Northern Ireland

Mythical Giants, Doomed Liners, & Thrones

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For so long the attractions of Northern Ireland were tragically overlooked. Not any more. The Antrim Coast combined with Belfast has a lot to offer and a terrific variety in depth too

Giants Causeway

Image. Pixabay license

The Giants Causeway

By far the most famous visitor attraction of the north is Ireland’s self-styled ‘8th wonder of the world’, the Giant’s Causeway. These are millions of post volcanic, hexagonal basalt columns, that meet the wild ocean in a series of bays and headlands. They are unique. You have a degree of freedom to explore them. They were allegedly formed by a mythical giant ‘Fin McCool’ which is perhaps an altogether more romantic explanation to believe. A visit should last about 2 hours

Dunluce Castle

Few citadels can enjoy a more spectacular, or precarious, location in the world, than the atmospheric ruin of Dunluce castle that sits atop a cliff overlooking the wild Atlantic swell. The castle dates to the 13th century ruin, albeit the current castle dates to the 17th century.

Dunluce Castle

Image. Pixabay license

Londonderry/ Derry, city walls.

Image by Sean MackCC by SA 3.0

Images by Pixabay License

Belfast

The city of Belfast has a well storied troubled past and we’d be guilt of perhaps trying to sugar-coat things a bit were we not to acknowledge this. Tensions are still never far below the surface even if we’re nominally at peace. One of the groups who used to move between the city’s divided communities were the Belfast taxi drivers. Many firms have since themselves up to offer ‘cab tours’ that take you into the main areas of both sides. Plenty of people wax romantically about Ireland, but few will ever have spent that much time there. This tour is unvarnished in its stark presentation of reality but gets you closer than those who otherwise speak so knowledgably on the subject

Carrick-u-Rede, Ropebridge

A narrow single track straddles mainland Ireland with a neighbouring rock in the sea. In other words, this is your chance to walk over the Atlantic, which should you need any reminding, is that frothy water swirling 70 feet beneath you. The bridge was used by ancient fishermen (never really sure we’ve ever understood why?). No one’s ever fallen off the bridge, but there have been a fair number of people baulk at the return (which is where today’s fishermen come to the rescue). Just close your eyes and recite some stirring poetry, it’s a lot less undignified, and cheaper, than having to call out the rescue boat!

Images by Pixabay License

Image by Albert Bridge CC by SA 2.0

Images by Pixabay License

Titanic Centre

Everyone knows the story of the doomed liner, but Belfast has a unique association with the Titanic. “She was alright when she left us” they’re fond of reminding folk. The Titanic was indeed built in Belfast at the Harland and Wolfe ship yard.

The Titanic Centre was opened for the millennium and takes the story a little bit more from the city that built her and the people who adopted her. Naturally a lot of the artefacts are at the bottom of the ocean so they have to make use of inter-active items and holograms etc. The reproduction of the grand staircase is the centre-point

The Dark Hedges

The box office blockbuster ‘Game of Thrones’ was predominantly filmed in Northern Ireland on location. Indeed, there are dedicated day tours for anyone who is interested and one of these would clear be worth considering if you are. The most famous site however for the casual interest is that of the ‘dark hedges’, a narrow lane flanked by beach trees which have over-grown to form a tunnelled canopy. ‘The Dark Hedges’ are only a 10 min detour between Portrush and Belfast and can easily be picked up accordingly, but they have become incredibly popular and over-crowded

Images by Pixabay License

Edinburgh

The Scottish capital is a must. Again the castle dominates the skyline, but Edinburgh is clearly much more, frequently topping UK polls as the best weekend break

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St Andrews & Fife

The 'Home of Golf' is a legitimate visitor destination in its own right. It's a small town with ancient ruins and a deep history

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The Highlands

The Highlands is where landscape, legend, and legacy collide. Lochs, glens, and clan feuds abound, including Culloden, Dunrobin, castle and Loch Ness

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Stirling

Stirling is one of Scotland's 'great' historic cities. Famed for the castle, once home of the Stuart dynasty it's also the location for Bannockburn (the Bruce) and Braveheart (Wallace)

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Perthshire

The majesty of the Perthshire countryside has long been admired by visitors. A 'string of pearls' exists along its principal travel corridor though making touring particularly easy

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