Attractions of Northern Ireland (Belfast & Derry Route)- Part 1
Posted by Niamh Allabyrne on the 27th of February 2014 at 09:29:24
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The spectacular driving route from Belfast to Derry is mentioned as being one of the top 5 Road Trips worldwide. I think that speaks for itself and is reason enough to check it out! I was recently touring part of this scenic route so I decided to cover some of the major highlights and the attractions you should not miss!
The capital of Northern Ireland Belfast is absolutely worth a visit. After overcoming the dark past of the Troubles this city is striving with life! Even though Belfast is the biggest city in Northern Ireland it has still retained it small town charm. There is a lot to do and see in this city depending on your taste. If you like history a visit to the Ulster Museum is a must! There are also great tours offered, that will give you a deeper insight on the Troubles. Take a good look at the colourful murals and imagine what it must have meant for the people to live confined in their own quarter. See if your favourite band is performing at the Odyssey Arena or discover some new great artists. Or just wander around and enjoy the city that has inspired Gulliver’s Travel and The Chronicles of Narnia. Belfast is a very compact city despite its size, therefore nearly everything is accessible by foot. If you are in Belfast you should visit the City Hall, an Edwardian architecture style building that is illuminated beautifully at night.
This Victorian era jail only closed in 1996 with 150 years of history and gruesome stories! Variations of cells were rebuilt to allow visitors a look into the past. A lot of authentic items are being displayed further allowing the visitors to trip into former times. The tour is very informative giving you insight on how a jail was operated. However parts of the tour are not for the faint-hearted. We saw the execution room and I thought it was quite depressing, but the guide will ask you if you want to see it or stand back.
We did join the paranormal tour as well and it was certainly the perfect setting for this spooky experience. Wind was howling and rain was crashing against the windows, in short the cliché set-up for a horror movie. We did not see any ghosts though, which I was very relieved about! However this tour is authentic, no person wearing a sheet is jumping out behind one corner for a cheap scare. The guides really want to show how paranormal investigation works and what happened to the people in the jail. For me the part in the tunnel was the creepiest, as it was dark, I was standing a little bit isolated, because I wanted to take pictures and that place felt quite gloomy. So thanks Isabel for not making an ghostly appearance!
I think we all know the movie Titanic but in this awarded centre you can learn the real story behind this tragedy. The Titanic Belfast has become one of Belfast’s most popular attractions and you will understand why, when you see it. The architecture alone is stunning with a dazzling appearance created by three-dimensional aluminum plates covering the building. Inside they have created an amazing display with a dark ride and interactive exhibitions in over nine galleries. I especially liked the detail they put into everything. As the journey of the Titanic story is recreated, each exhibit gradually gets colder and darker until you reach the bottom of the ocean. The rebuilt staircase is unfortunately not open for individual visitors, but my group was lucky enough to be shown through to the conference hall it stands in. Apparently it is very popular for weddings, as it gives the bride and groom a spectacular setting for a grand entrance.
If you see pictures of waterfalls that could come straight out of a storybook, the scene is probably from the Glenariff Forest Park, the Queen of the Glens.Three waterfalls help to create this fairytale like environment. They are featured in a 3 mile long trail, the Waterfall Walk. Since its opening 80 years ago it has been popular and you will understand why as you stroll along it. There are other trails you should not miss which will give you a panoramic view over the landscape or a peaceful walk by a river. Personally though I liked the Waterfall Walk best as I found it very magical. I am also fond of waterfalls as you normally can see many rainbows by it and I am still looking for a pot of gold. It was also a great place to take some amazing pictures!
Feeling adventurous? Then take your chance and cross over the sea on a suspension bridge. The Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is nothing for people suffering from acrophobia as you will have to cross a 30 m deep chasm to reach the other end. However it rewards the brave with a magnificent view of Rathlin and the Scottish Islands. In addition you can walk around the Carrick-a-Rede Island to see stalagmites although you should wear footwear suited for difficult terrain.
I myself am not particularly fond of heights and wobbly bridges, particular in this combination, but it is manageable to cross the bridge without having a heart attack. There haven’t been any accidents since its construction, so it really looks more dangerous than it is. It is still a fun, exciting thing to do and I would highly recommend it.
A must do in your bucket list when visiting Ireland, this natural rock formation is truly awe-inspiring and you should not miss out the chance to see it with your own eyes! Although created by nature, it is no wonder that it has inspired many myths and legends. The sweetest one is by far the story of Fionn MacCool, who built this causeway to meet up with his lover in Scotland.
There is also a great Visitor Centre, where you can learn more about the creation of this rare phenomenon. I would absolutely recommend going in there as I was quite fascinated by their interactive exhibition.
However you should be aware that heaps of people want to see this place, so it might be a little crowded. Book your tickets in advance if you can. You don’t want to waste your time standing in line if you could explore this wondrous area instead.
These are just a few of the thinks you should consider going to when visiting Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is featured in many of our tours.
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