Glenariffe (Gleann Airbh) is situated approximately 25 miles north of Larne, 18 miles from Ballymena and 40 miles from Coleraine, and is comprised of more than twenty seven townlands and quarter lands. The glen is the result of a combination of volcanic activity and glaciations and is a perfect example of a U – shaped valley. The fertile plain extends from the one mile, sandy beach to about 3 miles inland between the Carrivemurphy / Glenariffe mountain ranges and Lurig (or Lurg) plateau. The mountain range is Lurig or Lurg meaning a long shine which the plateau is and Lurgeadan/Lurigeadan is that brow of the mountain range overlooking the boat slip.
The quaint and picturesque village of Waterfoot, which was described in Lieut. Chaytor’s 1830 survey as an ancient Danish settlement, is the largest place of habitation in the glen and, although small, is a popular holiday resort. On the northern side are the caves which were inhabited until mid 1800s.
The distinctive pattern of ladder farms, which extend to the Lurig plateau, gives each farm an equal share of lowland pasture, hill-ground and mountain grazing. The forest park, waterfalls and scenic surroundings have made Glenariffe a tourist attraction since the mid 1800s and rightfully earned it the name of Queen of the Glens.
There have been many variations of spelling; however, Glenariffe is the most locally accepted English spelling. Some people maintain this means the glen of the ploughman; however a local scholar held the theory that the name derived from the townland of Foriff (Foriffe) – glen of the pasture area.
An initial survey of Glenariff identified four clachans – Ballyhuriman (1) and Ballinameela (2) in the townland of Kilmore, Feddanranny (3) in the townland of Glasmullen and Galbally (Galboly) (4) in the townland of Galboly Upper. We identified some other clusters which we thought might have been clachans – read more.