Northern Ireland Attractions
Giant's Causeway - Unesco World Heritage Site. Dramatic cliffs faced with basalt columns, formed 60 million years ago, of varying heights. The shorter columns form stepping stones which march out to sea. Visitor Centre, shop and guided tours for groups of more than 15.
Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge - In an area of outstanding natural beauty, the rope bridge spans a chasm of 20 metres and joins the mainland to Carrick-a-Rede Island. Originally fishermen erected the bridge so they could check their salmon nets, but today it is a popular tourist attraction.
Dunluce Castle - Medieval Irish Castle on the North Antrim coast. Sitting on a basalt outcrop the original castle was built in the 13th century but has since undergone many changes and improvements. There was once a village outside the walls but this was destroyed by fire in 1641. Visitor centre, shop and guided tours of the ruined castle.
Armagh Observatory & Planetarium - the observatory is a modern astronomical research institute, currently employing around 25 astronomers. Visitors can see historic telescopes, as well as telescope domes, scale models of the Solar System and the Universe and other exhibits. On the same grounds is the Planetarium, a world-renowned astronomical educational establishment. It offers
interactive workshops on a variety of subjects such as meteorite impacts, rocket building, solar viewing and space robots. The Celestial Cathedral displays illuminated deep space images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.
Armagh City - with two cathedrals, both having St. Patrick as their patron saint, is the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland. Construction of the Catholic Cathedral started in 1840 and it was consecrated in 1904. St. Patrick's Church of Ireland is much older and it is believed that the original church was constructed in the year 445, but since then it has undergone rebuilding and much restoration. It is thought that, of the original building, only the bases of the tower piers remain. Close to the cathedrals is the Palace Stables Heritage Centre. Once part of the archbishop's palace, the centre depicts life in the year 1786. For the visitor there is a restaurant, shop, playground, walking trails, picnic area, Eco trail and education facility.
Navan Fort & Centre - is an ancient monument, which may have been a ritual or ceremonial site. It was the ancient capital of the Kings of Ulster. Traces of a giant Celtic temple have been found by archaeologists and many artifacts in bronze age artificial pool. The centre, with its iron age dwelling, tells the story of legends, and a past life.
Derry City - boasts defensive walls which vary in depth from 12 to 35 feet. They completely surround the city with a walkway and run for approximately 1.5 kilometres, offering an unequalled view of this renaissance style city. Worth seeing are the gothic style Guildhall, the Harbour Museum next to the Guildhall, the Workhouse Museum, St. Columb's Cathedral, the Tower Museum and the Foyle Valley Railway Centre.
Downhill Castle and the Mussenden Temple - The castle was the home of the Earl Bishop of Derry, built in the 18th century. The grounds are extensive, beautifully landscaped with ornamental gardens and lakes. Don't miss the Mussenden Temple, inspired by the Temple of Vista in Rome, it perches high on the cliffs, overlooking Downhill strand.
Roe Valley Park - A tranquil location where the river Roe runs through the centre of the wooded park for 3 miles. The water tumbles through over rocks and though dramatic gorges. There is superb trout and salmon fishing and the river is used for canoeing, its steep sided gorges for rock climbing. The park hosts over 60 varieties of birds, many wild flowers, badgers, otters and foxes.
Dundrum Castle - A fine example of a Norman castle built about 1177. Offers good views of the Mountains of Mourne.
Down Cathedral - The remains of St. Patrick, founder of the Christian church in Ireland, reputably lie in the cathedral grounds. The Saint Patrick story can be enjoyed at the Saint Patrick Visitor Centre in a modern exhibition complex.
Ulster Folk and Transport Museum - Step back in time to the early 20th century and see life as it used to be. Stroll around the church and other old buildings to relive the hard existence of a previous period. The transport museum includes horse drawn carts, steam locomotives, Irish built motor cars and the history of aircraft and ship building. Scare yourself with the X2 flight experience.
Mount Stewart House - An 18th century house, on the east shore of Strangford Lough, with extensive gardens. Points of interest include the Sunken Garden, Shamrock Garden, the lake, the Spanish Garden, the Italian Garden, Menagerie, the Dodo Terrace, the Fountain Pool and laid out walks in the Lily Wood and rest of the estate.
Castle Ward - Home of a summer opera season, this 18th-century mansion was built in two styles, the first classical, the second gothic. Thanks to the diverging tastes of Lord & Lady Bangor this dimorphous continues throughout the building. The house is inside a 820 acre walled demesne, with woodland parkland and lakeside walks and stunning viewpoints. There are many other things to see including a gift shop and second hand book shop, wild life centre, farmyard with animals and a chance to dress up in period costumes.
Belleek Pottery Factory - Belleek pottery is exported to many countries. Its unique design makes it a desirable acquisition and very collectable. At the factory you can observe the various stages of manufacture by skilled craftsmen. There is a visitors centre, museum and audio visual theatre.
Castle Coole House - is a fine example of an 18th century neoclassical Palladian mansion. Designed by James Wyatt, it was the home of the Earls of Belmore. Internally it contains a plethora of rich decoration, sumptuous furnishings and furniture. It holds musical evenings throughout the year.
Enniskillen Castle - is almost 600 years old, built by the Hugh Maguire, it served to guard one of the few passes into Ulster. The grounds contain 2 museums, the Fermanagh County Museum and The Inniskillings Museum.
Marble Arch Caves - located near the village of Florencecourt, are an impressive series of limestone caves. Visiting involves travelling on a boat through the first part of the caves, the tour lasting about 75 minutes. It is a world of lofty chambers, passages, waterfalls and rivers. On site there is a restaurant, souvenir shop, audio visual theatre and exhibition area.
Ulster-American Folk Park - is a themed open air museum with knowledgeable volunteers, dressed in period costume, going about their everyday tasks. It tells the story of emigration during the 18th and 19th centuries. There are some 30 traditional buildings, thatched cottages, log cabins, shops, agricultural and homes with demonstrations of crafts, cooking, printing, photography, textiles and blacksmithing. There is also a full size reconstruction of an early 19th century sailing ship.
Drum Manor Forest Park - This attractive park offers walking trails, a walled butterfly garden, a shrub garden, an arboretum, the remains of a 19th century manor house, several lakes, a tea room and interesting forest plots containing both native, exotic deciduous and evergreen trees.
Gray Printer's Museum - Costumed guides demonstrate early printing presses. Audio-visual display telling the history of printing.
Tyrone Crystal - Guided tours are available, demonstrating blowing, marking, cutting and finishing stages of this fine crystal. Restaurant and shop.
The Ulster History Park - 10,000 years of Irish history and historic dwellings laid out in chronological order on this 35 acre site. The Park houses stone circles, single standing stones, stone tombs, and an impressive stone dolmen.
Beaghmore Stone Circles - 7 mysterious stone circles which are presumed to be ceremonial.