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“Stay clear of the Harbour Cafe” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Rathlin Island

Rathlin Island
Rathlin Island, Northern Ireland
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Owner description: Between Ballycastle and the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland, Raithlin Island is eight miles long and barely one mile wide.
Belfast, United Kingdom
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Stay clear of the Harbour Cafe”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 30, 2013

We visited the island for the first time in July for the day and lived it so much we thought we would go back again for a few days in August!
We stayed in the youth hostel which is just a 10/15 walk from the village!
We decided to go for lunch in the harbour cafe on the day of our arrival!! To be honest there aren't many places to choose from but it looked nice!
I ordered a panini and wedges and my husband ordered the soup!! We waited over 40 minutes for it to arrive by which time we where nearly ready to eat the table!! The wedges looked cooked on the outside but when I bit into them they where still hard in the middle!! My husbands soup was bland and served with sliced loaf bread!!!
I would have complained about the wedges but the scowl on the face if the girl serving us made me think otherwise and I thought I would just put it down to a bad day!!
We should have learned our lesson but we decided on our last day to go to the cafe for a fry to try and cure the hangovers after a great nights craic in the bar!!
Again the girl serving us seemed to be in a bad mood but we ordered our fry's and took a seat!
After waiting a further 45mins our fry's arrived!! If it had been busy I might have understood but there where only 4 other diners in the place!
The soda bread was rock hard and the beans cold!!
My advice is walk on past the harbour cafe!! The staff are grumpy and despite the sign saying everything is home made the soup was served with sliced bread!!
Despite this we had a wonderful time on the island and will be back again!

Visited August 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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130 reviews from our community

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Dublin, Ireland
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“A real haven for the heart”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2013

To me, Rathlin Island is the most magical and beautiful places imaginable. Granted, we were there in the summer and we were blessed with the weather. The scenery is breathtaking at every turn and the islanders could not be more friendly and welcoming. We hired bikes and cycled around the island. The East Coast Lighthouse was our first destination and it was spectacular. It's not an easy cycle but, it is so worth it. The seal sancturary has to be seen to be believed, absolute heaven and the little walk up to the lighthouse itself is magnificent. To stand on the rocks at the lighthouse and look back at Ballycastle and over at the Mull of Kintyre is an experience you will never forget.

Visited June 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Esher, England
Top Contributor
117 reviews 117 reviews
21 attraction reviews
Reviews in 65 cities Reviews in 65 cities
54 helpful votes 54 helpful votes
“Good day out”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2013

Was lucky with the weather, glorious sunshine most of the day. Hired a cycle from Soerneog Hostel (£10 per day, clearly signposted from harbour), enabling most of the island to be covered in the day. Spectacular views from Donegal in the west to the Mull of Kintyre in the east. The ferry is not very frequent and advance booking is recommended, so some planning ahead is needed to make the best of a day on the island.

Visited September 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Belfast, United Kingdom
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Rathlin Island”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2013

I've just had a third visit to Rathlin, so I must really like the place ... and I certainly do. We crossed over (all eight passengers) from Ballycastle on the old rusty Rathlin ferry boat which rolls about a bit even on quite a calm day. The sea here can be quite rough, it certainly changes quickly. On this visit we didn't take the bus which was waiting when the ferry docked, instead intending to walk across to East Lighthouse a distance of about one and three quarter miles.

Before going, we had a snack in the Harbour Cafe a rather spartan little place with a nice view. Without wishing to be too unkind the lady behind the counter should consider a career change from the hospitality industry. Just a few words of welcome or a few comments about the weather, anything would be better than the dour first impression she conveys. The food I would rate as poor to average but there wouldn't be much point in hiring a new cook unless the presentation was greatly improved. Disappointing, if you really don't like dealing with the public, please put a note on the door to that effect.

Now for the reasons why this return visit won't be my last. It was an enjoyable experience. The walk over to the East Lighthouse on a sunny autumn day which threatened showers that never materialised was delightful. You could see that it was raining fifteen miles away over in Scotland. There were fine views across to Fair Head and on the Scottish side to the Mull of Kintyre and beyond to Ailsa Craig. At this time of the year the heather is beautiful and there are lots of other flowers still in bloom. Beneath the lighthouse is the cave apparently once occupied by Robert the Bruce and a famous spider. Just a short distance off the coast areas of the sea appeared to boil where currents meet and on the horizon you could just make out Islay and the Paps of Jura and with the aid of binoculars, I think it was the white buildings of Laphroaig and Lagavulin Distilleries.
A walk on Rathlin ..... highly recommended.

Visited September 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
17 reviews 17 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Beautiful place if ur prepared to walk”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2013 via mobile

Had a lovely weekend in Rathlin did lots of walkin The sights are beautiful but you must be prepared to walk the seals are brilliant my favourite thing about the island. Had our dinner in the pub was nice and the tourist information shows lots of stories about the island will defiantly be back next year for another nights stay

Visited August 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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