Ballymoney is a town historically in County Antrim in Northern Ireland; those counties have been abolished and it's now part of Causeway Coast and Glens District. Baile Monaidh means "homestead on the peatland" and it was a small agricultural town along the Belfast-Coleraine road, now A26. In the late 20th century it burgeoned into a commuter town and in 2011 the population was 10,402.
Ballymoney's best known tourist attraction, Dark Hedges, is 8 miles northeast on the road to Ballycastle.
Trains run hourly, daily from Belfast Great Victoria Street via other Belfast stations, Antrim (for International Airport) and Ballymena, taking 80 min to Ballymoney. They continue to Coleraine (change for Ulster University and Portrush) and Derry.
1 Ballymoney railway station is central in town.
Goldline Bus 218 / 219 runs every two hours from Belfast Europa station via Antrim, Ballymena, and Cloughmills, taking 90 min to Ballymoney and continuing to Coleraine. Ballymoney has nothing so grand as a bus station, but the main stop is on High St by the Town Hall.
By road from Belfast follow M2 and A26, an hour should do it.
Bus 373 trundles round town four times a day; visitors are unlikely to use it.
You need a car or at least a bike to reach Dark Hedges.
- Ballymoney Museum by the Town Hall is open M-Sa 09:00-17:00.
- 1 The Dark Hedges are a half-mile avenue of beech trees lining Bregagh Lane near its junction with Ballinlea Road, a mile west of Armoy. They were planted in 1755 to make a stately approach and vista for Gracehill House, which is now a golf club and hotel. They've folded together to create a tunnel, atmospheric when in leaf, but distinctly gaunt in winter. 250 years have taken a toll and many gaps have appeared, especially after it was the location for "King's Road" in Game of Thrones. The narrow lane became mobbed by traffic, and the extra weight damaged the tree roots, until in 2017 the Council banned traffic from the lane. Many ignore this, but it's best to park 150 yards east off Ballinlea Road. In July 2021 at first sight the car park looks closed for construction, but actually you can get in and out and it's free.
- 2 Derrykeighan Old Church is the ruin of a 17th century church. During repairs, it was found to contain a stone inscribed in elaborate 1st century La Tène style. This early Celtic style is rare in Ireland, and how the stone came to be part of the church fabric is unknown.
- Joey Dunlop Leisure Centre southeast edge of Ballymoney on Garryduff Rd is open M-F 09:30-22:00, Sa 09:30-17:30, Su 13:30-17:30.
- 1 Kilrea is a village 10 km south of Ballymoney, west bank of the River Bann in County Londonderry. It has an Aqua Park, golf club and sports centre.
- Motorbike races are held on-road on nearby highways, so expect closures and diversions. Northwest 200 is in May, on the triangle between Coleraine, Portstewart and Portrush. Armoy Road Races are late July, with the next on 29-30 July 2022.
- Ballymoney Drama Festival is held over a week in Feb / March. Dates for 2022 are TBA.
- Balleymoney Show is an agricultural fair in June, with the next on 3-4 June 2022.
- The main store is Tesco on Castle St, open M-Sa 07:00-23:00, Su 13:00-18:00.
- Molly's, 24 Main St BT53 6AL, ☏ . Daily 13:00-21:00. Good friendly eatery, big portions, caters for GF.
- Flash In The Pan, 51 Queens St BT53 6JD, ☏ . M-Th 11:00-00:00, F Sa 11:0-02:00, Su 12:00-00:00. Long established and late-opening chippie, a magnet for the post-pub crowd.
- 1 Manor House, 69 Bridge St, Kilrea BT51 5RR, ☏ . Daily 12:00-20:30. Plush restaurant and event space for weddings and the like.
- Bush Tavern, 15 Market St BT53 6EA, ☏ . M-Th 11:30-00:00, F Sa 11:30-01:00, Su 12:30-22:00. Pub with TV sport and live music.
- Manor Hotel, 69 Main St BT53 6AN, ☏ . Hotel with lively bar right in town centre.
- 1 Ken-Mar House, 20 Queen St BT53 6JB, ☏ . Clean welcoming B&B in town centre. B&B double £60.
- 2 Narrow Gauge B&B, 20 Greengage Lane BT53 6HW, ☏ . Simple friendly B&B near the hospital. B&B double £55.
- 3 Harmony Hill Country House, 64 Balnamore Rd BT53 7PS, ☏ . 18th century mill-owner's house, normally offers B&B but in 2021 only available for self-catering. Sleeps 21 in 8 bedrooms, 6 are en suite.
- Hedges Hotel, 139A Ballinlea Rd, Stranocum BT53 8PX, ☏ . Upscale hotel and golf resort a short walk from Dark Hedges. Closed ufn.
As of March 2021, Ballymoney has 4G from EE and 5G from O2 and Three, but a poor signal from Vodafone.
- Portstewart marks the start of the scenic and very touristy Antrim coast, with Portrush, Bushmills, Giant's Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede Bridge.
- Ballycastle has ferries to Rathlin Island. Southeast are the Antrim Glens.
- Belfast and Derry are both must-see destinations.