Discover Northern Ireland
Start your driving adventure in Belfast
Make your way to Northern Ireland, home to both rural tranquillity and energetic cities. See the hot spot landscapes, from the scenery featured in Game of Thrones, to the CS Lewis inspiration of the Mourne Mountains. Explore the sights where the Titanic was built, visit St Georges Market, wander around City Hall, check out the Causeway Coastal Route and savour a slice of Irish cultural richness. Take a bite of the thriving foodie and drink hubs – 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.
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.
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 Derry-Londonderry, to walk its ancient walls, scene of 17 century sieges, or cross the Peace Bridge over the winding River Foyle.
Northern Ireland’s western counties – Tyrone, Fermanagh and Derry-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.
Prepare to lose yourself in the glorious greenery on an Ireland road trip – the distances are short, you’ll drive on the left both sides of the Irish border, and the roads are refreshingly empty. The promise of legend, landscape and a warm Irish welcome will exceed all expectations.Read article