Region Highlights: Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is a unique location. What makes it even more special is that it’s all so accessible. Every corner of the country is within a two-hour drive so exploring our distinctive landmarks couldn’t be easier.
There are six counties in Northern Ireland, which are part of the United Kingdom. Traveling between counties of the Republic and the North is seamless as there are no longer borders between the countries.
From Saint Patrick to the birthplace of the Titanic, from the Giant’s Causeway to the Mountains of Mourne and the Walled City of Derry, there are unique stories to tell.
Fermanagh: Take to the water in Northern Ireland’s Lakeland County Fermanagh. The silent waters of the Fermanagh Lakelands have a romantic beauty that has captivated generation after generation of visitors. Tranquil, glassy and utterly beautiful, Lough Erne and the surrounding lakes are Fermanagh’s star attraction, but the flat green patchwork of fields that makes up much of the county’s countryside equally deserves a look. Fermanagh also has a trail for every interest. This is excellent cycling country with routes of varying lengths and difficulties through stunning Lakeland scenery. Perhaps the most well-known is the 230-mile cross-border Kingfisher Trail, named after the bird synonymous with the area.
With forests, beautiful vistas, old country houses, excellent restaurants, intriguing caves, castles and canoeing, Fermanagh is one of Northern Ireland’s best-kept secrets.
Tyrone is one of the country's most beautiful inland counties. The largest county in the North it is overflowing with a variety of scenery from the majestic Sperrin Mountains that reach 2,000 foot to the gentle hills and river valleys of the plains. This sprawling hilly county is replete with ancient forests and unspoiled scenery but also boasts busy market towns like Omagh and Dungannon.
In Omagh, you will find the Ulster American Folk Park. Located four miles north of Omagh, the Folk Park initially began by the donation of a cottage by the Mellon family in 1818. The park is an outdoor museum that tells the story of emigration in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Many of these emigrants went on to achieve great things and several of the signatories of the US Constitution were from Tyrone.
Derry / Londonderry: A picturesque county in the north west of Northern Ireland, Derry / Londonderry is famed for its tranquility, scenic beauty, lovely beaches and the lively university town of Coleraine.
The city, Derry / Londonderry, was voted #4 in Lonely Planet’s “Best in Travel Guide 2013” to visit. It is an ancient yet contemporary city. It also received this year the prestigious title of “UK City of Culture 2013”. It remains the only city in the UK and Ireland whose ancient walls are intact, uncovering over 1450 years of history while embracing a modern-day pulse.
Armagh, is steeped in history and folklore, the ancient city of Armagh is a fascinating place combining the best of both contemporary and historical Ireland. The ancient capital of Ulster, Armagh is also known as the City of St. Patrick, and was the birthplace of Brian Boru as well as being the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland.
Modern Armagh City now offers the visitor a whole host of attractions from historical sites to contemporary and very lively pubs. Nestled in the heart of the Orchard County the city itself blossoms throughout the year and is packed full of National Trust Properties, kids’ attractions, museums and funfilled cultural events.
One of Ireland’s oldest cities, Armagh has a rich and unique heritage, with wonderful archaeological sites reflecting over 6,500 years of the island’s history. A glorious place to discover, Armagh will delight and inspire visitors of all ages.
Down: With a history that covers over 7,000 years, Down is blessed with a wealth of heritage sites, but the most famous of all is Downpatrick, where Ireland’s patron saint is reputed to be buried.
County Down is a picturesque spot filled mostly with low, rolling hills that contrast spectacularly with the rugged Mountains of Mourne and Slieve Donnard, which rise dramatically to a height of 848 meters.
Strangford Lough, meanwhile, is an abundant nature reserve with seals, geese, terns and wildfowl nestling amidst its peaceful shores.
Antrim: Belfast may grab much of the attention, but while the Northern Irish capital is now one of the top city break destinations in Europe, with the amazing Titanic exhibit, cool boutiques, hip bars and stunning Victorian architecture, there’s a lot more to Northern Ireland's County Antrim than just the urban buzz of its biggest city.
With one of the most awesome sights in the world – the Giant’s Causeway – an exceptionally beautiful coastline, historic castles and nine sublimely scenic glens, Antrim will win you over with its many charms.
Or dare if you must, include the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge; this famous rope bridge near Ballintoy in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, links the mainland to the tiny island of Carrickarede. It spans 20 meters and is 30 meters above the rocks below.
Another site not to be missed if you travel to Antrim, would be Titanic Belfast. Besides the building, itself being a magnificent building, the Titanic Experience immerses you, tying the past and present together over 9 floors of incredible exhibits.