The Straits of Moyle or Sea of Moyle is the name given to the narrowest expanse of sea in the North Channel between north-eastern Northern Ireland (County Antrim) and the south-western highlands of Scotland. The narrowest part of the strait is between the Mull of Kintyre and Torr Head. The distance between the two shores is approximately 12 miles (19 km) at its closest point, and it is possible to see across in clear weather conditions. The deepest part is called Beaufort’s Dyke

The straits gave their name to Moyle District Council, a local government area in Northern Ireland, and are famed in Irish mythology through their association with the Children of Lir.

The Children of Lir spent the second part of their 900-year curse as swans on the Straits of Moyle. The cold, harsh conditions of this barren expanse of water inflicted much suffering on the swans. The sea was so cold that the swans’ wings froze solid and treacherous storms continually separated the siblings. To endure the hardship, Fionnuala used to sing and wrap her wings around them – Fiachra to her left, Aodh to her right and Conn to the front of her chest. They vowed to always stay together and meet on Carraig na Ron (Seal’s Rock) if they were to become parted.  

The areas along the Straits of Moyle are designated “areas of outstanding natural beauty.” Two of the best-known physical features of Northern Ireland – the Giant’s Causeway and five of the nine Glens of Antrim are there. The modern name for the Straits of Moyle is The North Channel.

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