Glens of Antrim

The Glens of Antrim,[1] known locally as simply The Glens, is a region of County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It comprises nine glens (valleys), that radiate from the Antrim Plateau to the coast. The Glens are an area of outstanding natural beauty and are a major tourist attraction in north Antrim.

The main towns and villages in the Glens are Ballycastle, Cushendun, Cushendall, Waterfoot, Carnlough and Glenarm.

The Lordship of The Glens

From the mid-13th century, the Lordship of The Glens first belonged to the Scoto-Irish the Norman Bissett family. In the mid-16th century it came into the ownership of the MacDonnells of Antrim.

Table of the nine glen's information

The nine glens from northernmost to southernmost are:

Irish name Meaning Ref
Glentaisie Gleann Taise Taise's valley/damp valley [1][2]
Glenshesk Gleann Seisc barren valley [1]
Glendun Gleann Doinne valley of the [river] Dun [1][2]
Glencorp Gleann Corp valley of the body [1]
Glenaan Gleann Athain valley of the burial chamber [2][3]
Glenballyeamon Gleann Bhaile Uí Dhíomáin
Gleann Bhaile Éamainn
valley of Ó Díomáin's town
valley of Éamonn's town
Glenariff Gleann Aireamh valley of the ploughman/arable valley [1][3]
Glencloy Gleann Claidheamh valley of the sword [1]
Glenarm Gleann Arma valley of the army [1][3]

Tenth glen

Glenravel is sometimes considered a tenth glen. It lies to the southwest of Glenballyeamon and Glenariff, being separated from the latter by the Glenariff forest park.

The main settlements of Glenravel are Cargan, Martinstown and Skerry (Newtowncrommelin).


In the Glens there is evidence of Neolithic communities. At Glencloy, Neolithic people had megalithic tombs in the uplands, while they lived in settlements near the coast at the end of the valley. The beaches were sources of flint, as evidenced by stone tool (lithic) production sites in the glens.

At Madman's Window (near Glenarm) Neolithic chipping floors and stone axe rough-outs were found along with Neolithic pottery, scrapers, flakes, and leaf-shaped arrowheads. At Bay Farm in Carnlough, a Neolithic site near marshland, archaeologists found occupation debris, charcoal, postholes, flint cores, axes and Neolithic pottery.[4]

The Glens are mentioned in the song "Ireland's Call". DI Sean Duffy, in the Troubles mysteries by Adrian McKinty, is from the Glens.

See also


  1. (Placenames Database of Ireland)
  2. Moyle District Council Area, Northern Ireland Place-Name Project, Queen's University Belfast
  3. Place Names NI Archived October 1, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  4. O'Sullivan, Aidan; Breen, Colin (2007). Maritime Ireland. An Archaeology of Coastal Communities. Stroud: Tempus. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-7524-2509-2.

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