The Island of Rathlin in the Sea of Moyle off Ballycastle is now open to resident and visiting boat owners and overnighting is allowed. The ferry is also operating.
This popular destination is six miles long, one mile wide, "L" shaped and home to a slowly increasing population of around 140 people. Very strong tides surround the island. The pontoons in Church Bay will take up to 40 visiting boats. Water depth is good alongside but contact the Harbour Master directly for particular up to date hydrographical information.
Harbour Master John Moreton says that “ all visiting vessels must book in advance and will be asked to pre-pay, prior to arrival. This will secure a suitable berthing space and avoid disappointment. Anyone requiring fuel must also book in advance. Visitors are asked to adhere to current social distancing guidance and be aware of other users. Good hand hygiene will be essential, especially around common contact points such as handles and railings”.
A short walk from the harbour is the Boathouse Visitor Centre, where visitors can discover some of the exciting history, learn about present-day island life and see some artefacts from shipwrecks around the island. There are many enjoyable walks including along the shore to Mill Bay where you may see some of the resident seals basking or at play. Cycle hire is another way to enjoy the island or take a bus trip.
From April to July is puffin season so take the opportunity to see them along with many other sea birds.
The Harbour Master can be contacted for bookings at Rathlin on 07724594118 or at Ballycastle Marina on 028 207 68525/ 07803 505084