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A piece of Cornwall on the Irish coast


Cornish Cottages
Carra Castle
Torr Scenic Road
If you think this small coastal village looks like it's been recently relocated from Cornwall, you're nearly right. Most of its old-fashioned cottages were designed specifically to look like they came from that south-west county of England.
The idea was developed by a politician called Ronald McNeill, who wanted to pay tribute to his Cornish wife. He enlisted Clough Williams-Ellis to actually carry out the work. This renowned architect would go on to achieve lasting fame by putting an Italian-style village in the unfamiliar surroundings of the Welsh west coast. Ronald McNeill, pleased with his new village, later became known as Lord Cushendun.

Cushendun Hotel
Photo otfrom
The key part of Williams-Ellis' design was the central square, and its 7 surrounding cottages. Today, these have become craft shops and tea rooms. The nearby row of whitewashed houses was added later, after the death of Lord Cushendun's wife. He named them "Maud Cottages", in her memory.

The centre of Cushendun
Photo Northern Ireland Tourist Board
Other buildings of note include Glenmona House, with its deliberately flamboyant Georgian style, and the parish church. Here, in the quiet graveyard, are the final resting places of Ronald McNeill and his wife.

Did You Know?

JOHANN is a goat statue sculpted by Deborah Brown and presented by her to the people of Cushendun in August 2002. A goat was the last animal to be culled in the foot and mouth outbreak spring 2001.
Photo horslips5
The name "Cushendun" means "foot of the dark brown river". The water picks up its shadowy colour as it flows through the bogs and moors, further up the mountains. The village's position at the mouth of a river came in useful, as this used to be an important departure point for trips to Scotland. The harbour's calm surface makes it a safe place for ships to anchor. Back then Northern Ireland's roads hadn't yet been built, and a quick sail across the sea to pick up supplies was much easier than hiking over the mountains to the nearest town.

The River Glendun at Cushendun
Photo Northern Ireland Tourist Board
Unfortunately, not all the visitors were friendly. Attackers often arrived on the beach, brandishing swords and arrows. Most of the battles were between the O'Neills and the McDonnells, two warring clans. Things came to a head at Carra Castle, where the O'Neill leader had his head removed from his body. The McDonnells sent this grisly prize to Dublin, so everyone could see what they had done. The ruins of Carra Castle can still be seen, although they're but a shadow of their former self.
A much more obvious landmark is the giant cliff of Torr Head, just a few miles to the north. This tall rocky headland is so visible that it has long been used for communication. In the past, clansmen would light fires as a rudimentary signal. Later it was a semaphore station, recording information on passing ships. Even more recently, this was one of the first testing places for Marconi's wireless transmission system. In the late 19th century, this Italian baffled people with his seemingly magical achievements.

Torr Head.
Photo wfbakker2
The cliffs are connected to Cushendun by the Torr Scenic Road. The greens of the fields, mixed with the blues of the ocean, make this one of the prettiest routes on the entire northern coast. Along the way are the scattered remains of old cottages and the uneven lines of bushy hedgerows, adding character to the sweeping landscape.

Cushendun Beach
Photo Northern Ireland Tourist Board
The scenery had a strong effect on some people. For poets like John Masefield and Moira O'Neill, it was their constant inspiration. The latter lived in an eye-catching house, just across the bay. Her collection, "Songs of the Glens of Antrim", sums up the area completely, and is a local classic.
Visitor Information
There is a car park situated in the centre of Cushendun village beside the Village Tea Room. There is no charge for parking. Public toilets are located within walking distance from the car park.

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