Attractions in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is the smallest part of the United Kingdom. However, even though the country is small in size, there are many beautiful places and unique attractions to see. Travelers here can enjoy the incredible beauty, various great castles, unique museums and more. And the locals are so friendly that it feels like you’re not in a foreign country at all.
- Belfast Town Hall
- Dunlus Castle
- Titanic Belfast
- The Giant’s Causeway
- Carrickfergus Castle
- Londonderry City Wall
- Belfast Castle
- Massenden Temple
- The Mourne Mountains
- Craigmore Viaduct
- Belfast Botanic Gardens
- Stormont Parliament House
- Devenish Island
- Marble Arch Caves
- Loch Erne
- Bushmills Distillery
- Rathlin Island
- St. Columba Cathedral
- Scrabo Tower
- In conclusion.
This is truly a country that includes a lot of magical mysteries and mysterious myths. Every ancient structure conceals a great number of legends and stories. Science to this day can not determine the origin of some places and artifacts in this small part of the United Kingdom.
So, let’s break down where to go first. Belfast holds a museum where you can see the history of the famous Titanic. Look at the famous Trail of the Giants, try the local drink, which all Northern Irish people are proud of – whiskey.
And in your spare time you should visit the Dublin pub, which is a favorite place of the Irish. It’s where they discuss the day gone by and where they spend their free evenings. Here you can enjoy local beers and appetizing snacks. “An Ulster breakfast will give your day a great start, and a gourmet French dinner will be the perfect end to the day. For shopaholics, there’s plenty to do here, too. After all, this country combines an excellent selection of goods at significantly low prices. A large number of lovers of brand name clothing come here to buy new items from the fashion world. Well, let’s find out what sights this stunning country has to offer.
Belfast Town Hall
This exquisite building was built back in the early 19th century. The first floor of the building is famous for its bronze statue of the Earl of Chichester holding a book in his left hand. It was built in the style of classicism. Inside is a functioning council chamber. Incredibly luxurious architecture, many historical monuments, as well as portraits of famous figures. All this is collected here.
The majestic stone gates, marble finishes and more will surprise tourists. It is worth starting your journey through the country. Tourists can visit it at any time from 8:30 to 17:00.
Medieval fortress was founded in the 13th century by Richard de Bourgh. If you translate from the Irish language, “Dunlus” literally means “strong fortress”. Historical references confirm that this is exactly what the castle was. However, only ruins of the majestic fortress survived to this day. But even they look incredibly beautiful and formidable.
The ancient site is located in the county of Antrim. Connoisseurs of medieval buildings should not miss it. The beautiful castle is open to the public from 10am to 5pm.
An unusual world museum that keeps the memory of the sinking of the world-famous ship Titanic alive. The museum opened in 2012, and since then thousands of fans of the sea tragedy have flocked here. The museum occupies over 12 thousand square meters. Here you can get acquainted with the history of the famous ship in all periods of its existence.
Most interestingly, the Titanic had two brothers – the Olympic and the Britannic, which were built in Belfast. The history of all three ships can be seen in this unique place. You can visit the unusual museum from 9:00 to 18:00.
The Giant’s Causeway
This unique natural monument is located on the northeast of the country. It was formed as a result of a volcanic eruption, creating about forty thousand connections of basalt columns more than ten meters high. It is a unique phenomenon of our nature. In 1986 the monument was included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
It is one of the most popular attractions in Britain. If you come here, you will not just enjoy an unusual walk, but also learn a lot of legends associated with this trail. You can visit it every day from 9:00 to 19:00.
This architectural monument of the Norman style was built in 1180, and retains its grandeur today. Despite the sufficient number of years, the fortress still has an attractive appearance and welcomes tourists. You can visit the structure any day. However, it is worth checking the official site at a time of visit, which varies depending on the day of the week.
Entrance fee is quite cheap, and children do discounts. So feel free to take a tour of Carrickfergus Castle. You can get a tour every day from nine thirty in the morning until seven in the evening.
Londonderry City Wall
The small town of Londonderry is located in the northwest of Ulster. The city attracts travelers primarily because of its incredible sturdy stone wall, built back in the early 17th century. You can see the ancient tools of battle with your own eyes.
The city has undergone many sieges and battles, but its walls have always been impregnable. Enjoy a unique walk through the famous city. Visit it anytime.
This incredibly beautiful castle was erected back in the 12th century in the heart of the city of the same name, in the style of the Scottish barons. However, in 1708 there was a fire and the building burned down. Baron Chichester decided to rebuild the structure, but on a different site. The ancient stronghold has survived to this day. The building is located at a height of more than 120 meters. And from the castle opens an incredibly picturesque view over the city.
Beautiful English garden is spread throughout the castle, there is a lot of white cats, which are the carriers of fortune. Inside there is a unique antique store and a luxury restaurant. You can visit the ancient fortress any day from nine in the morning until midnight.
This small circular building is on the northwest shore of Londonderry. It is a monument of architecture. The temple was built in 1785 and was used as the Bishop’s library.
From here you have a beautiful view of the cliffs and the sea. However, after a little reconstruction, weddings are held in the temple. Well, both to see the tour and to get married. The temple is open from 10:00 to 17:00.
The Mourne Mountains
These hard-to-reach peaks are located in Down County. They have many of the features that make them so popular with travelers. For example, the incredibly clear water of the rivers that flow through here.
The unique natural beauty of the mountains themselves is also striking. And the fact that all 28 hills look like a natural playground is just amazing. You can spend here exciting hikes, drink crystal clear water, and try to climb to the very top of the unique mountains.
It’s a picturesque ancient bridge that connects the railroad. This landmark is located in the county of Armagh. The bridge was built in the 50s of the 19th century. Its height is more than 39 meters, which is striking in its grandeur and power. It is also known as “18 arches”.
The arches made of granite, give the bridge the appearance of an impregnable stronghold. And in general, the construction looks beautiful and fascinating. The scenic view around it just adds to the charm of the whole attraction.
Belfast Botanic Gardens
This stunning place in all of Northern Ireland was opened in 1828. The garden contains a huge collection of various exotic plants. Including the Australian lily, which has been waiting 23 years to bloom!
Many concerts and festivals are held in this place. And the garden’s greatest pride is the Palm House. This is a greenhouse, divided into two wings with different climates. Definitely worth a visit this magical place. You can visit the unique place every day from half past eight in the morning until five thirty in the evening.
Stormont Parliament House
The building in the style of neoclassicism was erected in 1932. At the moment is the residence of the Minister of the country. Incredibly beautiful white facade and unique architecture attracts many travelers here. And on December 3, 2005 here was held a ceremony of farewell to the player of the national team of Northern Ireland, George Besta.
The building offers an incredibly picturesque and magical view. Unfortunately, it is not possible to visit the place. However, you can take a virtual tour on the official website.
This small island is located in the northwest of the country, in Fermanagh County. On the island there is an ancient chapel, which was built in the 6th century. The length of the island is two kilometers and a width of just over one meter. But despite this, this “little hero” has survived many raids and battles.
Today you can not just admire the natural beauty of this piece of land, but also get acquainted with the historical buildings that have survived to this day.
Marble Arch Caves
Lurking in the mountains in Fermanagh County are some unique caves. You can swim in them by boat, something you can’t find in other caves around the country. They started letting travelers in here in 1985. This unusual network of tunnels is sure to add a touch of mystery to your trip to Northern Ireland.
The unusual geopark in the caves is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can visit the unique place every day from 10:30 to 15:00, but it’s worth booking tickets in advance to avoid standing in line all day.
This is an unusual suspension bridge that will give you a huge adrenaline rush. It is located in County Antrim. It is located at a height of 30 meters. This rope trail is between the mainland and Carrick Island. An amazing attraction that will give your walk an extreme experience. Unfortunately, due to the huge number of tourists, the bridge has to be reconstructed every year.
In strong winds the bridge swings up to 20 meters. Here you can walk at any time, except for those days when there is a storm warning. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes, because the walk promises to be spectacular. Taking children is not recommended.
The largest lake in the country has an area of one hundred and twenty-three square meters. In addition, the depth – the deepest lake in Ireland – 69 meters. There are lots of islands with historical treasures in Loch Erne, and since it’s navigable you can take a boat trip to enjoy the scenic views.
On this lake you can take your own little boat trip. Be sure to put this attraction on your list of the best places to visit in Northern Ireland.
This is the world’s first distillery, opening back in 1608. This is the date stamped on the bottles of the alcoholic beverage produced here. It is located in County Antrim, in the village of the same name. Today Bushmills is the only distillery in the country. Only traditional whiskey making techniques are used here. This distillery is depicted on ten Northern Irish pounds.
More than a hundred thousand people come here every year. Hours of operation of the distillery are usually from 9:30 to 17:00, but it is better to clarify the information on the official website.
This small island is nestled in the Irish Sea. Its area is about 1.4 square kilometers and the population is only 75 people. If you look at the island from a height, it can be noted that it has the shape of a shoe. It is believed that in 795 there was a Viking raid, and in 1575 there was a massacre of clan Macdonell.
There are many legends and myths about this amazing piece of land. Many different birds live here. Rathlin Island is famous not only for its beautiful and scenic view, but also for its Bronze Age finds. Nature lovers should definitely visit here.
St. Columba Cathedral
This Anglican cathedral was founded in 1612. Located in Londonderry, it is the residence of the Bishop of Raphoe and Derry. The style of the building is Gothic. Until the 18th century was a working cathedral, in which services were held. However, later reconstruction began. The cathedral has also suffered terrorist attacks.
At the moment here are also conducting services, and anyone can visit this place and pray. Lovers of the old style should definitely come here.
Down County is home to an eminent tower built in honor of Charles Stewart in 1857. He was a great general who took part in the war with Napoleon. At this point, a beautiful park has grown around the tower. To get to the top of the tower you have to walk up 122 steps. Charming scenic view opens up from the tower.
You can not only admire the beauty of unspoiled nature, but also dive into the historical past of the beautiful Northern Ireland. You don’t want to pass by this landmark, it is a valuable historical site of the country.
Northern Ireland is an incredibly beautiful part of the United Kingdom. This great country is famous for its ancient castles, unique caves, places with untouched nature, beautiful mountains and unusual beaches. The country’s population is almost two million people. An interesting fact is that most locals are Protestants. Although the country itself has many Catholic churches. A lot of famous writers and political figures were born and lived here. The country’s capital is the city of Belfast, which is not only famous for its attractions, but also numerous pubs, bars and restaurants. And the famous Titanic was launched in this incredible country. There’s plenty of unspoilt Northern Ireland to marvel at, and a huge number of ancient monuments to marvel at. It’s well worth your time in this truly wonderful country. Enjoy your Northern Ireland trip!
The North Country is rich in cultural attractions and resorts. These are.
Top 10 attractions in Northern Ireland.
For many years Northern Ireland did not attract tourists, but after the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, a power-sharing agreement to promote peace, it became popular again. Since then, Ulster (also called Northern Ireland) has recovered both economically and culturally and is one of the most visited places in the world.
Recently, Northern Ireland’s role as a filming location for “Game of Thrones” has led to a new wave of tourists. For those in the know, even in bad times, this corner of Ireland has always been high on the tourist agenda. Famous natural attractions, such as the mystical Bridge of Giants, are complemented by new sites, such as the Titanic in Belfast.
The government has invested heavily in making Northern Ireland a magnet for visitors. There are fantastic stores, world-class restaurants, remarkable history and culture, exceptional golf opportunities and a vibrant music scene. There are plenty of places for families, couples and individual travelers to visit in Northern Ireland, and all can be assured of a warm and friendly welcome.
Learn more about the best places to visit with our list of the top attractions in Northern Ireland.
- Note: Some sites may be temporarily closed due to recent global health and safety concerns.
1. Bridge of Giants.
Known worldwide for its layered basalt columns, the Bridge of Giants is Northern Ireland’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site. These polygonal natural formations (there are about 40,000 of them) were formed by a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago. Today they form the centerpiece of an area of exceptional natural beauty.
Three different periods of volcanic activity have produced lower, middle and upper basalts. The middle basalt rock forms the famous amphitheaters of hexagonal columns. Legend has it that it was carved by the mighty giant Finn McCool, who left his ancient home to fight his enemy Benandonner on the other side of Scottish waters.
Weather permitting, you can even see Scotland from afar.
Don’t forget to check out Giant’s Causeway Visitor Center, a state-of-the-art visitor center. This state-of-the-art facility not only stands out for its architecture and design, which reflect the unique topography of the area, but also offers a fascinating introduction to the history of the area (audio guides are provided).
2. Causeway Coast and Dunlus Castle
The first stop for most tourists on this picturesque coastline is, of course, the Giant’s Bridge, a World Heritage Site. However, the surrounding coastline is stunning and not to be missed. There’s plenty to enjoy, including beautiful beaches, sand dunes, and golf at Portrush (with a world-class course) and Portstewart.
If you’re brave enough, either one is perfect for an invigorating swim.
A 10-minute drive west through the picturesque village of Bushmills takes you to the ruins of medieval Dunlus Castle. It’s definitely worth a visit to the kitchen, located on the edge of a cliff, and many centuries ago, in a terrible night, the kitchen fell into the terrible waves below. Apparently, the only survivor was the kitchen boy who was sitting on the windowsill and had to be rescued.
Footage of the castle’s exterior was used in the movie Game of Thrones.
3. Carrick-a-Ride Rope Bridge
The drive east from the Giant’s Bridge takes about 15 minutes and takes you to another Northern Ireland landmark, the dizzying Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. Located near the pretty seaside town of Ballintoy, this impressive sight is not for the faint of heart.
A hanging bridge connects a small island where fishermen used to catch salmon. Admission to the area is free, but if you cross the bridge, you’ll have to pay.
4. Titanic Belfast Museum.
This star-shaped building with the White Star Line logo is a Belfast landmark. It is a tribute to the history of the Titanic ship. Belfast was once the shipbuilding center of the British Empire, a fact not to be overlooked in this part of the city.
There are nine interactive exhibits on the site where the infamous Titanic ship was built. Enjoy a tour of the slipway and dry dock, and for a fee, you can visit the ship Nomadic. This steamer, built in 1911, transported passengers from shore to waiting liners.
There is a restaurant, cafe and souvenir store on site. It really is a world-class tourist attraction.
5. Glens of Antrim
It’s not just the North Antrim coast that attracts. Drive from Ballycastle toward Larne on the coastal A2 road and serene lakes, waterfalls, forest trails and hills await you.
Along the way, look out for the Glendoon Bridge, a fine example of innovative design and construction. Ballypatrick Forest Park has a 10-kilometer trail around Mount Carnigani, which is especially scenic.
The small seaside town of Portrush, on the border with Londonderry, is also worth a visit. Royal Portrush Golf Club and Dunluce Links, one of the most challenging golf courses in the world.
6. Carrickfergus Castle.
About 20 minutes from Belfast is the important town and port of Carrickfergus, home to an imposing castle. One of Ireland’s best-preserved medieval structures, this Norman castle fought off enemies for eight centuries.
The fortress, located near the coast and towering above the city, still exists, and the reconstructed banqueting hall is a special attraction, especially for children. You can take an audio guide at the visitor center and explore the interior and walls of the castle.
Nearby is the Andrew Jackson Center, the reconstructed ancestral home of the 7th president of the United States.
7. Ards Peninsula.
South of Bangor, near Donahady, begins the scenic 32 km long Ards Peninsula. From Donahady the road goes along the Irish Sea coast to Bellywalter with its beautiful beach, Bellyhalbert and finally Cloughie, where it branches inland to Portaferry.
It’s worth stopping and admiring the serene 18th-century Mount Stewart house and gardens, just a 10-minute drive from Bellyhalter. On the west shore of Strangford Loch is the seaside resort of Killilig, dominated by Hilltop Castle. On a good day you can see the famous Mourne Mountains in the distance.
Portaferry is at the southern tip of the peninsula, where there is a ferry to Strangford. Or you can drive along the west side of the peninsula along the shores of Strangford Loch.
8. Ulster Folklore and Transportation Museum
This “living” museum, about 15 minutes from downtown Belfast, is designed to show life in Northern Ireland more than 100 years ago. There are reconstructed working cottages, working farms, village schools and stores, and 68 hectares of parkland to explore. Tour guides demonstrate traditional crafts.
You can climb aboard a steam locomotive and tour the Transportation Museum with its impressive collections of streetcars, fire engines, motorcycles, beautiful vintage cars and horse-drawn carriages. A visit to this place takes a whole day.
9. Londonderry (Derry)
The second city of Northern Ireland, Londonderry – or Derry as the locals call it – is located where the River Foyle flows into the sea lake of the same name. The partition of Ireland has deprived the city of part of its natural hinterland, Donegal, but it remains a major port and industrial center with a traditional textile industry, chemical and engineering plants, and pottery factories.
Its attractive surroundings make it a popular tourist destination and a good base for trips to the Inishowen Peninsula and Donegal in the Republic of Ireland. The town itself has almost entirely preserved the outlines of its medieval walls and a number of interesting old buildings.
10. Loch Earn
Two connected lakes form Loch Earn in County Fermanagh, a favorite place for fishing, kayaking and boating. Castles and stately homes dot the shores, and the islands are a major attraction.
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