Northern Ireland is a varied place to visit, ranging from grand historic buildings and fascinating museums in the cities and towns, to rolling hills, mountains, lakes and rocky cliffs in its diverse and lovely landscape.
Northern Ireland Car Hire
By using the booking form below, you can get a free car hire quote or book your car directly with any of the leading car hire suppliers in Northern Ireland, which include, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Firefly, Hertz, InterRent, Sixt and others.
Northern Ireland Arts and Architecture
Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland is an interesting city to visit with its grand Victorian architecture and plenty of music and culture. In the Cathedral quarter you can see the elegant St. Anne’s Cathedral in Donegall Street, and the quarter is home to many cultural and arts organisations including music, photography and film and lots arts and cultural events. Belfast City Hall in Donegall Square is an impressive building and its style is Baroque Revival with superb towers and domes. Its gardens are lovely and popular with locals and visitors.
You can visit Ulster Museum which is in the lovely Botanic Gardens. In the museum you can see interesting collections including archaeology, art, zoology, botany and art. The Titanic Belfast is a popular attraction with stunning architecture of sparkling metal shaped like ships’ bows. The exhibition has collections and lots of interactive exhibits about the design, building and voyage of the Titanic and is a very interesting visit.
St. George’s Market is also worth a visit, being an indoor Victorian market with numerous stalls selling local and international food, together with craft stalls, and at the weekends there is live music to enjoy while you look around the stalls.
You can walk by the River Langan and relax, or visit Waterfront Hall or the Odyssey Complex where there are many concerts, exhibitions and shows to enjoy. You can go up Cave Hill where you can enjoy great views across the city from its peak, and very enjoyable is the traditional Irish music around the city in the many pubs, as well as a variety of cafes and restaurants to eat and drink in.
During your visit to Belfast you could visit such places as Carrickfergus, which is a lovely town less than 20km away, with historical buildings and attractive scenery. Here in Carrickfergus you can see the 12th century Norman castle which is an impressive and well maintained building. Visitors can look round the castle and admire the architecture and see the grand banqueting hall, together with collections displaying medieval life. You can visit St. Nicholas Church where you can admire the impressive windows of stained glass, and also go to the Carrickfergus Museum with its interesting collection displaying the history of the town from Medieval times to the present.
The city of Armagh is an interesting place with historical buildings and cathedrals together with scenic surroundings. It was here that St. Patrick founded his church in the 5th century in the place where St. Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral now stands. There are elegant Georgian streets and the Mall in particularly attractive, lined with trees. The Armagh County Museum is an interesting visit with its collections that include prehistoric items along with many artefacts displaying the county’s history. Other Museums include the Royal Irish Fusiliers Museum with displays about the Regiment’s history and its various battles such as the Napoleonic Wars. The Armagh Planetarium, together with the Observatory, is also an interesting visit and they are located in the lovely grounds of the Astropark where you can see fascinating models of the Universe and Solar System.
The Northern Ireland Landscape
The Glens of Antrim are nine beautiful glens with varied landscapes of valleys, cliffs, forests, woods and beaches. There are many different scenic sights you can see around the glens exploring the landscape, together with historical features such as standing stones and cairns. In Glendun, one of the glens, you can see slopes covered with forests and Glenballyemon has lovely waterfalls to see, as does Glenariff together with its lush forests in the Glenariff Forest Park.
You can walk or cycle around the region taking in the great views around you and enjoying the fresh air and nature of the area.
The coast of Antrim is stunning with variety a rocky cliffs stretching a long way around the coast. You can also see the Giant’s Causeway here which has been listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site. This large area of many tightly stacked basalt cliffs are shaped in unusual and fascinating columns and this rugged scenery is very popular with locals and visitors.
The Mourne mountains are a lovely range of rugged mountains with beautiful scenery of cliffs, hills, lakes and forests. You can hike or cycle around the scenic landscape and enjoy the sights and also go rock climbing in the mountains. Castlewellan Forest Park in the region is full of many different species of trees and you can enjoy great views of the mountains from the Park together with a walk around Castlewellen Lake. Visitors can go in Peace Maze situated in the park and there is also a fun and creative activity play area for kids. Many parts are covered in heather and there is also thyme, orchids and St. John’s wort among the other plants.
Northern Ireland Cuisine
Some commonly eaten foods in Northern Ireland include potatoes, bread and dairy and the most common meats are pork, beef and lamb. Traditional Northern Irish dishes include potato bread farls, which are flat breads made with potato, buttermilk and flour, and soda bread farls which bread made with flour, baking soda and buttermilk. Soda bread can be enjoyed with butter and jam or savoury with foods such as bacon or salmon. Soda bread with wholemeal flour is known as wheaten bread in Northern Ireland. The Ulster Fry is a large breakfast of fried potato bread farls, sausages, bacon, eggs, mushrooms, tomato and soda bread. A popular and very traditional dish in Northern Ireland is bacon and cabbage where the bacon joint is boiled and eaten with potatoes and cabbage, sometimes served with a white parsley sauce.
Another favourite dish is boxty, which is a fried potato cake made with half mashed and half grated raw potato. There are different variations and it can be fried with bacon or have garlic added. Colcannon is another favourite in Northern Ireland and is made with cabbage or kale, mashed potatoes and milk and sometimes onions or scallions can be added. Champ is mashed potatoes with spring onions and milk, and pasties are potato, sausage meat and onions compacted together and fried. Other dishes are vegetable roll which is spicy minced beef with leek, onion and carrot and the traditional Irish Stew is made with meat, especially lamb, potatoes and onions.
Popular desserts include fruit loaf and porter cake, which is rich fruit cake with stout added. Apple crumble is also very popular with a breadcrumb like crumbled pastry topped over sliced apples, sometimes also with blackberries. It is enjoyed with custard or cream. Scones are also popular and often eaten with butter and jam. Popular alcoholic drinks in Northern Ireland are whiskey, Guinness and ale, and favourite non-alcoholic drinks include tea.
Whether you are visiting the stunning Giants Causeway on the Antrim coast, looking around the fascinating Astropark in Armagh or enjoying traditional music in a friendly pub in Belfast, you are sure to have a great time in Northern Ireland.
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