The Best Known Waterfalls in Northern Ireland

From the famous Ness waterfalls to the picturesque Ess-na-Larach, the waterfalls of Northern Ireland are overflowing with surprises. Want to know more? Read on.

Travel and Exploration
24 April 2023

Known for its rugged terrain and breathtaking landscapes, Northern Ireland possesses an abundance of natural beauty, including awe-inspiring waterfalls.

In this article, we’ll explore Northern Ireland’s best waterfalls, and we’ll plunge right in with the tallest waterfall in Northern Ireland.

Ess-na-Larach Waterfall

Ess-na-Larach Waterfall (Photo: mammuth via Getty Images)

One of the most beautiful waterfalls of Northern Ireland is Ess-na-Larach in County Antrim. Cocooned within the dense greenery of Glenariff Forest Park, its waters slalom down 36 feet in a series of steps.

Whilst Ess-na-Larach is the best known waterfall in this forest and nature reserve, it is not alone. It’s even part of a waterfall trail, along which the cascades of Ess-na-Crub and Altnagowna can be found. Together, this trio are known as the Glenariff Waterfalls.

Ness Waterfall

Ness Waterfall (Photo: blue sky in my pocket via Getty Images)

Often cited as the tallest waterfall in Northern Ireland, Ness is located within a country park by the same name. What’s more, that name means “waterfall”, or is at least said to be derived from the English pronunciation of the Irish phrase for it, “an las”. Probably formed during the last Ice Age, this cascade is part of Burntollet River.

Gleno Waterfall

Gleno Waterfall (Photo: joe daniel price via Getty Images)

This approximately 30-foot horsetail cataract is amongst the most famous waterfalls in Northern Ireland. Owned by the National Trust, it is located along the appropriately named Waterfall Road next to the village of Gleno in County Antrim.

Pollnagollum Cave Waterfall

Cave and waterfall (Photo: Puripatl via Getty Images)

The UNESCO Global Geopark of Marble Arch Caves is known for its remarkable karst landscapes and underground caves. And it is into one of these caves that the Pollnagollum waterfall cascades, dropping some 40 feet down the limestone cliffs and disappearing into a subterranean river. As well as being one of Northern Ireland’s best waterfalls, its cave is also known for its small-screen appearances as the hideout of character Beric Dondorian in Game of Thrones.

Dunseverick Falls

Dunseverick Falls (Photo: dropStock via Getty Images)

There are very few waterfalls in the world that empty into the sea and Dunseverick Falls is one of them. This extraordinary example of Northern Ireland waterfalls is part of the iconic Causeway Coast and is thus surrounded by its famed rugged landscape.

Cranny Waterfall

Cranny Waterfall (Photo: sara_winter via Getty Images)

In a quiet wooded area just west of Carnlough in County Antrim, the Carnlough River plunges down, forming Cranny Waterfall. Although its isolated location means it is not the most famous of waterfalls in Northern Ireland, it is amongst the prettiest. It’s located within a protected Area of Scientific Interest due to the wood barley that grows at its peak, this being the only known instance of this grass in Ireland.

Blackslee Waterfall

Lough Erne, Northern Ireland (Photo: Andrea Pistolesi via Getty Images)

Plunging off a cliff some 66 feet high, Blackslee Waterfall is found deep within the forests of County Fermanagh. Eventually, its waters find their way to Lower Lough Erne.

Northern Ireland Waterfalls

Northern Ireland Waterfalls (Photo: mammuth via Getty Images)

In conclusion, the waterfalls of Northern Ireland are not just natural wonders, but many are located within important landscapes, be they Areas of Scientific Interest, UNESCO geoparks or, as in one case, owned by the National Trust.


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