Armoy (from the Irish: Oirthear Maí meaning "the east plain") is a small village in County Antrim Northern Ireland. It is 6 miles from Ballycastle and 9 miles from Ballymoney and nestles under the shadow of Knocklayd mountain. It is on the River Bush and lies within the Moyle District Council area. The village is situated between two of the nine Glens of Antrim, Glenshesk and Glentaisie. Glenshesk is part of the Armoy Race Circuit.
There are the remains of the “Round Tower” which stands in the grounds of St. Patrick's Parish Church. (Church Bends). The tower is about 11 m high and has three storeys. An early monastery was once founded about AD 460 by Saint Olcán, a disciple of Saint Patrick. At a time, Armoy was the main religious settlement in the Irish part of the kingdom of Dál Riata.
In the 2001 Census it had a population of 414 people
The “ Golden Plough” Limepark. No less than nine times in the last 50-odd years have Northern Ireland won the World Ploughing Championships, despite being the smallest region taking part.
A picturesque Presbyterian Church sits on the edge of the village. The church’s striking spire, with a Viking ship weathervane on top, has been described as ’a miniature replica of the Eiffel Tower’
The Armoy Armada was established in 1977. The Armada consisted of Mervyn Robinson, Frank Kennedy and brothers Joey & Jim Dunlop. The Armoy Armada quartet covered 3 seasons of racing from 1977 to 1979 and through their exploits they became the inspiration to many of todays road racers. During their time these men demonstrated acts of commitment, dedication, camaraderie and talent proving that the Armoy Armada are the Original legends in the sport of Road Racing.
More information on the Armada can be found on the Armada Page (tab above)
When you’re in Armoy visit the park on the bank of the River Bush and see the Armada Statue and the specially designed pathways with inlays of the NW200, and Ulster Grand Prix race circuit's highlighted.
Armoy Legends are not only Road racers!
This group of trees known locally as ‘The Dark Hedges’ are thought to be around 300 years old. They are reputedly haunted by a spectral ‘grey lady’ and form an arc over the road. They have become a much-photographed natural monument and in the picture you can see Armoy Armada legend Jim Dunlop.
Old Bushmills Distillery was founded in 1608 and is now owned by the major drinks company Diageo. Bushmills whiskey is produced, matured, and bottled on-site at the Bushmills Distillery located 2 miles south of the Giant's Causeway. The distillery is a tourist attraction, with around 110,000 visitors. In May 2008, the Bank of Ireland issued a new series of sterling banknotes in Northern Ireland which all feature an illustration of the Old Bushmills Distillery
The Giant's Causeway is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption. It is located on the northeast coast about two miles north of the town of Bushmills. The Giant's Causeway was named as the fourth greatest natural wonder in the UK. The tops of the columns form stepping stones that lead from the cliff foot and disappear under the sea. Most of the columns are hexagonal, although there are also some with four, five, seven and eight sides. The tallest are about 12 metres (36 ft) high, and the solidified lava in the cliffs is 28 metres thick in places. Legend has it that the Irish warrior Finn McCool built the causeway to walk to Scotland. The Giant's Causeway is the most popular tourist attraction in Northern Ireland. The NEW causeway visitor centre includes; Interactive exhibition exploring the Giant's Causeway, Outdoor audio guide availiable providing information in nine languages. Audio guide for visually impaired visitors also available. Grab-and-go coffee shop, Local and unique gifts for sale in shop, Tourist Information Centre, Bureau de Change and Parking across three car parks with added Park and Ride facility. No wonder it's Northern Irelands most visited tourist attraction.
Joey Dunlop, born in Ballymoney in 1952, was affectionately known to motorcycle racing fans and competitors alike as, 'King of the Roads' and 'Yer Maun.' Through his courage and ambition he became one of the most successful riders of all time. His incredible sporting career included five Formula One World Championships; 13 wins at the North West 200; 24 wins at the Ulster Grand Prix and a world record of 26 wins at the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy. His sporting achievements were recognised by Her Majesty the Queen when he was awarded an MBE in 1986. Ten years later he was presented with an OBE for his remarkable humanitarian work with children in Eastern Europe.
Tragically Joey lost his life whilst racing in Estonia on 2nd July 2000. It is estimated that 60,000 people from across the world came to Ballymoney to attend his funeral. In May 2001 Ballymoney Borough Council officially opened the Joey Dunlop Memorial Garden. People from across the world arrive in Ballymoney every day to spend a quiet moment at the Joey Dunlop Memorial Garden and then have some welcome refreshments at nearby Joey's Bar. The town has become a focal point for processions of bikers on their way to road races and also for Joey's thousands of loyal fans who remember his many legendary triumphs.
Call into Joey’s Bar, next door to Ballymoney Train Station and just down the street from the Joey & Robert Dunlop Memorial.
Robert Dunlop (November 25, 1960 – May 15, 2008) was the younger brother of fellow road racer, the late Joey Dunlop, and like Joey he died after a crash while racing. After an apprenticeship on short circuits, the teenage Dunlop made his road race debut at the 1979 Temple 100. A winner on the Isle of Man course at his first attempt he finished on a TT podium 14 times. 1986 and Robert Dunlop beats Gene McDonnell in a close finish to claim his first NW 200 win in the 350cc race. 1990 and Robert Dunlop storms to a hat trick of wins comprising two Superbike Race victories on the legendary JPS Norton and the 125cc race win.1991 Robert Dunlop scores a second consecutive hat trick with 125cc, 250cc and 750cc wins he went on to claim another hat trick of wins in 1993 & 1994. 2008 legend Robert Dunlop loses his life after crashing at Mather's Cross at the NW200 practice. Less than two days later his son Michael won the 250cc race.
Roberts Memorial garden is next to his brother Joey’s. It features a polished granite obelisk and a bronze sculpture of Robert.
In this beautiful setting visitors have time to reflect on the unprecedented achievements of these much loved international motorcycling legends.
When your in Ballymoney, Visit Ballymoney Museum . The museum holds a unique collection of artefacts and memorabilia associated with Irish Motor Cycle Road Racing and in particular Robert & Joey Dunlop.
A short coastal footpath leads to Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. On the way, there are wonderful vantage points to stop and take in the natural beauty. The geology, flora and fauna have won Carrick-a-Rede recognition as an area of special scientific interest. Fulmars, kittywakes, guillemots and razorbills breed on the islands close to the rope bridge. Traditionally fishermen built the bridge to Carrick-a-Rede Island over a 23m-deep and 20m-wide chasm to check their salmon nets. The rope bridge originally consisted of a single rope hand rail which has been replaced by a two hand railed bridge. Today visitors are drawn here simply to take the rope bridge challenge!
The ferry to Rathlin Island travels just six miles across the "Sea of Moyle". The island is six miles long, one mile wide, "L" shaped and home to a small population of around seventy people. Amidst the rugged landscape of this isolated island, you can let your mind wander and discover a tranquillity and beauty that is so unexpected. Traditional Ferry’s & fishing boats leave from Ballycastle harbour daily.
There are many tales of myth and mystery surrounding Rathlin, the most famous tells of Robert the Bruce. In 1306, the Scottish King was driven from Scotland by Edward I of England and took refuge on Rathlin. While he was on Rathlin, it is said that he watched a spider persevering again and again to bridge a gap with its web. Eventually it succeeded. Robert the Bruce took heart from the spider's efforts, raised fresh forces and returned to Scotland to fight for his kingdom. He too, eventually succeeded and in 1314, regained the crown of Scotland.