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Description

A must-visit for unrivalled views of Northern Ireland's largest seabird colony and a chance to explore Rathlin's unique 'upside down' lighthouse.

Just six miles off County Antrim's north coast, Rathlin Island is a world away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Before you even step ashore, look out for gannets, gulls and dolphins during the ferry crossing. Once on the island, head four miles west (by private bus, bike or on foot) to the RSPB NI Seabird Centre. Here you'll have close-up views of Northern Ireland's biggest seabird colony, where puffins and thousands of other seabirds jostle for space from May to July.

Rathlin Island is Northern Ireland's only inhabited island and is also home to one of the UK's largest seabird colonies.

The Rathlin West Light Seabird Centre, perched on the cliffs overlooking the colony, is one of Northern Ireland's most iconic tourist destinations.

In summer, the seabird colony is a real assault on the senses – the sight and sound of tens of thousands of birds, including puffins, razorbills, guillemots and kittiwakes, jostling for space is like nothing else.

Friendly staff and volunteers are always on hand to answer any questions you may have, and binoculars and telescopes are available to use free of charge.
  • Rathlin Island
  • Rathlin
  • Antrim
  • BT54 6RT

Top Reasons To Visit

  • A seabird spectacular like no other
  • Access to the unique West Lighthouse
  • A taste of island life just six miles from the north coast
  • A chance to explore Rathlin, NI's only inhabited island
  • Rathlin West Light

    As well as the amazing wildlife spectacle, visitors to the Seabird Centre can explore the lighthouse itself. Situated at the heart of the colony, it is a spectacular feat of engineering, clinging to the cliff face with the lantern gleaming red at its foot.

    Visitors can access this unique, fully operational lighthouse and learn about its history, its people and the role of Irish Lights in maritime safety today.

    Along with 11 other lighthouses around the Irish coast, Rathlin West Light is part of the Great Lighthouses of Ireland Trail – all of which will offer unforgettable experiences and create a deep appreciation of the role of lighthouses and the seafaring story of the island of Ireland.

  • Visitor Information

    The Rathlin West Light Seabird Centre will be open from 1 April – 15 September 2019. Please visit www.rathlinballycastleferry.com to book your ferry crossing.

    Please note that while the main visitor centre is accessible, there is an 89 step descent to the viewing platform and a similar number of steps down through the lighthouse.

    For more information about the Seabird Centre, visit the website. To find out more about the Great Lighthouses of Ireland Trail, visit www.greatlighthouses.com.

  • Opening Hours and Prices

    Admission Prices:

    • Free for RSPB members
    • Adults: £5
    • Children and concessions: £2.50.

    The Rathlin West Light Seabird Centre is open from:

    • 1 April – 16 September 2019
    • 1 – 30 April 2019: 11am – 4pm
    • 1 May – 31 August 2019: 10am – 5pm
    • 1 – 15 September 2019: 11am – 4pm.

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