Seven Days in a Gatelodge on The Antrim Coast

Magherintemple Gatelodge, located in the charming town of Ballycastle, Co. Antrim, is a unique and intimate accommodation offered by the Irish Landmark Trust. This restored gatelodge provides a cosy and inviting base for couples looking to explore the stunning North Antrim Coast and experience a romantic getaway that’s off the beaten path.

Ballycastle and its surrounding areas are filled with natural beauty, fascinating history, and plenty of activities to keep you entertained during your stay. From the world-famous Giant’s Causeway to the mysterious ruins of Dunluce Castle, there’s no shortage of things to see and do.

To help you plan your trip, we’ve put together a 7-day itinerary that highlights some of the best experiences and attractions in the area. Whether you’re interested in scenic walks, exploring hidden beaches, or sampling the region’s delicious cuisine, our guide has something for everyone.

If you’re looking for a romantic break that’s different from your average hotel stay, Magherintemple Gatelodge is the perfect choice. Book your stay through the Irish Landmark Trust and get ready to discover the magic of Ballycastle and the North Antrim Coast.

History of the Gatelodge

Magherintemple Gatelodge, a charming Scottish Baronial-style lodge, is located just outside the picturesque town of Ballycastle, Co. Antrim. Built in 1874, possibly by architect S P Close, this gatelodge is part of a larger estate that includes the main house, which was extended in the same style during the lodge’s construction.

The main house, believed to have been designed by John Lanyon, was originally a modest Georgian structure with elegant reeded ornamentation. The Victorian addition, commissioned by John Casement, father of Sir Roger Casement, features intricate pine detailing and a date stone with his initials above the drawing room window. The plain Scottish Baronial style is adorned with stepped gables, finials, and chimney stacks, adding visual interest to the otherwise austere building.

The Victorian extension significantly increased the value of the estate. Records show that in 1834, the house was valued at a mere £11.15.0, and between 1851 and 1879, the house and outbuildings were valued at £25. During the “rebuilding” phase in 1878, the valuation skyrocketed to £60 the following year.

John Casement, a devout man who took the pledge later in life, inscribed the words “In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths” above the front door of his home. The Casement family produced many seafarers in the next generation, while another family member, Sir Roger Casement, is well-known for his historical significance.

Magherintemple Gatelodge offers a unique opportunity to stay in a historic building that has witnessed the lives and transformations of the Casement family and the surrounding estate. Its location near Ballycastle makes it an ideal base for exploring the stunning North Antrim Coast and immersing oneself in the rich history of the area.

Day 1: Giants Causeway Tour 

(10 minute drive from Ballycastle )

Start your day by visiting the Giants Causeway visitor centre. Guided tours depart from the centre throughout the day, providing valuable insights into the formation of the basalt columns and the legends surrounding them. Be sure to check out must-see sights like the Giant’s Boot and the Wishing Chair during your exploration of the causeway.

If you’re looking to save some money and reduce your carbon footprint, consider arriving at the visitor centre by public transport, bicycle, or on foot. By doing so, you can save £2 on adult admission, £1.25 on child admission, and £4 on family admission. Simply present your green mode of transportation at the Admissions Point to receive the discount. To ensure a smooth visit, it’s recommended to pre-book your tickets.

For those seeking a more immersive experience, the Clifftop Experience Walk is a fantastic option. This 5-mile trek departs daily from the visitor centre at 12:15 and takes you on a scenic journey to Dunseverick Castle. The walk then returns along the cliff tops, offering breathtaking views of the Giants Causeway and the surrounding coastline. The entire experience takes approximately 3.5 hours to complete and is a great way to combine hiking and sightseeing.

To book your spot on the Clifftop Experience Walk, visit the official website.

Day 2: Causeway Scenic Route Drive

Start your day by driving the beautiful Causeway Coastal Route from Bushmills to Derry. The drive takes about 1 hour without stops, but there are lots of hidden gems and secret spots to discover along the way. 

Check out The Causeway Coastal Route for a full itinerary and info about the sights and experiences along the route.

When you arrive in Derry, there’s plenty to see and do. This historic city has a mix of culture, history, and modern charm. Some top attractions include:

  • The Derry City Walls: Walk along the 17th-century walls around the city centre for great views and a taste of the city’s history.
  • The Guildhall: This impressive neo-gothic building is the heart of the city, with beautiful stained-glass windows and a historic organ.
  • The Museum of Free Derry: Learn about the city’s recent history, especially the events of the Troubles and the civil rights movement.
  • The Peace Bridge: This iconic bridge over the River Foyle symbolises the unity and reconciliation of the city’s communities.

For more ideas on what to do in Derry, check with local tourist information centres or visit the official Derry tourism website.

Day 3: Beach Day

On your third day, why not spend a relaxing day at one of the beautiful beaches near Ballycastle.

We recommend visiting Ballycastle Beach, a lovely sandy stretch perfect for building sandcastles, playing beach games, or simply soaking up the sun. But don’t forget to bring your bucket and spade! To plan your day at Ballycastle Beach, check out this blog for more information.

Alternatively, head to the stunning White Park Bay Beach. This secluded spot offers a chance to escape the crowds and enjoy a more tranquil beach experience. Keep an eye out for the cows that sometimes graze near the beach – they add to the charming, rural atmosphere. For more details on White Park Bay Beach, visit this blogpost.

Whichever beach you choose, be sure to pack suncream, water, and snacks to keep you comfortable throughout the day. If you’re feeling adventurous, you might even want to dip your toes in the refreshing Irish Sea!

Day 4: Golf & Spa Day

Today, you have two fantastic options to choose from, depending on your preferences.

For golf enthusiasts, the Royal Portrush Golf Club is a must-visit.

Located just a 25-minute drive from Ballycastle, this world-renowned course offers a challenging and rewarding golfing experience. To plan your Golf Day, visit Royal Portrush Golfclub for more information on tee times, rates, and course details.

If a day of relaxation and pampering is more your style, consider indulging in a spa day. The Salthouse Hotel in Ballycastle comes highly recommended for its exceptional spa facilities. Visit Salthouse Hotel’s Website to explore their range of treatments, packages, and amenities. From massages to facials, you’ll find the perfect way to unwind and rejuvenate.

In addition to the Salthouse Hotel, there are several other excellent spa options in the Causeway Coast and Glens area. To discover more, check out Causeway Coast And Glens . This blog post highlights some of the best spa experiences in the region, ensuring you’ll find the perfect place to treat yourself.

Day 5: Cycling Tour

Set off on your cycling adventure from Ballycastle to Bushmills, taking in the breathtaking scenery of the Causeway Coast. This self-guided bike tour offers a perfect blend of stunning ocean views, rich history, charming towns and villages, and peaceful country roads. Each day brings something new and unique to your Irish experience.

To learn more about the route and to book your cycling tour, visit Ireland By Bike’s blog on the area. This website provides detailed information about the itinerary, including distances, difficulty levels, and points of interest along the way.

Some highlights of your cycling tour may include:

  • The Giant’s Causeway:  Head to the iconic basalt columns and learn about the legends surrounding this natural wonder.
  • Dunluce Castle: Admire the dramatic ruins of this medieval castle perched on a cliff edge overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge: Test your courage as you cross this famous rope bridge spanning a 30-meter deep chasm.
  • Ballintoy Harbour: Explore this picturesque harbour, known for its appearance in the popular TV series “Game of Thrones.”
  • Bushmills Distillery: Visit the oldest licensed whiskey distillery in Ireland and sample some of their famous spirits.

Be sure to wear comfortable cycling gear, bring plenty of water, and don’t forget your camera to capture the stunning landscapes along the way. Remember to cycle safely and follow local traffic laws.

Day 6: Rathlin Island and Lighthouse Adventure

Take a day trip to Rathlin Island, a small island off the coast of Ballycastle. Catch the seasonal ferry from Ballycastle for a short 6-mile journey across the Sea of Moyle.

Once on the island, visit the Boathouse Visitor Centre (open seasonally) near the harbour to learn about the island’s history, life on Rathlin, and see some shipwreck artefacts.

Go for a walk along the shore to Mill Bay to spot seals or rent a bike to explore the island. From April to July, you can see puffins and other seabirds. Check out the refurbished seabird centre, open from May 29th, and explore the working lighthouse, part of the Great Lighthouses of Ireland tour.

Rathlin Island is also known for its tales and legends, like the story of Robert the Bruce, the Scottish King who took refuge on the island in 1306 and was inspired by a determined spider to regain his crown.

To plan your trip and book ferry tickets, visit Rathlin Ferry’s website. For more info on Rathlin Island, see Discover Northern Ireland’s Website.

Day 7: Foodie Tour Day

Treat your tastebuds to the award-winning Causeway Coast Foodie Tours. These tours offer something for everyone and provide a fantastic opportunity to sample the best local produce the region has to offer.

Visit the official website to explore the various tour options available and book your preferred experience. 

Some of the highlights you can expect on these tours include:

  • Tasting local specialities: Sample a wide range of delicious foods, from artisanal cheeses and charcuterie to freshly baked breads and sweet treats.
  • Meeting local producers: Get to know the passionate food producers, farmers, and artisans who create the delectable products you’ll be tasting.
  • Visiting unique venues: Explore charming cafes, restaurants, and food shops that showcase the best of the Causeway Coast’s culinary scene.
  • Learning about the region’s food heritage: Discover the rich history and traditions behind the area’s cuisine, and gain insights into how it has evolved over time.
  • Enjoy stunning scenery: As you travel between tasting locations, take in the breathtaking landscapes of the Causeway Coast, from rugged cliffs to picturesque fishing villages.

Whether you’re a passionate foodie or simply looking to try something new, these tours offer a delightful way to experience the flavours of the Causeway Coast. 

Places to eat in Ballycastle and the surrounding area

  • Ursa Minor: This excellent bakery serves light vegetarian lunches and great coffee. Open: Tue-Sat 9 am-4 pm and of course families welcome. 
  • Broughgammon Farm, Café & Shop: Fri-Sun, 11am-4pm. Offers seasonal suppers, kids’ club & other events. Economusée; farm tours available. 
  • Salthouse Hotel Ballycastle: This place has great views across to Rathlin Island. They offer excellent fine dining, casual dining, and afternoon tea options.

The best time to visit Antrim 

Anytime! Irish Landmark Trust properties are great to stay in at all times of the year and all seasons.

In August each year, Ballycastle hosts the Auld Lamas Fair. This is a nice time to visit and take in the atmosphere and local banter on the streets of Ballycastle. During the festival, the town is transformed by hundreds of stalls lining the streets and visitors as far as the eye can see. At the end of May, the Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival takes place.

The longer you stay at our properties, the cheaper the rate gets, so why not book that extra night? With so much to see and do in the area, you might need some extra time! To book a short stay at Magherintemple Gatelodge, click herePlease note that everything listed above is correct at the time of writing (Spring 2024). Remember to check the relevant links and web pages, as booking is required for most tourist attractions and restaurants.

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Booking Conditions


It is possible to reserve dates online at but bookings are not confirmed until a confirmation email is received from the bookings desk.     


Your booking must be for holiday purposes only.  Irish Landmark reserve the right to refuse hire for purposes other than holiday accommodation. When you make a booking, you accept full responsibility for all persons who will use or visit the property during the period booked.  When you book, you agree to indemnify us against all loss and damage arising directly or indirectly to the property and its contents from any deliberate or negligent act or omission by yourself, or any person accompanying you. 


The hiring contract shall be between the Hirer and Irish Landmark and made subject to these Booking Conditions . The Contract of Hire is not effective until Irish Landmark dispatches to the Hirer written confirmation of a booking. 


Irish Landmark reserves the right to increase or decrease the price of unsold holidays at any time. However, such amendments to price will not be applied to holidays already confirmed.   


All prices quoted are based on current prices and rates of V.A.T. at the time of going to press. Irish Landmark is unable to absorb increases in Value Added Tax or any new forms of taxation which may be introduced. Any such increases will be charged as notified and will be payable. 


All bookings can be paid for in full at time of booking. All bookings made within 12 weeks of stay must be paid in full at time of booking. Bookings made more than 12 weeks in advance of stay require a 30% non-refundable deposit with the balance due 12 weeks before arrival.  Irish Landmark shall be entitled to treat any failure to pay by the due date as a cancellation of the booking and will notify the Hirer by email.  The maximum number of payments for a booking will be limited to two – the deposit and balance payment.   A separate payment may be due where an amendment has been made to the original booking.  


Payments can be made by credit/debit card (Visa or Mastercard ONLY).    

Payments for properties in the Republic of Ireland are taken in Euros, payments for properties in Northern Ireland are taken in Great British Pounds. 


Please note that only one voucher can be used per booking.  Vouchers have a strict expiry date. 


Upon receipt of payment by our bookings office, you will receive a confirmation of your reservation.  All charges for the booking will be confirmed in this notification.  Once confirmation has been issued, the Hirer is responsible for the total advertised price of the property and any extras notified.   

AMENDMENTS TO BOOKINGS (excluding cancellations):    

Irish Landmark does not offer a transfer of dates option. A complete change of dates is treated as a cancellation 

CANCELLATION POLICY: We hope that you will not have to cancel your stay, or part of your reservation.  If for any reason this is unavoidable, cancellations must be notified by email to In the event of cancellation (this includes a reduction in number of nights) your deposit is non-refundable and the following cancellation charges will apply:  

Date of Cancellation 

Cancellation Charge 

More than 12 weeks before start date 

The deposit of 30% 

84 – 28 days before start date 

50% of total rental 

Fewer than 28 days 

100% of total rental 

Irish Landmark does not operate a cancellation insurance scheme for any reason, including Covid-19, and strongly recommends that all guests take out full holiday insurance cover.    

PARTY SIZE AND COMPOSITION:  In no circumstances may more than the number of persons listed on the booking form occupy the property overnight.   Irish Landmark reserves the right to refuse admission if this condition is not observed. Bookings can only be made by adults and cannot be accepted from anyone under the age of 21.  Irish Landmark only allows guest stays where the lead guest is aged 21 years or over.   


Upon receipt of final payment, you will receive Access Details and Important Information via email about your rental. This includes the contact information of the Local House Manager, directions to the property, arrival and departure time, etc. However, the specific arrival time must be agreed with the relevant local House Manager at least four days prior to holiday start date.  It is the responsibility of the Hirer to arrive at the property at the time agreed with the House Manager. Irish Landmark reserves the right to levy an additional charge if the property is not vacated in accordance with these terms on the day of departure.  


The number of day visitors will be limited to the capacity of the property – i.e., a 2-person property may have 2 day visitors, etc.   Prior written consent must be obtained from Irish Landmark Trust for additional numbers of day visitors. 

PERSONAL BELONGINGS: Baggage and personal belongings are always at the Hirers risk. No responsibility can be accepted for loss or damage to any car or its contents. 


Only certain Irish Landmark Trust properties accept a dog.  ALWAYS check this before you book.  Hirers who have made a reservation and are taking a dog will be required to read and agree to special terms, which details the conditions of bringing a dog to one of these properties.  Failure to comply with these conditions could result in the guest being asked to leave a property.  The rental cost is non-refundable in such cases.   


Irish Landmark respectfully request that you charge your electric vehicle at the nearest charging point and not at the property.  


The Hirer is responsible for the property and is expected to take all reasonable care of it. Our House Managers work hard to maintain and clean the buildings and aim to ensure that the property is in a satisfactory condition for your enjoyment.  We ask that you leave the property in a clean and tidy condition upon departure, including all equipment, utensils etc. If the property is left in an unsatisfactory condition and additional cleaning costs are incurred, Irish Landmark reserves the right to recover these costs from the Hirer.   All breakages and damage must be reported to the House Manager immediately so that they can be rectified. All breakages and damage are the legal responsibility of the Hirer and the cost of repair or replacement must be paid to Irish Landmark upon demand.   If there are problems relating to the functioning of the building, please let the House Manager know immediately. Please note that candles are NOT permitted at any Irish Landmark property. Smoking is not allowed inside any Irish Landmark property. 


While every effort has been made to ensure that the representations stated on our website, or any printed literature, are made in good faith, neither they nor any oral representations made by employees or representatives of Irish Landmark Trust will create liability on the part of Irish Landmark. 


There shall be no liability for any claim arising from the act, omission or neglect or default of Irish Landmark Trust, its employees or representatives unless proved to be done with intent to cause damage or recklessly and with knowledge that loss or danger would probably result. Irish Landmark’s agents, servants and employees or other representatives have no authority to waive or modify these Conditions other than in writing. 


On rare occasions Irish Landmark may need access to the property for essential maintenance work, should it be necessary, Irish Landmark will give you as much notice as is possible.   There is no need for you to stay in the property since our House Manager can accompany any such visits. 


If you have any complaint during your holiday, please contact the House Manager.  If the matter is not dealt with to your satisfaction, please email outlining details of your complaint.   


Irish Landmark reserves the right to refuse any booking and cancel any booking already made, if in its absolute discretion it considers this to be necessary. Where a booking is cancelled by Irish Landmark, every effort will be made to offer an alternative holiday at no increase in cost.  If the Hirer does not accept the alternative holiday offered, Irish Landmark will return to the Hirer the deposit paid and any other sum paid to Irish Landmark by the Hirer.  Liability for all consequential loss, damage and disappointments is accordingly limited to such return. 


It is the hirer’s responsibility to ensure they book a specific dog-friendly property if they are bringing a dog.  There are specific terms and conditions that to which the hirer must adhere: 

We allow a dog, but only when they have been booked in and paid for. The “Taking a Dog” option must be selected at time of booking.  A charge will apply.  

Our policy is strictly ONE DOG. If you arrive at the property with more than one dog the House Manger is entitled to deny you access to the property.  If it becomes known during/after your stay that more than one dog is/was with you, you may be asked to vacate the property and a charge of €100/£100 per dog will apply. 

You must bring your own crate/bed in which your dog can sleep.  Please also bring bowls, towels, and waste bags for your dog. 

Your dog must be house-trained and kept under proper control.  Dogs are STRICTLY not permitted on beds, sofas, or any furniture.  There is no exception to this rule.  

Before departure, please thoroughly clean the property, paying particular attention to removing pet hair from rugs and soft furnishings.  A vacuum cleaner is available to you.   

If there is evidence that you have not cleaned up adequately after your stay, you will be charged a flat rate of €100/£100.   

You must double-check that the outside area around the property is free of any foul. Dog fouling inside the property is completely unacceptable.  Guests will be asked to vacate the premises immediately if this is discovered.  

Your dog must not be left unsupervised in the property.  We ask that you take your dog with you when you go out.  Please be mindful of any livestock nearby. 


By accepting a confirmation of a reservation from Irish Landmark the lead guest agrees: 


I have read and agree to be bound by the Booking Conditions. 

I agree to be held responsible for the balance of hire for the property due and payable in accordance with these terms. 

I understand that most Irish Landmark properties have no television or internet access; that some have no washing machines or dishwashers; and that many have limited mobile phone coverage. 

I understand that as the Lead Person, I am responsible, before their arrival, for informing all guests of Irish Landmark’s booking conditions, and for their observance of same. 

If I am bringing a pet or having day visitors, I have particularly noted the special conditions that apply in these situations 


Hirers making a reservation over the telephone are deemed to have read all Booking Conditions and agree to be bound by them.   


Availability Calendar

Check availability for all of our properties at a glance here.

Republic of Ireland
Northern Ireland

Important Notes

1-night stays are not permitted.

Bank Holidays & Special Dates have a set minimum number of nights.

Deposits are strictly non-refundable & non-transferable.

Cancellation Fees will apply if you cancel your reservation.

Terms and Conditions apply to all bookings.

Special Offers and Discounts are not valid against existing bookings.

There are restrictions on arrival and departure dates over the Christmas and New Year periods.
Strictly no arrivals or departures on 24th, 25th and 31st of December.