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COVID-19 LOCKDOWN UPDATES

(Posted 03/07/2020. Last updated 11/11/2021.)


*** As Rathlin continues to emerge from lockdown and more and more island businesses reopen, please read the information below to help plan your visit. We will update this page further whenever we have more details to share. ***

*** In the meantime, #StaySafe and welcome back!. ***

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Passengers must book in advance. To book, please use the new Rathlin Island Ferry Ltd (RIFL) online booking system. Many sailings are booked up completely well in advance - check the RIFL website for regular updates on availability. For full detail on ferry arrangements please go to the RIFL website, and for queries, please email them at: info@rathlinballycastleferry.com, or ring them on
028 2076 9299.

"Bookings must be made directly via the ferry office at least 30 minutes before sailing time. Our office remains closed to the public. Face coverings must be worn for the duration of the crossing unless you are exempt from wearing one. Passengers should adhere to social distancing guidelines and follow crew instructions at all times. Please do not travel if you are experiencing any Covid related symptoms. RIFL continue to operate a ticketless service to help reduce contact between passengers and our staff. To secure your booking you will be asked to provide card payments details. You will check-in for your sailing with crew by giving your name. Passengers will not be boarded until 10 minutes before departure. RIFL are being proactive and collecting information to share with the relevant Public Health Authorities should there be a case of Covid-19. At the time of booking you will be asked for your Full Name and Phone number, if you are travelling as a family or group of more than 1 person you will be asked to provide a Lead Person’s Name and Contact Number. When you provide our staff with these details, you are actively giving your permission for these details to be shared with a third-party organisation to the help track and trace the virus. Failure to provide these details will result in your booking being rejected."

RIFL is operating a reduced timetable with reduced capacity to facilitate social distancing, which is at the discretion of the operator.

The 2021/22 Winter Timetable came into effect on Friday 1st October:

Dep Rathlin / Dep Ballycastle
*08.00 RE / *08.30 RE
09.00 SOR / 10.30 SOR
12.00 RE / 14:00 RE
15.00 SOR / 16.00 SOR
16.00 RE / 16.30 RE (A)
16:30 RE / 17.00 RE (B)

(A): Monday 1st November 2021 - Monday 31st January 2022 (excepting Christmas & New Year week)
(B): Friday 1st October 2021 - Sunday 31st October 2021 & Tuesday 1st February 2022 - Tuesday 12th April 2022

*Mon-Fri only
RE: Rathlin Express (Passengers Only, 25 mins approx.)
SOR: Spirit Of Rathlin (Passengers & Vehicles, 40 mins approx.)

Pre-booking is mandatory. 30 minutes before sailing is the required minimum notice. All sailings are at the Skipper’s discretion. Subject to weather and other conditions. Vehicle restrictions apply. Contact terminal for information. To enable safety procedures to be carried out, passengers must be at the terminal at least 15 minutes before sailing time. Normal Office Opening Hours: Jun & Sep - 08:30 to 18:00, Jul & Aug - 08:30 to 18:30

RIFL has implemented a new Refund Policy, due to an increasing number of 'no shows' and late cancellations.

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*** Please be mindful that due to Covid restrictions, not all Rathlin businesses have reopened fully or at all for this season. ***

McCuaig's Bar is now open indoors as well as outdoors, open Monday - Friday from 1pm - 10pm, and Saturday & Sunday from 12pm - 10pm. The Manor House is now open at weekends going into the autumn, serving breakfast and dinner to guests only. The Water Shed Café will remain closed for the rest of this season.

The island shop is open, serving takeaway tea and coffee and wraps as well as groceries. A new food truck, The Hungry Seal, beside the Post Office, is serving cooked breakfasts, fish and chips, and halloumi burgers amongst other things. Also open is Island Treasures gift shop and post office - now also including Delighthouse, serving whipped ice creams - and Breakwater Studio. The West Light Seabird Centre has now closed for the winter, with the buses continuing with a a tour service for the time being, picking passengers up from the incoming ferries in the morning. The bicycle hire has now closed, and will reopen in Spring 2022. The Boathouse Visitor Centre will remain closed.

Much of the island's accommodation has reopened, though some remains closed. Rathlin Island Hostel is open on the basis of lets of the whole building at a time. Druim Apartments is open on a limited basis. The Glamping Pods are open for the season. Rathlin Venture self catering is now also reopened for bookings. Coolnagrock B&B and Soerneog View Hostel will both remain closed for the 2021 season.

The Public Toilets at the harbour are open. The children's playground is also now open.

The harbour's pontoons are now open again to visiting vessels, with some restrictions. See full information here.

The bus companies operate a shuttle service to and from the Seabird Centre during the tourist season, and will restart at a date to be confirmed in the Spring.


*** You can now get takeaway food from the Shop and The Hungry Seal, as well as ice cream from the Delighthouse, and McCuaig's Bar is currently allowing customers to eat their own food while in the bar. ***


*** Apart from the bus shelter and the bar, there is nowhere to shelter from the weather so please bring appropriate clothing. ***


*** Please adhere to mask wearing, social distancing, hand washing and other official public health guidance while visiting Rathlin, and keep both yourself and the island community safe and healthy. ***


#WearAMask, #WashYourHands & #StaySafe

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Hello and welcome to the Rathlin Community website! This is a resource for both the island community and our visitors. We hope to continue to help communication and interaction among the Rathlin community, and with the wider world.

We have lots of information on how to get to the island and what to do when you step ashore. And if you are curious about what life is really like on the island then we can help with that too. It’s easy to explore using the links on the left and below, and includes lots of pics and beautiful banner photos. Welcome, and enjoy!

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