the family.
- Ballynature Day: This event occurs on the last weekend in February in Ballynure village just outside Larne. It is a massive celebration of nature, wildlife and conservation with lots of exhibitions and talks on from nature charities and community groups. There is also activities like treasure trails, petting zoos and magic.
- Jubilee Biobiltz: The Jubilee Biobiltz occurs in late June over two days at Jubilee Community Farm on the foothills of Glynn Village just outside Larne town. The event has lots of exhibitions and talks about wildlife and conservation. The main activity for the event however is collecting data on what sort of wildlife is in the area, so grab a ID book and start identifying the species in the area.
Larne is full of many local independent businesses as well as national brands within the main shopping town centre area. There is a variety of shops including fruit and veg, butchers, clothes shops, souvenir shops, pet shops, and many more.
Here is a selection of some of the local independent shops you will find on Larne Main Street:
• Wear It Out: 59 Main Street, Larne. BT40 1JE. 02828272277. Outdoor clothing.
• CS Sports: 50 Main Street, Larne. BT40 1SP. 02828260181. Sports.
• SD Kells: 9 Main Street, Larne. BT40 1JQ. 02828260817. Clothes and tailoring.
• Hannah K Footwear & Handbags: 8 Main Street, Larne. BT40 1JP. Footwear and Handbags.
• Save Point: 39 Point Street, Larne. BT40 1HU. 02828328200. Video Games.
• Mrs Bubbles: 5 Riverdale, Larne. BT40 1LB. Soaps and Bath Products.
• The Book Nook: 96C Main Street, Larne. BT40 1RE. 02828260395. Tourist Shop
• Just Active: 120-122 Main Street, Larne. 02828268000. Gym
Larne town is well known for all the local independent eateries and cafes in the town centre, as well as many restaurants, and takeaway chip shops and more. Here is a selection of some of the best:
- The Coffee Doc, 21-29 Lower Cross Road, Larne. BT40 1JW., ☎ 02828277722.. edit
- Billy Andy’s, 66 Browndod Road, Larne. BT40 3DX., ☎ 02828270648.. edit
- Matties Meeting House, 120 Brustin Brae Road, Larne. BT40 2RL., ☎ 02828583252.. edit
- Steady Eddies Noodle Bar, 58C Main Street, Larne. BT40 1JE.. edit
- Ann’s Pantry, 64 Main Street, Larne. BT40 1SP., ☎ 02828260474.. edit
- The Silver Lounge, 126 Main Street, Larne. BT40 1RG, ☎ 02828260040.. edit
- The Dairy, 5 Waterfall Road, Larne. BT40 3LE.. edit
- Duos, 4 High Street, Larne. BT40 1JN., ☎ 02828278712.. edit
- The Station, 43 Station Road, Larne. BT40 3AA., ☎ 02828273360.. edit
- The Prom Café, 28-30 Tower Road, Larne. BT40 1AB., ☎ 02828274662.. edit
There is a number of pubs and wine bars where you can get a drink and a meal while in the Larne area.
• Ruby’s Bar: Old Glenarm Road, Larne. 02828260924
• Chekkers Wine Bar: Lower Cross Street, Larne. 02828275305
• The Olderfleet Bar: Fleet Street, Larne. 02828272007
• La Bodega: Point Street Larne. 02828277933
• Ballygally Castle Hotel: Coast Road, Ballygally. 02828581066.
• Matties Meeting House: Cairncastle. 02828583252
• Billy Andy’s: 66 Browndod Road, Larne. 02828270648.
• Inver Red and White Supporters Club: 4 Station Road, Larne. 02828274292.
There are a number of hotels, B&Bs, Holiday Apartments and AirBnB’s you can stay in the Larne area. Here is just a selection of places you can stay:
• Curran Court Hotel, Larne: 02828275505
• Ballygally Castle Hotel: 02828581066
• Ballygally Holiday Apartments: 02828583061
• Whitecliff Inn, Whitehead: 028933788309
• Harbour Inn B&B, Larne: 02828272400
• Lyndenheights On-Sea B&B: 02828583560
• Derrin B&B: 02828273269
• Ballygally Half Way House: 02828583265
• Billy Andy’s B&B: 02828270648
Contact Mid and East Antrim Council or Discover Northern Ireland for advice on where to stay and visit.
Crime is very low in the Larne area compared to other towns and cities in Northern Ireland, but anti-social behaviour can be a problem at times. Areas that can be dodgy or precarious at times at night time are under the flyover/carriageway, Larne Town park and the Laharna Retail Park to Main Street enclosed alleyway. Remember to always take sensible precautions such as utilise local taxi companies to get from one location to the next, stay in groups if possible and make sure you have somewhere to stay for the night.