If you have plans to travel around the United Kingdom, take advantage of the opportunity to visit the wonders of Northern Ireland. Ireland is a small island, with Northern Ireland’s population being just 1.8 million. What it may lack in a large population, it makes up for in beautiful landscapes and adventures you will not find anywhere else in the United Kingdom. Many people on their travels come for the views but stay for the people, as Northern Ireland boasts some of the most welcoming people you could hope to meet.
Read on to learn more about the stunning coastlines, beautiful castles and amazing cities and sights you must see on your next trip to Northern Ireland.
1. The Mourne Mountains, County Down
If you want to see real beauty, you cannot miss out on visiting the Mourne Mountains. They look like something taken straight from a fairy tale or movie and are so remote that you could land a private jet charter on them if you wanted to. Many do not know that these mountains inspired the creation of C.S Lewis ‘Chronicles of Narnia’, with Lewis specifically citing the Mournes as his inspiration when creating the magical world of Narnia. These mountains are 50 million years old and the perfect spot for hiking or cycling, with beautiful views along the way.
2. The Dark Hedges, County Antrim
If you are a Game of Thrones fan, you will not want to miss out on exploring the Dark Hedges, as seen in the show. You will find a gorgeous tunnel of intertwined beech trees. These trees date back to the 18th century, planted by the Stuart family. These trees are aimed to enchant people as they approach the entrance of a glorious mansion – Gracehill House. It will take about an hour to walk through the entire tunnel, and it is perfect for Instagrammable moments to last a lifetime. You will not find anything else quite like it.
3. Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, County Antrim
An easterly drive up the coast of Northern Ireland brings you to another must-see spot in Northern Ireland, the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. You will find it near the gorgeous coastal village of Ballintoy. If you dare, follow the rope bridge towards the tiny island of Carrick. Fishermen originally made it in the 17th century to help them catch salmon. Today, spanning over 20 metres, you will be met with beautiful views and a café to enjoy some refreshments and treats afterwards.
4. Carrickfergus Castle, County Antrim
If you have always wanted to see a real-life castle in person, now is your chance. Come and marvel at Carrickfergus Castle, just a 20-minute drive from Belfast. Here, you can explore the town and ports of Carrickfergus, one of Ireland’s most-preserved mediaeval structures. This Norman castle is rich in history, seeing off battles and foes for over eight centuries. When there, get an audio guide and explore at your leisure. The perfect attraction for a day out with kids.
5. Lough Erne, County Fermanagh
A gorgeous sight of two connected lakes meets to make Lough Erne a fisherman’s favourite place. You can also participate in water activities like day cruises or kayaking. On your travels, you will see manor houses and spectacular castles dotted around the banks and surrounding islands. For a trip down Irish history lane, one sight you’ll see is a 12th-century round tower, as well as stone figures that Celts did between AD 400 and 800. Lough Erne is connected to the River Shannon, stretching as far as 39 miles long.
6. The Giant’s Causeway, Country Antrim
We could not talk about Northern Ireland without mentioning one of its most visited sights – the Giant’s Causeway. Famous worldwide for its well-known columns of layered basalt, the Giant’s Causeway is Northern Ireland’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site. Forty thousand layered rocks make up the site. This is the aftermath of a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago. Today, visitors from all over the world come to see what is truly an area of outstanding beauty. Many rocks have Irish mythical names, such as The Camel, The Giant’s Granny, The Organ and The Giant’s Boot. If the weather allows, you can see Scotland in the distance. After you have finished exploring these magical rock formations, make sure to pop into the Causeway Visitor Centre. This little nook on the Causeway is visually beautiful, and you can learn more historical insights about the area with an audio guide. Although you cannot take any rocks home with you, the Visitor’s Centre offers many sovereigns you can bring back with you to remember this gorgeous place.