NORTHERN IRELAND – WHY GO?
Once a no-go destination on the holiday map, Northern Ireland is now back in the mainstream. People who wouldn’t have given the region a second look years ago are now arriving in droves – and it’s easy to see why.
MUST SEE, MUST DO
Now sporting an upbeat new look and a regenerated city centre, Belfast is fast becoming Ireland’s capital of cool, mixing scrubbed-up Victoriana with a cutting edge arts scene and nightlife. Check out the Georgian, Victoria and Edwardian architecture at Belfast City Hall, The Grand Opera House, Queen’s University and Belfast Castle.
Head north from Belfast around the breezy and beautiful Antrim coast to Bushmills, home of the world’s oldest whiskey distillery. Rugged cliffs, coves, ancient fortresses and pretty villages make the coastal drive to Bushmills through the Glens of Antrim a stunner. At the famous Bushmills whiskey distillery you'll be offered a tot of the famous label or a hot toddie before leaving.
Just a leprechaun’s hop away from Bushmills is the Giant's Causeway, Ireland's only World Heritage Site. One of the great natural wonders of the world, its extraordinary six-sided black basalt pillars were formed millions of years ago by volcanic upheavals.
Further west, you can walk for miles along the sandy Atlantic beaches (or Strands) of Portrush, fringed by the limestone cliffs and caves of White Rocks. Fairgrounds, a Waterworld and the famous Portrush golf club make this an all-family resort. Clinging to a crag above the Atlantic spray, the ruins of Dunluce castle make an evocative sight just a few miles away.
MAKE A DATE
Belfast Film festival: Watch local films and international cinema at this annual movie festival.
Belfast Children’s Festival: The little ones get the chance to enjoy music, dance and theatre at this pint-sized party.
Music, art, comedy and Irish theatre are all celebrated at the lively Belfast Festival.
NORTHERN IRELAND ROMANCE
Cosy up together in front of a traditional turf fire, with a pint of the Black stuff and some Dublin Bay prawns, for a perfect night in.