Get ready to discover Rathlin

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The Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) is encouraging everyone to explore the natural beauty and stunning scenery of Rathlin Island.

The island is known for its rich history and traditional culture, as well as its stunning landscapes, seascapes and diverse wildlife. These qualities make it an inspirational retreat for walkers, bird enthusiasts, divers and photographers and for those who just want to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of island-life.

NITB’s PR Officer Marie-Therese O’Neill is encouraging people to discover the island for themselves: “Although the RSPB Seabird Visitor Centre* is closed for renovations in the 2014 season Rathlin Island is still very much open for business. Rathlin Island is the perfect day out for friends, families and couples who would like to experience something a little different. There is accommodation to suit all needs, a new art studio, a great pub and restaurant to while away a few hours in the evening and Little Treasures gift shop to pick up that special souvenir.

“Rathlin Island is a hidden gem renowned for its beauty and tranquillity. It offers an unspoilt environment and is well known for its wildlife, particularly its seabird breeding colonies. Take a walk or hire a bicycle and don’t forget to admire the island’s three lighthouses!

“In the harbour is a museum Boathouse, where visitors can discover some of the exciting island history, learn about present day island life and see some artefacts from the 40 shipwrecks which are around the island. A short walk away is Mill Bay where there is a colony of seals, which are sure to delight both adults and children alike,” added Marie-Therese.

There is a wealth of things to see and do and with the Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival running from May 23 to June 1 it is the perfect time to visit. The festival celebrates the rich maritime heritage and history of Rathlin Island and Ballycastle and promises to be a week of spectacular activities. There will be something for both land and sea lovers with sailing, historic and modern craft, exhibitions and guided walks, seafood themed markets as well as, traditional music and entertainment.

The island also boasts four new walks which join the already existing Rathlin Trail and Roonivoolin Walk to provide just under 20 miles of walking trails, right around the island.

For more information on Rathlin island go to http://www.discovernorthernireland.com/Rathlin-

Island-Rathlin-Island. For more information on the Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival go to www.heartofthecausewaycoastandglens.com/maritimefestival or contact Ballycastle Visitor Information Centre on 028 2076 2024.