Thursday 20 July 2017

Northern Ireland – like you have never seen it before

Áine O Donnell

It’s all going on up North.

Northern Ireland has started making a name for itself as the ultimate staycation destination on the island of Ireland.

With everything from world-class shopping to incredible scenery and “class craic”, there is plenty to bring you across the border.

Still need convincing? Check out some of what Northern Ireland has to offer:

 

Derry Peacebridge

Considered a symbol for new Derry, the 771ft footbridge connects the traditionally protestant ‘Waterside’ area with the Catholic ‘Cityside’. The architectural marvel has made its mark on the Maiden City’s landscape, stretching over the River Foyle. At the foot of the bridge sits Ebrington Square: a former army barracks which has become the hippest part of the city with start-ups and even a craft brewery locating there. Have a pint of Derry Pale Ale in the Walled City Brewery before strolling across the Peacebridge into the city for a night of craic and culture in Northern Ireland’s capital of cool.

 

Glenariff Waterfalls

You wouldn’t believe that just one hour outside of Belfast lies Glenariff Forest Park. The park, dissected by both the Glenariff and Inver rivers, is home to what has long been considered the most beautiful of the nine glens of Antrim. Follow the boardwalks on a three-mile walk through the forest where you come across three incredible waterfalls. Take a moment to admire the scenery or capture the beauty of Glenariff forever with a snap – the area has long been a hotspot for amateur photographers.

 

Carrick-a-Rede

This rope bridge almost 30ft above sea level is breath-taking in every sense of the word. Along the 1 km long coastal stroll, you can spot the rope bridge on approach swinging between the coast and a stack 20 metres out to sea. Once you have had a deep breath to settle yourself, make your way across the road bridge – just don’t look down! Over on the stack, you can admire all of the native wildlife like the indigenous birds circling above and sometimes, you can even spot dolphins. Take in the stunning views while you summon up the courage to make your way back to dry land.

 

Mussenden

Watching the sunset from a temple atop a 120ft cliff while the waves of the North Atlantic crash on the shore below? Sounds unbelievable but Mussenden Temple outside Coleraine in Co. Derry is just that. The temple shadows Downhill Beach below and has views that rival any destination in the world. You can see the Donegal coastline to the west and the sands of Portrush and Portstewart to the east – not to mention the Western Scottish Isles which you can catch a glimpse of out to sea on a clear day. Truly stunning, no filter needed.

 

Belfast Cathedral Quarter

Belfast has become one of the hottest locations in Ireland for a city break staycation with sights, shopping and a thriving restaurant scene. And there is nowhere better to get a taste of Belfast than the city’s Cathedral Quarter. ! The area is home to some of Belfast’s best pubs from the traditional Duke of York to the cool The Dirty Onion. Shop ‘til you drop in the nearby Victoria Square and Castlecourt shopping centres before.

 

Giant’s Causeway

Volcanic, mythic and gigantic: Northern Ireland may now be known for all things Titanic but this attraction on the North Antrim coast has been around for millions of years. The Giant’s Causeway is made up of thousands of interlocking stepped basalt stacks that descend into the North Atlantic. You are sure to be mystified by the distinct and amazing landscape but don’t forget to drop into the Visitor Centre to hear about the myth of Finn McCool and the geography behind Northern Ireland’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 Sponsored by: Discover Northern Ireland

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