Glendun: the Glendun Viaduct can just be made out among the trees in the middle distance, and on the skyline is Crocknamoyle

The Glens of Antrim (Irish: Glinnte Aontroma),[1] known locally as simply The Glens, is a region of County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It comprises nine glens (valleys), that radiate from the Antrim Plateau to the coast. The Glens are an area of outstanding natural beauty and are a major tourist attraction in north Antrim.

The main towns and villages in the Glens are Ballycastle, Cushendun, Cushendall, Waterfoot, Carnlough and Glenarm.

The Lordship of the Glens

From the mid-13th century onward, the Lordship of The Glens belonged to the Bissett family, Anglo-Norman in origin but Gaelicized over generations. With the marriage of John Mor Macdonald, second son of John of Islay, Lord of the Isles, to Margery Bisset in the late 14th century, the Glens came into the ownership of the MacDonnells of Antrim. John Mor gained the title Lord of Dunyvaig and the Glens.[2]

The nine glens

From north to south, the nine glens are:

Irish name Meaning Ref
Glentaisie Gleann Taise Taise's valley/damp valley [3][4]
Glenshesk Gleann Seisc barren valley [3]
Glendun Gleann Doinne valley of the [river] Dun [3][4]
Glencorp Gleann Corp valley of the body (or bodies) [3][5]
Glenaan Gleann Athain valley of the burial chamber [4][6]
Glenballyeamon Gleann Bhaile Uí Dhíomáin
Gleann Bhaile Éamainn
valley of Ó Díomáin's town
valley of Éamonn's town
Glenariff Gleann Aireamh valley of the ploughman/arable valley [3][6]
Glencloy Gleann Claidheamh valley of the sword [3]
Glenarm Gleann Arma valley of the army [3][6]

Tenth glen

Glenravel is sometimes considered a tenth glen. It lies to the southwest of Glenballyeamon and Glenariff, being separated from the latter by the Glenariff forest park.

The main settlements of Glenravel are Cargan, Martinstown and Skerry (Newtowncrommelin).


Madman's Window in Antrim, ca. 1860 (National Library of Ireland)

Artifacts of the Neolithic period have been found in various places of the Glens of Antrim including Bay Farm II and Madman's Window.[7]

In popular culture

The Glens are mentioned in the song "Ireland's Call". DI Sean Duffy, in the Troubles mysteries by Adrian McKinty, is from the Glens.

See also


  1. ^ "Glinnte Aontroma/Glens of Antrim". Archived from the original on 9 December 2023. Retrieved 9 December 2023.
  2. ^ An Historical Account of the Macdonnells of Antrim by George Hill, 1873, at. p. 21
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Archived 3 December 2012 at the Wayback Machine (Placenames Database of Ireland)
  4. ^ a b c d Moyle District Council Area Archived 7 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Northern Ireland Place-Name Project, Queen's University Belfast
  5. ^ "Glencorp". Place Names - NI. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
  6. ^ a b c Place Names NI Archived October 1, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ O'Sullivan, Aidan; Breen, Colin (2007). Maritime Ireland. An Archaeology of Coastal Communities. Stroud: Tempus. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-7524-2509-2.

55°09′36″N 6°06′00″W / 55.16000°N 6.10000°W / 55.16000; -6.10000