Belfast - Belfast has had a troubled history, as it has been the focus of the Troubles that have dominated politics in Northern Ireland for many years. However the barriers have now come down and the tanks all but disappeared from the streets. The restaurants, cafes, pubs and shops are now operating under normal conditions.
Downpatrick (Dun Padraig, "St Patrick's fort") - Downpatrick which is 23 miles south of Belfast, is a nice little town with several well-preserved historical sites. The Hill of Down, to the north of the town, was once of great strategic value. which was in a later period made famous by the arrival of St Patrick. Local folklore insists that St Patrick was buried here. An early account of St Patrick's life claims that he's buried in a church close the sea, however a later account of his life admits that "where his bones are, no man knows", Downpatrick's claim seems as good as any other.
Armagh - This is an attractive place and the city and its surroundings are rich in history. There are a number of museums, cathedrals, and an excellent planetarium all set in striking Georgian streets. Ever since St Patrick established his church here, Armagh has been the site of the Catholic primacy of All Ireland, and has taken the title of the "Irish Rome" for itself. Ironically Armagh is also the seat of the Protestant Church of Ireland's Archbishop of Armagh.
The Giant's Causeway - This is one of Northern Irelands main tourist attractions. It attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors annually, but even in high season it's an easy task to escape the hordes by taking to the cliffs. The Causeway was created about 60 million years ago by a huge underground explosion. An enormous mass of molten basalt spewed over the earth's surface and solidified into weird and wonderful shapes. Of course the locals have much more romantic version's of the event. There is Public transport to and from the Causeway and a visitor centre.
County Fermanagh - is famous for the beauty of its lakes, which, along with the many rivers, comprise more than a third of the county's area. The majority of visitors opt to explore the two interconnected parts of Lough Erne. Lower Lough Erne lies in the northwest and Upper Lough Erne in the southeast. They are surrounded by densely wooded hills, which with their oak, ash and beech trees create wonderful scenes of vibrant greens in spring and rich red colours in autumn.
Cave Hill Country Park - Belfast is surrounded by hills but the largest is Cave Hill (355m/1165ft). It's the place to go to get your bearings and admire the amazing views. The Country Park covers over 740 acres and has many ringforts scattered all over the Park, which are evidence of Iron Age occupation. Five false caves dating from the Neolithic era are close by, and further down the hill you will see Belfast castle .a Scottish Baronial heap popular with the locals as a venue for their weddings
Car - The best way to see Northern Ireland is by car, as some of the sights of interest are not served by public transport.
Trains and Buses - Rail fares are expensive, and the frequency of both train and bus services outside the main cities can be a bit uncertain.
Walking and Cycling - The country is ideal for hiking and walking and cycling are great ways to see the countryside. Regional cycling maps can be obtained from the local tourist offices
National festival and holidays
The Glorious 12th of July - Orangemen get out into the streets on to celebrate the Protestant victory at the Battle of the Boyne.
St Patricks day, 17 March - This is celebrated with vigour all over the country but Belfast really goes overboard with its four-day carnival leading up to 17 March.Northern Ireland's (and Irelands) largest community festival,
Feile an Phobail - This is Northern Irelands biggest cultural event and the three-week Festival is held at in West Belfast in August. It is the second-largest arts festival in the UK after Edinburgh's.
Recent Northern Ireland Travelogue
Trip to Northern Ireland
This is a companion article to one I posted a couple of weeks ago to rec.travel.europe and rec.travel. That article covered Scotland, this one covers Ireland. My wife and I visited Scotland and Northern Ireland in early June 1994.... read more
See all Northern Ireland Travelogues
Know a thing or two about Northern Ireland ?
Please share your experiences and tips with your fellow travellers.
Your personal details and email address won't be published.
Fields with an * are required. Errors will be indicated in red