Ess-Na-Crub Falls, Northern Ireland

Glenariff Forest Park has a number of wonderful waterfalls, so it’s definitely a great stop if you’re looking specifically for waterfalls in Northern Ireland. Ess-Na-Larach, in my opinion, is the most scenic of the falls in the park. Ess-Na-Crub is probably the next most scenic falls.

Ess-Na-Crub is a bit shorter than Ess-Na-Larach, but it’s surprisingly wider than the other waterfalls. So you definitely get a nice variety of waterfalls in the park. And the hike is relatively short and quick, which is a benefit (unless you don’t want to leave the beauty of the park). There is a bit of consistent downhill hike along the trail, but it isn’t terrible. Just realize you have to head back uphill somehow!

Directions:

Glenariff Forest Park is very easy to find, as it is just off A43 and is very clearly signed along the road.  The decision to make is whether you approach from the north or south.

  • If you’ll be heading north toward the park, A43 starts in Ballymena. (If you’re coming from A26, A26 turns briefly into M2, which you can exit at exit 11 and take a few roads to connect into A43.)
  • If you’ll be heading south toward the park, A43 starts in Waterfoot off of A2. It’s pretty clearly signed.

After you turn onto the road entering into the park, you’ll drive along a one-way road for a portion, which leads directly into the parking area.  Then you follow the signs to the trail head.

Accessibility: 6/10 (moderate, the trail is consistently downhill)
Height: 35′
Length of Hike: 0.7 miles round-trip

Ess-Na-Crub (4)

Ess-Na-Crub in May 2014

Where in the World is Ess-Na-Crub Waterfall?

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Ess-Na-Larach Falls, Northern Ireland

Ess-Na-Larach (6)

Ess-Na-Larach Waterfall in May 2014

I’m about to head to England and Wales, and figured I would post about a waterfall in another part of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland. I visited Ireland and Northern Ireland in 2014, and had an absolutely wonderful time. The scenery is stunning, and it’s no wonder why so many people visit the island.

One of the best places to to see waterfalls in Northern Ireland is at Glenariff Forest Park. When I arrived at the park, it was a kind of cloudy and humid, and yet it seemed to fit the mood of the island. Not many people were visiting the park on this day. I first stopped into the visitor’s center and paid the entrance fee. Then it was off to the falls. Ess-Na-Larach is one of the two named waterfalls in the park, with other smaller waterfalls along the way. Ess-Na-Crub is the other named falls. (There are also some very tall, ephemeral waterfalls not terribly far away that you can view from the parking area.) Of the two named waterfalls, this one is probably the more scenic one as the two drops carve their way through the rock.

Directions:

Glenariff Forest Park is very easy to find, as it is just off A43 and is very clearly signed along the road.  The decision to make is whether you approach from the north or south.

  • If you’ll be heading north toward the park, A43 starts in Ballymena. (If you’re coming from A26, A26 turns briefly into M2, which you can exit at exit 11 and take a few roads to connect into A43.)
  • If you’ll be heading south toward the park, A43 starts in Waterfoot off of A2. It’s pretty clearly signed.

After you turn onto the road entering into the park, you’ll drive along a one-way road for a portion, which leads directly into the parking area.  Then you follow the signs to the trail head.

Accessibility: 6/10 (moderate, the trail is consistently downhill)
Height: 35′
Length of Hike: 0.7 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Ess-Na-Larach Waterfall?

Waterfall near Glenariff Forest Park, Northern Ireland

A waterfall near Glenariff Forest Park (May 2014)

There are a number of impressive waterfalls in Glenariff Forest Park, but there are also a number of interesting waterfalls near the park. As I was driving there, I noticed at least two waterfalls. These were tall waterfalls, each hundreds of feet tall. And yet there was no way to stop and view them. The road was very winding and I was trying to pay as much attention as possible to the road, since everything was on the “opposite” side!

So while I couldn’t stop and photograph these two falls I had seen, I was able to photograph a third waterfall from the parking area that leads to the other trails. From the parking area, I was looking east at forested cliffs, and noticed this waterfall. I’m a bad judge at height, but this is in the hundreds of feet range, since I’m relatively far away from it. I don’t know if this particular waterfall is extremely exciting, but it reminds me that there are often more waterfalls that nobody has ever mentioned, and that some of these are probably taller than the “tallest” we always hear about.

Directions:

Glenariff Forest Park is very easy to find, as it is just off A43 and is very clearly signed along the road.  The decision to make is whether you approach from the north or south.

  • If you’ll be heading north toward the park, A43 starts in Ballymena. (If you’re coming from A26, A26 turns briefly into M2, which you can exit at exit 11 and take a few roads to connect into A43.)
  • If you’ll be heading south toward the park, A43 starts in Waterfoot off of A2. It’s pretty clearly signed.

After you turn onto the road entering into the park, you’ll drive along a one-way road for a portion, which leads directly into the parking area.

Accessibility: 10/10 (viewed from parking lot)
Height: ~150′ (guessing)
Length of Hike: “roadside”

Where in the World is this Waterfall near Glenariff Forest Park?

Waterfall in Glenariff Forest Park, Northern Ireland

After researching waterfalls in Northern Ireland, I was excited to go Glenariff Forest Park. There were a number of waterfalls in the park that looked like they could be great. So I became a little bit concerned when I discovered that the Giro d’Italia was going to be occurring, causing many road closures exactly in the areas I was going to be travelling! I understand that Ireland and Northern Ireland were very excited to be hosting the start of the race, but I had no idea this was happening and didn’t really understand what this meant for getting from point A to B in Northern Ireland.

I decided to start my journey early, and managed to avoid any road closures. My first stop was Gleno Falls just northwest of Belfast. I looked at the schedule, and realized I should have enough time to drive along the Coast Road (A2) before it shuts down. It’s a very beautiful (and curvy) drive, and passes through many charming towns. I was able to get to Glenariff Forest Park with time to spare. I went to the kiosk to pay the £4.50 entrance fee, only to realize it required coins (of which I had none). Luckily, there was a cafe/gift shop where I was able to pay the fee.

I then started my hike from the parking lot to the Waterfalls Trail. A few other trails also start and connect into this trail, though the trails are very well signed. You can wander around a bit, but the first major waterfall you’ll come to is Ess-Na-Larach. (There is another waterfall further upstream, but due to storm damage, it is currently inaccessible.) After this, you can continue hiking to Ess-Na-Crub, the other major waterfall. In between, though, is this smaller waterfall. There are other drops along the river, but this is the most significant of the “unnamed” drops. It’s approximately 8-10′ in height. With all of these amazing waterfalls, and the generally beautiful atmosphere, Glenariff Forest Park is really a great place to visit. (I say this remembering that it rained for a good 15 minutes as I walked back to my car. That just adds to the ambiance!)

Directions:

Glenariff Forest Park is very easy to find, as it is just off A43 and is very clearly signed along the road.  The decision to make is whether you approach from the north or south.

  • If you’ll be heading north toward the park, A43 starts in Ballymena. (If you’re coming from A26, A26 turns briefly into M2, which you can exit at exit 11 and take a few roads to connect into A43.)
  • If you’ll be heading south toward the park, A43 starts in Waterfoot off of A2. It’s pretty clearly signed.

After you turn onto the road entering into the park, you’ll drive along a one-way road for a portion, which leads directly into the parking area.  Then you follow the signs to the trailhead.

Accessibility: 6/10 (the trail is consistently downhill)
Height: 10′
Length of Hike: 0.9 miles round-trip

A smaller waterfall in Glenariff Forest Park (May 2014)

Where in the World is this Waterfall in Glenariff Forest Park?