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Glens of Antrim facts for kids

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Glendun: the Glendun Viaduct can just be made out among the trees in the middle distance, and on the skyline is Crocknamoyle

The Glens of Antrim, 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 onward, the Lordship of The Glen belonged to the Bissett family, Anglo-Norman in origin but Gaelicized over generations. In the mid-16th century it came into the ownership of the MacDonnells of Antrim.

The nine glens

From north to south, the nine glens are:

Irish name Meaning Ref
Glentaisie Gleann Taise Taise's valley/damp valley
Glenshesk Gleann Seisc barren valley
Glendun Gleann Doinne valley of the [river] Dun
Glencorp Gleann Corp valley of the body (or bodies)
Glenaan Gleann Athain valley of the burial chamber
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
Glencloy Gleann Claidheamh valley of the sword
Glenarm Gleann Arma valley of the army

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).


Madmans Window in Antrim
Madman's Window in Antrim, ca. 1860 (National Library of Ireland)

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.

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