The Wonders of Northern Ireland
While Ireland is at the top of many people’s bucket lists, often times Northern Ireland gets forgotten about. Considering it is an area so rich in history and filled with stunning landscapes and spectacular natural features, you would be mad not to visit.The area, while small, has a diverse range of sights, sounds, tastes and activities to keep every type of traveler happy. Whether you are a professional photographer, a history buff or a whiskey connoisseur, Northern Ireland is the perfect destination for you.
Beautiful Belfast for the city lovers
Belfast might be the capital and largest city in Northern Ireland, but sadly that’s not really what it is famous for. Belfast gained notoriety around the world during The Troubles (1969-1997) used to the frequency of gun and bomb attacks in the city. Parts of Belfast were effectively no go areas for security forces and therefore took on a lawless quality.
Considering ‘whiskey’ is a Gaelic word (it is actually the anglicization of the Gaelic word uisce meaning water), there’s no surprise about its long history in Ireland. The town of Bushmills in Antrim is actually the site of the world’s oldest distillery. The name Bushmills actually comes from the River Bush, and to a large watermill that was built there in the early 17th century. Water from that same river has been used to make Bushmills Whiskey for over 400 years.
Are you a thrill seeker looking for a bit of adventure? If so, the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge might be a good place for you to stop at! The bridge, which links the mainland to the tiny island of Carrick a rede, is only 1 metre wide sways gently 30m above the rock-strewn waters below.
While it may look pretty shaky and unstable, no one has actually ever fallen off of it. That said, there have been many instances where visitors, unable to face the walk back across the bridge, have had to be taken off the island by boat!
A UNESCO World Heritage site and a protected national nature reserve, The Giant’s Causeway is one of the most spectacular places to visit in Northern Ireland, if not the world. While legend says that this fascinating site was created by a Finn McCool, a gentle giant, Scientists say that 40,000 basalt columns were formed as a result after huge volcanic eruptions. Whichever story is true, no one can deny what a magical place this is to visit.
If you are a fan of Games of Thrones, then Dun Luce Castle in County Antrim should be firmly at the top of your bucket list! Fans of the hit series will recognize the castle as the House of Greyjoy, ruler of the Iron Islands. CS Lewis is also reputed to have taken inspiration from the castle for the Royal Castle of Cair Paravel in the Chronicles of Narnia.
Fun fact? The castle was once owned by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, after it was passed into the ownership of the Churchill family as a result of inter-marriage.
The Titanic Experience in Belfast is an incredible place for history buffs and for anyone interested in learning more about the most famous ship in the world. The locals never get tired of telling visitors “The Titanic was perfect when she left here,” and the people are still proud that one of the finest ships in the world was built by the Irish.
The Titanic Experience extends over nine galleries, with multiple dimensions to the exhibition, drawing together special effects, dark rides, full-scale reconstructions and innovative interactive features to explore the Titanic story in a fresh and insightful way. Visitors can explore the shipyard, travel to the depths of the ocean and uncover the true legend of Titanic, in the city where it all began.
Derry, the world’s most northerly Roman Catholic city, is a place rich in history but with a bloodstained and troubled past. The remnants of many historic events are still etched into the famous 17th century city walls, preserved for many more generations to come. Derry is also the only remaining completely walled city in Ireland and one of the finest examples of Walled Cities in Europe.
The city is full of interesting museums to educate you on the its difficult past, and it also lays claim to Europe’s largest collection of cannon whose origins are known precisely. If you are looked to stroll around a huge piece of Irish history, then a visit to Derry is a must.
The Dark Hedges, in County Antrim, is a beautiful avenue of beech trees that were was planted by the Stuart family in the eighteenth century. This stunning avenue is now one of the most photographed destinations in Northern Ireland, and it’s easy to see why!
Fun Fact: The road is reputedly haunted by a spectral ‘Grey Lady’ who appears at dusk among the trees. She silently glides along the roadside and disappears as she passes the last beech tree. We guess she will add a bit of character to those photos!