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AboutMust see views of Northern Ireland's largest seabird colony and a chance to explore Rathlin's unique 'upside down' lighthouse part of the Great Lighthouses of Ireland Trail.
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 step ashore, look out for gannets, gulls and dolphins during the ferry crossing. There are regular ferry crossings through the spring and summer season but make sure to book in advance.
Once on the island, head four miles west (by privately operated bus, bike or on foot) to the RSPB Rathlin West Light Seabird Centre. Here you will enjoy close-up views of Northern Ireland's biggest seabird colony, with puffins and other seabirds in their thousands, jostle for space to breed from late April to July. 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, congregating is like nothing else.
Whilst hugely important for breeding seabirds, including puffin, guillemot, kittiwake, razorbill and fulmar, Rathlin Island is also home to Northern Ireland's only pair of breeding chough and more recently corncrake.
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.
Please note that while the main visitor centre at the West Light Seabird Centre is accessible there are 98 steps down the cliffside to the viewing platform and a further 64 steps to bottom floor of the lighthouse. Registered guide dogs can access the Visitor Centre. Other dogs must be tied up outside the Visitor Centre during a visit.
- Open Mondays
- Open Sundays
- Picnic Area
Children & Infants
- Baby changing facilities
- Accept coach parties
- All major credit/debit cards accepted