The Village of Southend lies at the end of the Kintyre Peninsula only 13 miles from Ireland. It has a unique and varied history spanning thousands of years, beautiful costal scenery, bird and wildlife, a large seal colony viewed from Keil shore with Neolithic caves and a magnificent 18 hole links golf course. The Kintyre Way, which comprises approximately 100 miles and runs from Tarbert to Campbeltown also passes through the village.
There are numerous beaches to explore including Dunaverty, Carskiey, Macharioch and Brunerican. As the Kintyre Way passes through the village, it is possible to walk large or small sections of this depending on how energetic you feel. Dunaverty Golf Course is an 18 hole course located on the shoreline, there are also 2 further 18 hole golf courses located 10 miles away at Machrihanish. The village also has an excellent Playpark located behind the village hall. Why not see the area on horseback or try some horseback archery at Wilder Ways. For any visitor to Southend, an absolute must is a visit to Muneroy Tearoom (booking essential) to sample Francis’s award winning baking and taste her amazing cakes and meringues or visit their Facebook page to check out the daily specials!
The town of Campbeltown is located 10 miles from Southend village. Popular things to do are a visit to the Aquilibrium (swimming pool and library), the Campbeltown Cinema which has recently reopened and now boasts two cinemas and café or a Whisky Tour at one of the Distilleries. For the more adventurous, why not take a trip round Davaar Island or further field to Sanda Island with Mull of Kintyre Sea Adventures or explore the tidal island of Davaar which can be reached at low tide and walk to the lighthouse or view the cave painting, alternatively spend a relaxing afternoon browsing the local gift shops.
Dunaverty Rock sits at the end of the spectacular Dunaverty Beach, one of the most picturesque and beautiful beaches in the area, it was the site of Dunaverty Castle and is also known as the Rock of Blood due to the massacre of 300 people (mostly of Clan MacDonald and around 39 MacDougalls) in 1647 by General Leslie who led an army into Kintyre in pursuit of the Royalist force led by Sir Alexander MacDonald. After a siege where the water was cut off from those in the Castle, practically all the prisioners were hanged, shot or bound and thrown over the cliff into the sea. Their remains were later collected and interred in the stone tomb in the field seen from the road ( it looks like a ruined cottage).
Legend has it that Ranald MacDonald (the Chief’s baby) was rescued by his nurse Flora MacCambridge during the siege, who wrapped the baby in Campbell tartan and carried him over the shore to Kiel. It is said that she was stopped by a Campbell soldier who took pity on them and let them go.
Legend has it that when St Columba first set sail from Ireland, he landed in Southend in 563AD before continuing on to Iona. St Columba’s Footprints is a carved rock with two footprints, according to legend after landing in Southend, he stood there and looked back to Ireland. One footprint is known to have been carved by a local stonemason in 1856, the other one is however ancient and may have been used in the inauguration of Kings.
St Columba’s Chapel is a medieval parish church which lies about a mile to the west of the village in Keil Cemetery and was built in 1320. Closer to the village is the ruin of the old Keil School which burnt down in 1924 and the Art Deco ruin of Keil Hotel. On the other side of the Cemetery as the Keil Caves followed by Carskiey Beach, another beautiful beach with spectacular view towards Sanda Island and Ireland in the distance.
Approx 7 miles from Southend Village is the Mull of Kintyre, the location of the lighthouse and also the memorial cairn for the Chinook Helicopter crash in June 1994. The lighthouse can be reached by a steep downhill walk of around a mile from the car park, on a good day there are spectacular view to the Antrim Coast and Rathlin Island.