on the north east coast of County Antrim in the Provence of Ulster,
owes its existence according to legend to the mother of Finn MacCool's
(A legendary local giant) she was on her way to Scotland when
she dropped it. The island is a 45 minute boat trip from Ballycastle
it is L shaped and about six miles long. On the west side of the
island a porcellanite factory has been discovered along with flint
implements it is reckoned to be about 6000 years old.
On the east side of Rathlin Island near the
lighthouse is the cave where the Scottish leader Robert Bruce hid
after being defeated by the English at Perth in 1306. In this cave
he observed a spider spinning its web this taught him the virtue
of patience, he later returned to Scotland and was victorious at
the Battle of Bannochburn.
In 1315 his brother Edward came to Ireland with
a large army, he ravaged the country for three years before
being defeated at Fauhart near Dundalk Co Louth in 1318, the country
was left in a state of utter desolation as a result of the Bruce
campaign and a famine that had developed in Europe.
Rathlin Island was alleged
to be the first place in Ireland to be raided by the Vikings in
the 8th century, although Lambay Island off the coast of Dublin
claims this also. Legend has it that the King of Norway Nabghoden
sent a delegation to Ireland to find him a wife. On Rathlin they
found Taisie Taobhgheal, daughter of Donn the King of Ireland who
was already betrothed to Cobhghal. They tried to take her away by
force as the wedding was underway and in the ensuing battle the
Norwegian king was killed. Land on the mainland was given to the
newly weds, who built a palace at Glentaise. (Taisie Glen) Giving
one of Antrim's nine glens its name.