Fairhead

Ballycastle’s most outstanding landmark

Ballycastle’s most outstanding landmark, the headland of Fairhead rises 196m out of the bay. Wild goats can be seen roaming among the rocks beneath the clifftops, where a walkway called ‘The Grey Man’s Path’ winds around the rugged coastline. From the road, a manmade Iron Age island or crannog can be seen in the middle of a large lake. The lakes are stocked with trout and can be fished during the summer months.

According to legend, Fairhead got its name from a curious tale. A beautiful fair-headed girl once lived in a castle on Rathlin Island. She had many suitors, leading to a fight between two of them. One was mortally wounded and, as he lay dying, whispered to his servant to dance with the girl on the cliffs below the castle. The faithful servant obeyed, and danced nearer and nearer the edge of the cliff until they both fell over and died. The spot on the mainland where the girl’s body was washed up was from then on known as ‘Fairhead’.

© Danny Carson 2004

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