The best sights in Northern Ireland

Belfast, photo by Steve Cadman

Perhaps because Northern Ireland has been ravaged by civil unrest for a long time, or maybe the fact that it is located on another island entirely, has made this part of the United Kingdom less of a tourist target than England, Scotland or Wales. However, despite initial reticence, more and more tourists are now discovering the breath-taking natural wonders of Nothern Ireland, as well as its cultural and historical heritage. While some still consider Northern Ireland merely an extension of the Republic, this couldn’t be more wrong: from small details like the use miles on road signs to the use of pounds as a currency, to obvious ones like a whole different accent and even outlook on life, history and culture. This part of the Irish island is a country with an identity of its own, neither completely Irish nor British. Here are some of the best sights in Northern Ireland, but they are far from being the only ones!

Giant’s Causeway

The Giant’s Causeway is undeniably the most famous sight in Norther Ireland, but it is well known even beyond the country’s borders. The causeway is a peculiar formation of rocks on the coast of Antrim, and made up of hexagonal basalt columns that are surprisingly regularly shaped. Understandably, legends and stories surround the place, and the rock formation’s creation is attributed to the legendary giant Fionn mac Cumhaill.

Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge

Carrick-A-Rede, photo by Sean Lucas

Carrick-A-Rede is quite possibly one of the scariest rope bridges in the world, and yet it attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. The precarious rope bridge links the mainland to the tiny Carrick Island. The bridge is twenty meters long and it suspended thirty meters above rocks and foamy ocean waters. From Carrick, you can see Rathlin island and even get some exceptional views of Scotland too!

Belfast

During the Troubles, Belfast was a no-go area where hardly any tourists dared to step foot. Now, more than a decade later, Belfast was voted one of the best destinations for a UK city break, and it is among the safest cities in the kingdom. Belfast has a very strong individuality, and despite getting a lot less attention than Dublin, the other major city on the island, Belfast has a lot of character and it is a very rewarding city to explore.

Bangor

Giant's Causeway, photo by Sean McEntee

Bangor, on the shores of Belfast Lough, it simply one of the most charming towns in Northern Ireland, and home to a picturesque marina, the largest in Northern Ireland. Bangor Castle, a 19th century mansion, has very pretty castle grounds where you can take a stroll, while Bangor Abbey will appeal to those with a penchant for history.

Loughnavar Forest Park

If you need a breath of fresh air in the middle of nature, go for an outing to the Loughnavar Forest Park on the shores of Lower Lough Erne. The most famous sight in the park (and indeed one of the best sights in Northern Ireland) are the Cliffs of Magho, a limestone escarpment rising above the woods.

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