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“Chaine Memorial Tower.”

Chaine Memorial Tower
Coventry, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Chaine Memorial Tower.”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 5, 2013

The "Pencil" as its known locally is a memorial to the founder of the modern Larne Harbour, James Chaine. It is an accurate replica of an Irish Round Tower and is definitely a lighthouse but the light can only be seen from seaward or from Islandmagee on the other side of Larne Lough. When the tides out there is good rock pool fishing around the base.
Also near the Tower towards the harbour itself is a monument to the 133 lives lost on the local ferry Princess Victoria during a violent storm on 31st January 1953. At the same spot is another monument commemorating the landing of a shipload of guns for the Ulster Volunteers at Larne Harbour in 1914.
There is a very good restaurant open to the public at the nearby Tower Swimming Pool and the circular walk from the Tower along the 'promenade' to the Bank Heads and Chaines Park is very pleasant. The 'promenade' was originally a light railway taking limestone to Larne Harbour but that has long since gone. The 'promenade' along its one mile length also passes through rocks spanning 15M years and is of international geological interest as being the most complete sequence of rocks in the UK at the time when dinosaurs were coming into being. Fossils can be seen in the rocks along the shoreline. At Chaines Park walk up the steps to the top and then come back along the top of the low cliff passing the tomb of James Chaine, where it is said he is buried upright looking out to sea, and further along descend back down to the shore at the Bank Heads to return to your starting point. There are very good views out to the Mull of Kintyre, Ayrshire coast, Paddy's Milestone (Ailsa Craig), Islandmagee and inland to Agnews Hill.

Visited August 2013
3 Thank Jim M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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36 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Russian first
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English first
Belfast, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
249 reviews
124 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 128 helpful votes
“Its not a lighthouse and its not a round tower”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 20, 2013

It may look like one but its just a memorial. Make sure you walk along the promenade and catch the ferrys making the trip across the north channel to Cairnryan in Scotland. And appreciate the Princess Victoria disaster memorial.

Visited April 2013
Thank Carnalbanagh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
55 reviews
46 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 117 helpful votes
“Shut, but impressive”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 20, 2013

This is a very tall and impressive landmark, a monument. You can walk along a causeway across the beach to get to the front door, but that is locked. The area is nice, and people do like to get a photo of this big round tower with the sky behind.

Visited July 2013
1 Thank wandererIslandmagee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lisburn, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
61 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“birthday trip”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 29, 2013

worth a visit, explains the reason the tower was erected and the loss of life when Ferry Princess Victoria was lost in 1953

Visited May 2013
Thank Mike P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Carrickfergus, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
566 reviews
343 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1,203 helpful votes
“Wonderful. Please reopen it!!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 6, 2013

This place is closed right now. I think that's a shame. NOWHERE on Earth could you get a better view of the legendary Antrim Coast Road than from the top of Chaine Memorial Tower. Still, you can have fun visiting the place, and seeing this very impressive monument even while its doors stay shut.

As you drive down Tower Road you see the point of the monument high above the rooftops of houses, like some extraordinary space rocket. Round the corner to the shore and you'll be astonished to see this replica of an Irish Round Tower, proudly standing at the end of its long causeway out across the beach. It is fully 27m high, so the locals who know it all love to come and take their picture with it, or see a spectacular sun rise from the ocean behind this great spire of rock.

From the north the view of the tower is a little lost against the massive modern edifice of Ballylumford power station. From Islandmagee in the south you'll find a dazzling viewpoint at Ballylumford Harbour. There is the tower, standing just offshore, with the receding headlands of the Antrim coast successively fading in sequence off behind. Depending on the weather you'll see a lot of Scotland on the horizon. The Antrim coast starts in Whitehead with a trip round the star attractions of Islandmagee, including this unique view. If I get time, I'll return to see the Sun rise here, and the Moon.

The Tower was built in memory of James Chaine, the local MP behind Larne Harbour and much of the town's industrial growth. Locals tell me he was buried standing up, so he could still look over the area. Over the arched doorway of the tower is this inscription:

This Tower was erected and road leading to it made by the contribution of every class in this mixed community irrespective of creed or of party. All cordially united in esteem and affection for the memory of the late James Chaine of Ballycraigy and Cairncastle, Co Antrim who represented the County in the Imperial Parliament of Great Britain and ireland from February 1874 until May 1885, and who was founder of the sea route from Larne to the Scottish Mainland.

Built in 1887, the tower became a lighthouse in 1899, shining for a century.

Nearby you'll find a monument to those lost at sea with the vessel Princess Victoria, and a plaque dedicated to the 1914 gun-running ship Clyde Valley. That also features with Chaine Memorial Tower on the big mural you see when you drive into Larne from the south. The likeness of the tower is also used for the letter "L" on the road signs that tell you you're entering the borough.

So I recommend any traveler should go see this brilliant big thing, and get a photo.

Visited April 2013
Thank Steveodo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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