Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom’s smallest region of 1.7 million people, is compact and universally welcoming, yet diverse. Nowhere is more than a 2-hour drive from anywhere else. Rural tranquility combines with the vibrant friendliness of the cities – Belfast, the capital, and Derry-Londonderry – to create an intriguing British/Irish uniqueness and cultural richness. Taste and hear it in the cuisine (an ‘Ulster fry’ breakfast or a bowl of champ mash) served to a soundtrack of pipes and fiddles amid local craic (witty banter) in pubs and cafés across the land.

Fly-drive holidays in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland.

Travel from Belfast along the beautiful Antrim coast to the Giant’s Causeway. There you’ll encounter the legend of the mythical giant, Finn McCool, at this world heritage site, a geological wonder of basalt columns leading down to the ocean. South of Belfast lies Downpatrick, a shrine to Ireland’s patron saint. Visit his grave then continue the coastal route to Newcastle’s world-renowned golf links and the towering mountains of Mourne.

City breaks in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland.

History matters; it shouts from the walls. Discover Belfast’s backstreet murals during a colourful guided tour of its recent past. Or taste its nightlife in the lanes around the cathedral. Belfast’s Titanic Quarter and docks, where the liner was built, resurrects the 1912 disaster in an interactive visitor centre on a scale befitting the tragedy. Or visit the 2013 UK City of Culture, Derry-Londonderry, to walk its ancient walls, scene of 17th century sieges, or cross the Peace Bridge over the winding River Foyle.

Things to do in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland’s western counties – Tyrone, Fermanagh and Londonderry – spring quiet surprises. Glenelly Valley, among the lonely, unspoilt peaks of the Sperrin Mountains, brims with rare birdsong and chattering streams. Pan for gold there or head southwest to Fermanagh’s loughs to find hundreds of islands replete with a history of pre-Christian occupation, pagan rituals and Viking raids.

Discover Ireland & Northern Ireland

Coastal route from Belfast

Causeway Coastal Route

If you’re hiring a car in the city, you simply must drive the stunning Causeway Coastal Route from Belfast to Derry. This 120-mile route takes in major attractions and outstanding coastal scenery, earning it a well-deserved reputation as ‘one of the world’s great road journeys’. Highlights include the Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce Castle, Glenariff Forest Park and Londonderry. Head off route and discover even more unforgettable views in the surrounding Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Londonderry in Belfast

Walled City of Derry

Londonderry, also known as Derry, is the only remaining completely walled city in Ireland. It is one of the finest of its kind in Europe, offering a unique experience to visitors. The city’s distinctive architecture and striking hilltop setting overlooking the River Foyle makes it a must-visit on trips to Londonderry. Its two road bridges over the river, the Craigavon and Foyle, are iconic structures that act as gateways to this impressive city.

The Giants Causeway near Belfast

Giant’s Causeway

Hire a car in Belfast and visit the magnificent Giant’s Causeway on the north east coast of Co Antrim. Shrouded in mystery, this remarkable geological formation on the north east coast is made up of nearly 40,000 basalt columns that stretch out to sea. During your visit, why not stop by the Causeway Hotel for high tea? Or travel by steam train along the coast to the historic town of Bushmills, home to the famous ‘Old Bushmills’ Distillery.

Kilkenny City.

Discover the timeless charm of Kilkenny City on a day trip from Dublin. Explore the cobbled, pedestrianized streets of this vibrant city. Enjoy a bite to eat at eclectic restaurants or a pint of Guinness at one of the abundant watering holes dotted around Kilkenny. Venture beyond the old-fashioned shop frontages to discover chic boutiques. High on your list of must-visit attractions should be majestic Kilkenny Castle and the beautiful Cathedral Church of St Canice.

Galway City.

A three-hour drive from Dublin takes you to lively Galway City, rich in medieval heritage and with a delightfully bohemian feel. Wander around the historic alleyways of Kirwan’s Lane, stopping for refreshment at one of the many cafés and restaurants. Pop into intriguing craft shops offering locally-made knitware, jewellery and ceramics. Take in the famous 16-century Spanish Arch and medieval church of St Nicholas. Then discover more about the city’s history at the Galway Museum.