Living in Antrim
County Antrim is the second largest county in Northern Ireland with a population of well over 600,000. Most of the city of Belfast, Northern Ireland’s largest city, lies within Antrim’s borders. If you are considering living in Antrim, you will be treated to a mixture of beautiful scenery and bustling city life as there are a number of large settlements in the county.
Getting in and out of the county is quite easy with excellent rail, sea and air transport on offer. Belfast International Airport is Northern Ireland’s premier airport and can be found at Aldergrove. The runways of this airport are shared with the British Royal Air Force with regular services to North America, Europe and Britain are available. The George Best Belfast City Airport is located on the east side of the city in County Down but is just minutes from the Antrim border.
Translink are the major rail company in Northern Ireland and have routes from Belfast to Antrim town, Ballymena, Londonderry, Carrickfergus and Coleraine. Antrim is also home to Larne and Belfast ports, two of the most important sea travel routes in Northern Ireland. Both ports offer a number of routes to Scotland and England. Belfast’s port handles almost 70% of Northern Ireland’s sea trade with 6,000 vessels landing in the port each year.
At present, there are six towns in the county (not including Belfast) that have a population of over 18,000. One of these, Lisburn, is actually considered to be a city. The Giant’s Causeway is one of Northern Ireland’s most famous tourist attractions. It is managed by the National Trust and consists of 40,000 basalt columns which interlock. UNESCO declared it to be a World Heritage Site in 1986 with the Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland proclaiming it to be a National Nature Reserve the following year. The columns vary in size with the largest standing almost 40 feet high.
The town of Bushmills is just a few miles away from the Causeway and is home to Ireland’s oldest working distillery. The distillery creates whiskey with five of its creations award winners. The distillery is owned by Diageo, the world’s largest business in the field of premium drinks. There are guided tours available from Monday to Saturday which last approximately one hour.
As well as offering the employment opportunities of Belfast, county Antrim has a number of thriving towns such as Ballymena and Lisburn. Ballymena is a prospering town with an array of fabulous historic buildings which makes it an ideal tourist location. Lisburn is the third largest city in Northern Ireland and was granted its status in 2002. Although Portrush is a relatively small town, it is the home to a world class golf course which is the only place outside of mainland Britain to have ever hosted the Open Championship. Portrush is also known for its sandy beaches and is another fantastic location for a holiday.
The vast size of Antrim means that there are a number of towns and cities where one can make a home. Whether you choose the fast pace of Belfast or the slower pace of Portrush, living in Antrim throws up a number of interesting opportunities.
Also check out Working in Antrim and History of Antrim, or view our current Antrim Jobs.