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Cushendun, derived from the Irish for “Foot of the Dun” for its position at the mouth of the River Dun, has long been a safe harbor for travelers between Ireland and Scotland. The village was erected in 1912, based on the villages of Cornwall in England for Ronald John McNeill, Baron Cushendun. Initially consisting of a town square and seven houses, it was expanded with quaint whitewashed cottages. The town's harbor features the ruins of the 14th-century Carra Castle, and regular ferry service once ran between Cushendun and Scotland, up until the Great Famine in the 1840s.

The area of Cushendun has long been a favorite among artists, writers and painters. Notable artists who drew their inspiration from the region include poets Moira O’Neill and John Masefield and painters such as Humbert Craig, Maurice Canning Wilks, Theo Gracy and Charles McAuley.