Region Itinerary: Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is a compact destination with a warm personality and great potential for growth. We have breath-taking sights, spectacular landscapes and cosmopolitan cities. Not forgetting the wealth of activities such as world class golf, walking, cycling and water sports for the more adventurous.
For a small destination, we have a wealth of places to see and stories to tell. From being the birthplace of Titanic and home of the world-famous Giant’s Causeway, the region also boasts a rich Christian heritage and strong links to St Patrick. We also have the majestic Mourne Mountains, the inspiration for CS Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia. The Fermanagh Lakelands, and of course, not forgetting the historic Walled City of Derry~Londonderry the first ever UK City of Culture for 2013. The city’s 400-year-old walls, complete with the original canons are among the best preserved in Europe.
Belfast’s architecture stands as testament to the city’s industrial heritage, the iconic Titanic Belfast, the latest addition to the Belfast skyline, standing alongside the Harland & Wolff shipyard cranes.
Just a short trip away, the Causeway Coastal Route takes visitors along miles of stunning coastline, though charming villages, past crescent bays, sandy beaches and rocky headlands to reach the unique geographical jigsaw puzzle, the Giant’s Causeway.
NORTHERN IRELAND IN THREE DAYS
Day 1: Belfast city sightseeing tour on board one of the hop on hop off buses. Have lunch in the Victorian Crown Liquor Saloon and then take the Titanic Quarter Walking tour to explore the history of the famous ship, finishing up at the iconic visitor attraction, Titanic Belfast. That evening, explore the many pubs and restaurants that make up Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter.
Day 2: Take the scenic coastal drive north from Belfast, taking in the breath-taking scenery as call at quaint villages such as Cushendall and Cushendun. Take the short but exhilarating walk across Carrick-a-rede Ropebridge, if you dare to the Salmon fishery with a 30m chasm below you. Visit the spectacular Giant’s Causeway with its new state of the art Visitor Centre, Dunluce Castle and Bushmills Distillery along the spectacular North Antrim Coast.
Day 3: Take a walk around the historic walls of Derry, the only completely walled city in Ireland. Head South for the Fermanagh Lakes, 300 square miles of fresh water dotted with a host if small islands. Play 18 holes at Lough Erne Golf Resort and stop at one of the many grand National Trust properties for a tour and afternoon tea.
NORTHERN IRELAND IN FIVE DAYS
Day 1: Visit Titanic Belfast and explore the maritime history of Belfast and its people and learn the real story of the designing, the building and the launching of the famous ship. Take a trip up to the University Quarter of the City and tour the recently refurbished Ulster Museum with its award-winning exhibits coving all the corners of life in Northern Ireland. Belfast City Hall has also recently been restored to its former glory and is well worth a visit.
Day 2: Head to County Down and explore the rich Christian Heritage of Northern Ireland. Visit the St Patrick Centre and Down Cathedral, which houses the grave of Ireland’s Patron Saint. Discover the Irish Christian legacy of missionary activity, metalwork and illuminated manuscripts of the past before travelling via ferry across Strangford Lough. Have lunch in one of the many seafood restaurants on the shores of the Lough. Stop in at Mount Stewart House & Garden and temple of the Winds on the Coastal drive back towards Belfast.
Day 3: Take the Coast Road North from Belfast, calling at the Norman Carrickfergus Castle before continuing on to the Giant’s Causeway and Dunluce Castle. The North Antrim Coast boasts some of the most beautiful and dramatic coast line in Ireland. Sample some of the famous Old Bushmills Whiskeys on offer at the distillery, one of the oldest in the word.
Day 4: Derry/Londonderry, the first UK City of Culture offers a rich historical past as well as a modern vibrant city feel. Tour the dramatic walls above the city streets, visit the Tower Museum and learn of the long history of the Maiden City. Depart South, passing small farm villages dotted across the Sperrin Mountains en route to the Ulster American Folk Park where you can book your passage on a ship bound for America and emerge in a re-created village of the distant past.
Day 5: Call at the world-famous Pottery and immerse yourself in the history of the Belleek experience Depart Fermanagh and head towards Armagh and visit the twin Cathedrals of St Patrick. On the way, back to Belfast stop off at the charming village of Hillsborough and see Hillsborough Castle through the splendid wrought iron gates.