Northern Ireland Experiences
Belfast is the capital and largest city in Northern Ireland. It has a rich cultural and maritime heritage. After years of political unease, Belfast has reinvented itself to a fun, friendly, artistic, happening place to visit. A must-see is Titanic Belfast, a state-of-the-art multimedia museum. Other historic landmarks include Belfast Castle, Belfast City Hall, and Crumlin Road Gaol. This friendly city welcomes visitors with traditional pubs, excellent restaurants, streets with local artist painted murals, and so much more. Belfast is a perfect gateway to explore the surrounding rural and coastal areas including seeking out Game of Thrones filming locations.
The village of Belleek, in County Fermanagh, is located on the banks of the River Erne at the border of the Republic of Ireland. This busy market town offers a variety of pubs, shops, and restaurants. Its main attraction is Belleek Pottery. Housed in a Neo-Georgian building, Ireland’s oldest working fine china pottery was established in 1857. Belleek Pottery holds a unique place in Ireland’s cultural and commercial heritage. It produces more than 100,000 pieces of pottery annually.
The small town of Hillsborough was founded in the 1640s by Colonel Arthur Hill who built a fort here. Today, the main street and square are lined with fine examples of Georgian houses and buildings. The most visited, Hillsborough Castle is the official residence of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland as well as the Queen’s official residence when she is in Northern Ireland. Viewed as a politically neutral venue, Hillsborough has played an important role in the Peace process in Northern Ireland since the 1980s.
This walled city, commonly known as Derry, is Northern Ireland’s second largest city. The city has over 1400 years of history from the Siege of Derry to the Battle of the Bogside and Bloody Sunday. A walk on the impressive city walls standing since the 17th century is a must. In the Bogside area, take a walking tour of the murals and visit the Museum of Free Derry to learn its history, the Civil Rights movement, and the events of Bloody Sunday. Derry’s city center was renovated in 2013 with the construction of the Peace Bridge, and the redevelopment of the waterfront and Guildhall area. This city is well known for live music.
One of Northern Ireland’s most well-known attractions, the Giant’s Causeway is a unique natural rock formation: tightly packed, stone columns that stretch to the sea. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it was created millions of years ago by cooling lava. There are several legends about this area, the most popular involves a fight between giants from Ireland and Scotland. You can climb to the top of the columns for spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean.