According to PICKTRUE, Northern Ireland is part of the British part of the island of Ireland and borders the Republic of Ireland. Like southern Ireland, Northern Ireland is home to many interesting places worth seeing. On this page we have listed ten of these sights that, in our opinion, you should definitely not miss when you visit this part of the United Kingdom. Beautiful landscapes with historic buildings and historic sites make Northern Ireland an area of great diversity, offering something to suit every visitor. Be surprised by the diversity of beautiful inhospitable landscapes, intriguing history and cultural gems.
Top 10 things to do in Northern Ireland
#1. Giant’s Causeway
The rugged nature of Northern Ireland can manifest itself in strange shapes. One of the most famous places that exemplifies this in this country is Giants Causeway. These rock formations are known for its more than 40,000 rock basalt columns. It is a collection of columns in the form of higher and lower columns in geometric shapes. The columns were created by a volcanic eruption, about 60 million years ago. The result of a lava floor that spread over the chalk cliffs that once adorned the landscape. After the lava floor cooled, it shrank and the columns emerged.
Belfast has been the capital of Northern Ireland since 1922. The name comes from the Irish ‘Béal Feirste’ which can be translated as ‘mouth of the Farset’. Let this also be the area where present-day Belfast can be found. The Farset has merged into the River Lagan. This river is no longer visible and runs through a pipe under the city. The city and area of Belfast have a long history, so many traces of this history can still be found. There are remains of Iron Age forts to visit, but also traces from more recent history and in between. Some famous sights are the Royal Avenue, the Titanic Monument and St Anne’s Cathedral. The traces of recent history, in which Catholics and Protestants were diametrically opposed, are also impressive. Although the great violence since 1997 has ended, there are still neighborhoods where the split between these two Christian communities is tangible and visible.
#3. Marble Arch Caves
In the limestone area of County Fermanagh near Florencecourt you can visit the Marble Arch Caves. This cave formation was created by a combination of the landscape, which mainly consists of limestone, and the weather, which is largely determined by the influence of the Atlantic Ocean, which is about 65 kilometers away. This cave system is part of the ‘Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark’. Most famous are the caves, with spacious underground passageways where visitors are treated to substantial cave chambers, underground rivers and even waterfalls. In addition, the rest of the Geopark is also beautifully situated and you can enjoy walking and cycling.
#4. The Dark Hedges
The viewers and fans of the HBO hit series ‘Game of Thrones’ should not miss this place in Northern Ireland. The Dark Hedges can be found on Bergagh Road between the towns of Armory and Stranocum. The origins of this avenue of beech trees date back to 1775 when James Stuart built a new house and decided that the road to it should be flanked by 150 beeches. 90 of the trees still date from this period. The trees provide a unique spectacle in the green, somewhat bare landscape and form a tunnel. It is easy to understand that this fairytale tunnel has been used in a series that revolves around a ‘fantasy world’. Be sure to visit this beautiful avenue and then let the winter come.
#5. Ulster Aviation Society
A nice destination to go with the whole family is the ‘Ulster Aviation Society’. As the name suggests, this is a location where you can learn more about aviation. A collection of more than 35 aircraft can now be admired in two hangars. These are some fighter planes dating from the Second World War, but also unique fast spy jets from the cold war and many other aircraft. In addition to airplanes, you can also admire a number of helicopters. This is an organization that runs on voluntary work and charity. If you want to visit the site, you must make an appointment in advance.
#6. Dunlace Castle
Those who visit Northern Ireland probably also have an image of the rugged green coastline that has suffered for millions of years from the constant pounding of the Atlantic Ocean. This has resulted in a large part of the entire island of Ireland having a beautiful inhospitable-looking coastline. Another element that is inextricably linked to Northern Ireland are the castle ruins. A good example where the rugged coastal landscape and such a beautiful castle ruin come together is at Dunlace Castle. The remains of the castle lie on a rocky outcrop right on the raging waters of the Ocean. The castle was probably built at the beginning of the sixteenth century and breathes knight stories from the Middle Ages. One of these stories is about how part of the castle where the kitchens are located was destroyed during a storm and was outwitted by the sea.
#7. Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
Northern Ireland’s coastline is a favorite destination for visitors to the country. This, of course, has to do with the interplay of land and sea. Over a period of millions of years, this has very much defined the coastal Irish country. A nice place to admire this rough landscape is at ‘Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge’. This rope bridge connects the small island of Carrick-a-Rede to the mainland of the island of Ireland. Although this bridge dates from 2000, Irish salmon fishermen have been connecting the small islands in this way for centuries. The walk from the mainland to the island is an adventurous event. The bridge is twenty meters long and the abyss is about 30 meters below.
#8. Bushmill’s Distillery
Ireland is known for its excellent whiskey. This applies to the entire island of Ireland, including Northern Ireland. Where in the southern Ireland Jameson is a well-known brand, in the north they have ‘Bushmills’. This whiskey is distilled in the Bushmills in the ‘Old Bushmills Distillery’. This distillery was already licensed in 1608, making it the oldest distillery in the world. Due to the long history of whiskey, this drink is also one of the few that can call itself a real ‘primal whiskey’. With a visit to the Bushmills Distillery you will learn much more about the history of this famous Northern Irish whiskey and the process of its creation.
#9. Mussenden Temple
You could best say a small round temple when you translate Mussenden Temple into Dutch. The building dates back to 1785 and was inspired by the Temple of Vesta that can be found in Rome. For a long time the building served as a library. The library was dedicated to Frisewide Mussenden; a cousin of Frederick Augustus Hervey. The latter had the building constructed. The library was realized on a cliff on the coast; then still at a safe distance from the edge. However, the rough sea and savage weather have meant that today the temple sits on the edge of the cliff. This creates an amazing contrast of the structure in the barren green rugged coastal landscape.
#10. Carrickfergus Castle
In the east of Northern Ireland, near the center of Carrickfergus is the eponymous ‘Carrickfergus Castle’. The castle dates back to the year 1177. A large part of the castle is surrounded by water, which makes it a beautiful location that was also strategically interesting. The oldest traces date from the twelfth century, but over the years many residents have made adjustments well into the nineteenth century. Due to its strategic location, the castle has withstood the test of time. It was important to properly preserve the building so that it could be used for a long time. In case this castle was still useful in 1928 when it was still an important strategic location. The turbulent history of the Irish island and the many residents who have resided here make Carrickfergus Castle an interesting location to visit. Especially if you also add the beautiful location on the water.