Vintage style art print of yachts sailing on Rathlin Sound between Rathlin Island and Ballycastle, County Antrim, with Rue Lighthouse and Fairhead in the background.
Rathlin Island is an island and civil parish off the coast of County Antrim in Northern Ireland. It is the only inhabited offshore island of Northern Ireland, with a steadily growing population of approximately 150 people, and is the most northerly inhabited island off the coast of the island of Ireland. The reverse L-shaped Rathlin Island is 4 miles (6 km) from east to west, and 2.5 miles (4 km) from north to south.
The highest point on the island is Slieveard, 134 metres (440 feet) above sea level. Rathlin is 15.5 miles (25 km) from the Mull of Kintyre, the southern tip of Scotland’s Kintyre peninsula. It is part of the Causeway Coast and Glens council area, and is represented by the Rathlin Development & Community Association.
A ferry operated by Rathlin Island Ferry Ltd connects the main port of the island, Church Bay, with the mainland at Ballycastle, 6 miles (10 km) away. Two ferries operate on the route – the fast foot-passenger-only catamaran ferry Rathlin Express and a purpose built larger ferry, commissioned in May 2017, Spirit of Rathlin, which carries both foot passengers and a small number of vehicles, weather permitting. Rathlin Island Ferry Ltd won a six-year contract for the service in 2008 providing it as a subsidised “lifeline” service. There is an ongoing investigation on how the transfer was handled between the Environment Minister and the new owners.