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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 from Ballycastle. There are regular ferry crossings through the season but make sure to book in advance.
Experience the hustle and bustle of Rathlin’s seabird city as thousands of birds raise their chicks precariously on the cliff edges at the West Light Seabird Centre. This seabird colony is a crowd pleaser especially when everyone’s favourite, the puffin makes an appearance, with May-July being the best time to see them. , Travel to the centre by private bus, or - if preferred - a scenic 4.5 mile hike or cycle across the island. Visit Rathlin Island’s famous ‘upside down’ lighthouse – a member of The Great Lighthouses of Ireland partnership.
In summer, the seabird colony is a real assault on the senses – the up-close views and sound of tens of thousands of birds, including puffins, razorbills, guillemots, fulmars and kittiwakes congreating is like nothing else.
Whilst hugely important for breeding seabirds, 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
Admission to the West Light Seabird Centre is free to RSPB members and under 5s. For non-members there is a charge of £5 for adults, £3.50 for students and £2.50 for children.