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The A2 is a major road in Northern Ireland, a large section of which is often called the Antrim Coast Road because it follows the scenic coastline of County Antrim. It is a magnificent drive, on par with the best that the best that Italy or other European countries can offer and sometimes compared to the Big Sur coastal drive in California. It is not for the faint-hearted driver though; anybody nervous about the drive should stop and desist because you are only a danger to yourself and other drivers, walkers and cyclists. The road is mostly a single-carriageway; the road actually follows the majority of the coastline of Northern Ireland. It is connected in several places to other major roads.
Designed by the architect and engineer Charles Lanyon, the Antrim Coast section from Larne to Ballycastle was built in the mid-19th century following the potato famine, when many Irish people living in the remote Glens of Antrim died of hunger. The road was primarily designed to make the Glens more accessible, but incidentally and thanks to Lanyon’s skill as a designer, also became one of the most beautiful scenic drives in the British Isles and Europe.
The Antrim Coast Road begins at Larne and works its way around the entire coastline of the county to past Portrush. As the A2, it actually starts in Newry, County Down and ends in Derry City. Along the way are some of the most stunning scenic and heritage sights in Northern Ireland, including the Giants Causeway and Dunluce Castle. Seaside towns such as Ballycastle and Portrush make for very enjoyable stops to catch your breath or perhaps to get some Valium for your passengers!