Castles, Towers & Gardens Road Trip

Take a road trip around Lough Neagh to explore some fascinating heritage sites including castle ruins, round towers, secluded islands and beautiful gardens. Our itinerary suggests where to stop for lunch and where to rest your head for an unforgettable trip to Ireland’s largest lake. We’ve designed the itinerary to be complete in one day, but you can change it to suit your schedule. Many of the places featured will need to be booked in advance.​

Itinerary Timings

Arrive 10am – Antrim Round Tower – Depart 10.30am

Arrive 10.40am – Antrim Castle Gardens – Depart 12.15pm

Arrive 12.30pm – The Boat House (lunch stop) – Depart 2pm

Arrive 2.30pm – Sandy Bay Marina (trip to Ram’s Island) – Depart 5pm

Arrive 5.30pm – Clenaghans accommodation – stay overnight

Arrive 7.00pm – The Stillhouse for dinner​​​​​​​​

Antrim Round Tower

Begin the day at Antrim Round Tower, where you can arrange to meet Donal from Belfast Mic Tours. Let Donal guide you around the scenic 28 metre Tower while telling you about the monastic settlement dating back to the 10th century.

We recommend you book a tour guide for Antrim Round Tower, Clotworthy House and Antrim Castle Gardens; Belfast Mic Tours:  Tel: +44 (0)7563 167521 Email:

Antrim Round Tower: 14 Steeple Rd, Antrim BT41 1BL

Clothworthy House & Antrim Castle Gardens

Make your way to Clotworthy House & Antrim Castle gardens, where with the help of Mike’s pictures and engaging storytelling, you will step back in time to see what life was like when the Skeffington family began laying out the gardens in the 17th century. While the castle itself was destroyed by fire in 1922, the principal Anglo-Dutch water features of the gardens have remained largely intact.

Clotworthy House & Antrim Castle Gardena: Randalstown Rd, Antrim BT41 4LH

The Boathouse Restaurant

After a fascinating history lesson, continue on to the Boathouse for a delicious lunch. The Boathouse restaurant is located at the Gateway centre at Antrim Lough shore. The restaurant has a mouth-watering menu serving quality fish dishes, classics with a twist, and stunning wood fired pizzas made in an authentic Italian pizza oven.

The Boathouse offers spectacular views over Lough Neagh, thanks to the stunning glass exterior. A view you’ll never tire of, while enjoying delicious, freshly cooked dishes, tempting desserts and home-bakes.

We recommend you make a reservation in advance, particular during the weekend:

THE BOATHOUSE, 72 LOUGH RD, BT41 4DQ (028) 9433 9017

Ram’s Island

Continue your journey down the eastern shore to Sandy Bay Marina, hop aboard the Island Warrior and take a short boat journey to Ram’s Island where you will explore a round tower from the remains of a 1000 year old Celtic monastic settlement and the ruins of the O’Neill family’s nineteenth century summer house.

Your guide will explain the history of the island, how it was last permanently inhabited in the 1920s by the Cardwell family who were caretakers for the O’Neill’s. The remains of Cardwell’s harbour, left dry by the lowering of Lough Neagh, can be seen near the ruins of the Cardwell’s house.  The island is brimming with World War history, and features a refurbished Guinness barge where visitors can enjoy light refreshments by prior arrangement.

The tour and boat journey across will need to be booked in advance CLICK HERE

The departure point for the boat to Ram’s Island is: Sandy bay Marina 17 A Shore Road, Lough Neagh, Glenavy BT28 2LQ​

Clenaghans Apartments

Head on to Soldierstown where you will find a historical gem, Clenaghans Apartments, which has been in the same family for almost three centuries. Boasting 3 large and 4 regular-sized self-catering apartments on the property, each equipped with fully functioning kitchens, relaxing living spaces and the comfiest of double beds. Each has its own character and has been finished with the utmost attention to detail. Once you have dropped your bags off and settled in it’s time to head for dinner.

We recommend you book your stay in one of Clenaghans Apartments in advance:

Clenaghans Accommodation, 48 Soldierstown Road, Craigavon, BT67 0ES

The StillHouse

Stop in at The StillHouse, a family owned Distillery & Gastropub in the beautiful village of Moira Co Down.  It’s the home of award winning RubyBlue Potato Vodkas and Fruit Liqueurs. You can book a tour of the small batch distillery, sample the spirits and seasonal creations from the liquid deli or go to Gin School and Distil your very own bottle (so long as you’re not the designated driver)!

The Kitchen team are passionate about flavour and true advocates of local produce, Blackpudding Scotch egg, Guinness braised ham hock and sticky toffee pudding are favourites on the menu.  After dining inside, why not head out to the beer garden to enjoy a drink with the locals and relax after a long adventurous day around the shores of Lough Neagh.

Advance reservation recommended:

If you would like to enjoy a drink, please take a short taxi ride to the StillHouse: 61 Main St, Moira, Craigavon BT67 0LQ​​​​​​​​​​​

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