Cushendall village with hurling mural
|Population||1,280 (2011 Census)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
Cushendall (from Irish: Cois Abhann Dalla, meaning 'foot of the River Dall'), formerly known as Newtownglens, is a coastal village and townland (of 153 acres) in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It is located in the historic barony of Glenarm Lower and the civil parish of Layd, and is part of Causeway Coast and Glens district.
Located on the A2 coast road between Glenariff and Cushendun, Cushendall is in the Antrim Coast and Glens an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It lies in the shadow of the table topped Lurigethan Mountain and at the meeting point of three of the Glens of Antrim: Glenaan, Glenballyemon and Glencorp. This part of the Northern Irish coastline is separated from Scotland by the North Channel, with the Mull of Kintyre about 16 miles away. In the 2011 Census, Cushendall had a population of 1,280 people.
Much of the historic character of the 19th century settlement on the north bank of the River Dall remains, including the mostly-intact Irish Georgian buildings of the town's four original streets. In 1973, it was the second village in Northern Ireland to be designated as a Conservation Area. Since 1990, Cushendall has hosted the Heart Of The Glens festival every August. Thomas D'Arcy McGee, a father of Canadian Confederation, spent his childhood in Cushendall when his father, who worked for the Coast Guard Service, was posted there.
The Curfew Tower in the centre of the village was built in 1817 to confine riotous prisoners by Francis Turnley — landlord of the town at the time. Dan McBride, an army pensioner, was given the job of permanent garrison and was armed with one musket, a bayonet, a brace of pistols and a thirteen-foot-long pike. The tower is now owned by Scottish musician and artist Bill Drummond.
Oisín's Grave, off the main Cushendall to Ballymoney road, is a megalithic court cairn on a hillside in Lubitavish, near the Glenann River. It is believed to be the burial place of Oísín — the Celtic warrior poet. A stone cairn was erected on the site in 1989 in memory of John Hewitt, the poet of the Glens.
The ruins of Layd Church, a Franciscan foundation possibly partially from the 13th century, are about 1.5 km north of Cushendall. They are also accessible by road and a cliff path from Cushendall. There are old vaults in the churchyard and it was one of the main burial places of the MacDonnells. There is a stone cross memorial to Dr James MacDonnell, one of the organisers of the last Belfast Festival of Harpists in 1792 and pioneer of the use of chloroform in surgery. By the gate of the churchyard is a holestone and nearby two 'corp stones' on which coffins were rested. Layd Church saw service as a parish church from 1306 until about 1790.
Red Bay Castle, situated between the villages of Cushendall and Waterfoot. Built by the Bisset family in the 14th century and later occupied by the MacDonnells, one of the outposts of the Kingdom of Dál Riata.
Glenariff Forest Park, about 8 km inland from Cushendall, covers an area of 1185 hectares. The park contains waterfalls, forest trails, and riverside walks, including a café, toilets, and an exhibition centre. Four way-marked trails of varying length (1–9 km) wind through the forest leading you into some of the park's wooded areas.
During The Troubles in Northern Ireland from 1920 to 1922, a shooting occurred in Cushendall. Several lorries of Ulster Special Constabulary (USC) personnel, accompanied by British Army soldiers, drove into Cushendall on the night of 23 June 1922 to enforce the nightly curfew. The USC proceeded to open fire on a crowd of onlookers, killing three Catholic men: James McAllister, John Gore and John Hill. After the incident, the USC claimed they were ambushed by the Irish Republican Army and returned fire, but a British government inquiry, which was declassified almost a century later, concluded that the constabulary's version of events was false.
There were further violent incidents during the Troubles of the late 20th century.
Cushendall is classified as a village by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) (i.e., with a population between 1,000 and 2,499 people). On Census Day (27 March 2011) the usually resident population of Cushendall Settlement was 1,280, accounting for 0.07% of the NI total. Of these:
Founded in 1906, the local hurling club Ruairí Óg plays its home matches at Páirc Mhuire in Cushendall. They became Ulster champions for the first time in the 1981-82 season, when the team captained by John Delargy beat Ballycastle Mc Quillans after a replay. And as of 2022, have been Ulster champions 11 times (All Ireland Senior Club Hurling Championships). They have reached the final of the All Ireland Senior Club Hurling Championships once in the 2015-16 season, losing to Na Piarsaigh (Limerick) 2-25 to 2-14.
Cushendall Golf Club is a small nine-hole course primarily aiming to improve short game. The course is located in a valley with the Abhainn Dala (River Dall) running through its centre to the sea.
Established in 1951, Cushendall Sailing & Boating Club is the ideal place to learn basic introductory, as well as advanced Sailing skills. The club is situated in Red Bay and the views of the surrounding Glens of Antrim make a stunning backdrop for those on the waves. Cushendall CSBC has a sailing school which runs throughout the summer using RYA's learn-to-sail scheme. The school welcomes all ages and abilities, ensuring progression is achieved by each individual student.
The second Saturday of August each year during the Heart of the Glens Festival the Lurig Run takes place. This challenge is a 3.5 mile run consisting of a 1500 ft climb up the face of the Lurigethan mountain. Growing in popularity among the running elite, it is seen as one of the most challenging organised runs in Northern Ireland. 400 people compete each year.
Holiday accommodation in the area ranges from Self Catering to Bed & Breakfast and caravan and camping. Cushendall has three caravan and camping sites.
Cushendall offers a diverse range of shops, which offer local gifts and crafts, as well as many other items.
There is also an annual vintage car rally which is held in the village.