Mural of Princess Taise installed on a gable wall on Glentaise Drive in Ballycastle, Co Antrim | Artwork by Friz
The Glens of Antrim stretch over some 80km of shoreline, encompassing grasslands, forests, peat bogs, mountain uplands, churches and castles. The Antrim Coast Road, built in the 1830s, winds its way between bays and high cliff lines for nearly 160km. There are nine glens in all.
Glentaisie is named after Princess Taisie, the daughter of King Dorm of Rathlin Island. The glen is about 8km long and is the most northerly of the nine glens. This small glen lies to the western side of Knocklayd mountain, and winds it way along to Ballycastle.
One of Glentaisie’s most famous stories is that of ‘The Children of Lir’, who were turned into swans and swam off the coast for centuries until released from enchantment by the sound of a Christian bell.
In 1565, Glentaisie was the scene of a great battle between the O’Neill forces, led by Shane O’Neill, and the MacDonnell’s, led by the three brothers, James, Sorley Boy and Angus. James and his brother Sorley were taken prisoner, and Angus was killed that day. James later died in prison of his many wounds and Sorley Boy was freed, but the MacDonnells were avenged two years later when they murdered Shane O’Neill.