Blackcave Tunnel and the Devil's Churn – Larne, Northern Ireland - Atlas Obscura

Blackcave Tunnel and the Devil's Churn

The "Black Arch" guards the entrance to the picturesque Glens of Antrim. 


Blackcave Tunnel, or “The Black Arch,” as it is known as by most local people, sits at the start of the legendary Antrim Coast Road on the outskirts of Larne. The road winds through picturesque scenery and charming towns and villages and has been described as one of the world’s most epic scenic drives.

The road was built in the 19th century by a local civil engineer named William Bald, whose task was to link the many small communities within the Glens of Antrim with the main towns in the area. He managed to blast many cubic tonnes of rock away from the coast to create the route and sculpt many archways along the way, including “The Black Arch.”

Next to the Black Arch, there are two strangely shaped large rocks sticking out from the ocean, and a small cave entrance with a staircase that takes you beyond the seawall and closer to the lapping waves of the sea. This strange creation is called the “Devil’s Churn,” and is one of Larne’s most famous haunted tales.

The story goes that one night a drunken piper went into the rocky opening and never returned. Apparently, as the clocks strike midnight, you can hear him playing his pipes under the hearthstone of a house in the Ballycraigy area of Larne, where the cavern is supposed to exist. It is called the Devil’s Churn due the old hand churn-like sounds the lapping waves produce moving between the rocks and the cave.

Know Before You Go

The site is located just outside Larne along the Coast Road, which weaves and ducks its way in and out of the land along the famous East Antrim coastal route to the North Coast of Northern Ireland.

The best way to get there is by either parking your car at the Larne town park or the leisure center and then walking up the promenade toward Coast Road. The walk should take between 30 to 40 minutes and you will get some great views of the East Antrim Coast and the harbor.

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