Antrim was until 1973 one of the six counties of Northern Ireland, with close links with Scotland, 13 miles distant from Torr Head: there is a major ferry route from Larne to Stranraer and Cairnryan. The county is bounded on the west by the Bann, and to the south by Lough Neagh and the Lagan. The Giant's Causeway is off the north coast and Belfast Lough indents the south-east coastline. The Glens of Antrim are in the north-east corner. Carrickfergus castle was built by John de Courcy in the 1170s and Antrim, Lisburne, Larne, Ballymena, and Coleraine developed as market towns before the spectacular growth of Belfast in the 18th and early 19th cents. Farming was diversified by the linen industry and in the 20th cent. by synthetic fibre production. The county has the smallest Roman catholic population in Northern Ireland and its three parliamentary seats were taken in 2005 by the Democratic Unionist Party, Ian Paisley easily holding Antrim North.
J. A. Cannon
Antrim County in Northern Ireland, bounded n by the Atlantic Ocean and e by the North Channel. The capital is Belfast. Other notable centres are Ballymena, Antrim (on the n shore of Lough Neagh), and the ferry port of Larne. Mainly a low basalt plateau, it is noted for the Giant's Causeway. It is chiefly an agricultural region, cereals and livestock being most important. Industries: linen and shipbuilding, concentrated in Belfast. Area: 3043sq km (1175sq mi). Pop. (1996) 562,216.
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