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  • Irish: Oileán Mhic Aodha
Near Browns Bay, Islandmagee - - 172680.jpg
Near Browns Bay, Islandmagee, in 2006
Islandmagee is located in Northern Ireland
Islandmagee shown within Northern Ireland
Country Northern Ireland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district BT40
Dialling code 028
EU Parliament Northern Ireland
List of places
Northern Ireland
Coordinates: 54°47′47″N 5°42′11″W / 54.79643°N 5.70304°W / 54.79643; -5.70304

Islandmagee (from Irish: Oileán Mhic Aodha, meaning "Magee’s island/peninsula")[1] is a peninsula and civil parish on the east coast of County Antrim, Northern Ireland, located between the towns of Larne and Carrickfergus. It is part of the Mid and East Antrim Borough Council area and is a sparsely populated rural community with a long history since the mesolithic period. In the early medieval period it was known as Semne, a petty-kingdom within Ulaid.

As part of an agricultural crop rotation programme of old beans were grown to supply nitrogen to the soil. "Bean Eaters" became a nickname for the people of Islandmagee.

It is the site of Northern Ireland's main power station Ballylumford and is the terminating point of the Scotland-Northern Ireland gas pipeline.


The name comes from Mac Aodha (Magee) a prominent Irish family in the area. An earlier Irish name was Rinn Seimhne (peninsula of (the district of) Seimhne) from an original tribal name.[1]

The Bissett family held the tenancy of the peninsula in Elizabeth I's reign, their rent being an annual offering of goshawks, birds which bred on the rugged white chalk cliffs nearby. It was the site of a witch trial in 1710 where eight women were convicted of witchcraft and sentenced to a year's imprisonment.


  • Islandmagee is the home of the Ballylumford Dolmen. Known locally as the "Druid's Altar", this megalithic monument could date to 2500 BC (The Early Bronze Age), or be the remains of an earlier Neolithic simple passage tomb dating to c. 4000 BC. It consists of four upright stones, with a heavy capstone and a fallenstone within the structure. This may have been put there to block the entrance to the tomb.[2]
  • Neolithic houses have been excavated at Ballyharry, on the Islandmagee peninsula.[3] Finds included Neolithic pottery, flint arrowheads, javelin heads, polished stone axe fragments and quernstones.[4]


  • Islandmagee F.C. plays in the Northern Amateur Football League.
  • Larne Golf Club (9 holes) lies on the peninsula, in addition to two horseriding centres - Rocklyn stables and Islandmagee Riding Centre.
  • Fishing continues to be the most common sport practiced in the region.

Civil parish of Island Magee[edit]

The peninsula is part of the parish of Island Magee. The boundaries of the parish and the peninsula match.


The civil parish contains the following townlands:[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Island Magee". Place Names NI. Retrieved 4 May 2015. 
  2. ^ "Ballylumford Dolmen". Discover Northern Ireland. Retrieved 5 December 2007. [permanent dead link]
  3. ^ O'Sullivan, Aidan; Breen, Colin (2007). Maritime Ireland. An Archaeology of Coastal Communities. Stroud: Tempus. p. 65. ISBN 978-0-7524-2509-2. 
  4. ^ "Investigations at Ballyharry Farm, Ballyharry, County Antrim" (PDF). Centre for Archaeological Fieldwork. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 June 2011. Retrieved 5 December 2009. 
  5. ^ "Islandmagee". IreAtlas Townlands Database. Retrieved 4 May 2015. 

External links[edit]