Larne is both the most modem and most ancient of places.
The name of the town is believed to have derived from a prince called Lathar, son of an ancient Irish king, who was granted the lands by his father. The area came to be called Lathar-na, meaning the lands of Lathar and this has been anglicised to Larne. Archaeological digs have produced remains and artifacts in the area, suggesting an ancient culture which lived close to the shores of the North Channel and traded with others around the coast of Scotland.
Nowadays the trade links still remain - the port is one of the most modem roll-on/roll-off terminals in the United Kingdom and every day ships take passengers and goods to and from the coast of Scotland. Today the town combines an historical past with modem port, shopping and leisure facilities. In addition to boasting many attractions of its own, Larne is ideally located as a base for those wishing to explore the surrounding area, the Glens of Antrim and the scenic Antrim Coast Road which stretches northwards from the town through The Nine Glens.
Chaine Memorial Tower
Situated at the mouth of Larne Harbour and reached via Chaine Memorial Road (access off Curran Road via Bay Road). The Chaine tower is a memorial to James Chaine, a former Member of Parliament for the area, who developed Larne's short sea route to Scotland, as well as establishing the town as a transatlantic port.
The memorial, built in 1888, is a replica of an Irish Round Tower.
Chaine Park is one of the parklands that overlook the channel which leads to Larne Harbour and is attractively laid out, either to walk around or sit and enjoy. Situated off the main coastal route towards the Glens of Antrim, the park has delightful views.
Larne Historical Centre
Situated in the Carnegie Arts Centre at Victoria Road, convenient to the Fairhill car park, the town's historical centre offers a glimpse into a rich and varied past. There are hundreds of old photographs, as well as artifacts ranging from old school desks to ship's anchors and everything in between!
A major feature is a representation of a cottage interior, which gives some idea of life for ordinary people in the area in bygone years. The centre is an invaluable place to start if you are researching family connections within the area.
For those who wish to experience the atmosphere of a traditional country market, Larne's public market is held on a Wednesday morning at the Market Yard in Station Road.
Situated close to the harbour is the ruin of Olderfleet Castle tower house.
A castle was built here by the Scots Bisset family in the 13th century.
They welcomed a Scottish invasion fleet, commanded by Edward Bruce - brother of Robert the Bruce - in 1315.
Tourist Information Centre
This modern award winning centre is an ideal starting point for the tourist.
With both local and provincial tourist information available. The centre offers a three dimensional presentation on the Coast Road, offering a flavour of this most unique of attractions. There is also a tableaux displaying the coastal area with its castles, historical sites, forest parks and other notable landmarks. The staff are friendly and delighted to help all who visit the centre, whether they require accommodation information or just brochures to take away and browse through. Services available include - Bureau de Change, accommodation booking, tickets and reservations, free information and an excellent range of gifts and crafts.
The Town Park, situated off the Glenann Road and adjacent to the Chaine Park, is an excellent activity base for all the family. There are tennis courts, a putting green and children's playground, while the less energetic can have a stroll to the Bankheads area which overlooks the North Channel, the harbour and the mouth of Larne Lough.
An imposing statue featuring three figures is located at Curran Park on Curran Road and marks the role played by 18th century Ulster emigrants in America. The statue, which was unveiled in 1992, represents a family group on their way to an emigrant ship (the fIrst of which, The Friend's Goodwill, sailed from Larne in May 1717).
The statue has a perfect and peaceful surrounding in the Curran Park, which has beautiful trees and flower beds and a fine view overlooking Larne Lough and the hills beyond. Curran Park is also the venue for public bowling and putting greens.