A corner of the British Isles with harsh but beautiful landscapes. The cultural and natural attractions of Northern Ireland attract many tourists, and unusual, mystical places also receive a lot of attention. The natural monument "Giant's Road" has many ancient legends, and ghosts, the souls of prisoners who died many years ago, roam the corridors of the Crumlin Road prison
In addition to ancient castles, which are full of many European countries, it is worth visiting places that are characteristic only for Ireland. Belfast is the city where the famous Titanic was built. Now there is a museum on the site of the old shipyard. Be sure to visit the Bushmills distillery, the first distillery in the world where the famous Irish drink began to be produced.
What to see in Northern Ireland?
The most interesting and beautiful places to visit, photos and a brief description.
City Hall in Belfast
Located on Donegall Square in the city centre. The grand Victorian building was built in 1906. The gleaming copper dome rises to a height of 53 meters. Below it is the Whispering Gallery. A word spoken even in a whisper is perfectly audible at the opposite wall. Several types of marble were used to finish the vestibule and the main staircase. Large stained-glass windows depict events from the life of the city.
Road of the Giants
A natural monument formed from 40,000 basalt columns. The highest of them is 12 meters high. According to scientists, the natural monument was formed as a result of volcanic eruptions 50-60 million years ago. However, according to the legends of local residents, these are the remains of a bridge that was destroyed by the fleeing monster Goll. The Columns of the Road of the Giants are a UNESCO site and one of the most popular tourist destinations.
A museum complex based on the site of the shipyard where the infamous Titanic was built. The museum building is 38 meters high and is made in the shape of a ship. Inside is an incredibly accurate replica of the Titanic's front staircase. You can see the captain's bridge and visit the engine room. The museum's interactive exhibitions tell the story of the Titanic, from the moment it was built and launched to the wreck.
Crumlin Road Gaol (Belfast)
It was built in 1846 and for 150 years it housed prisoners sentenced to death. The building is located opposite the court, where the verdict was passed. A tunnel was laid between the court and the prison for the transport of criminals. Currently, the corridors of the prison and the cells are available for viewing by visitors. It is said that visiting the prison requires strong nerves, because many prisoners returned here in the form of ghosts.
A suspension cable bridge was constantly built in this place by local fish to get to a small island during the salmon migration period. Until 1970, the bridge had a handrail on one side only. One careless move could cost a life. Later, the design was improved, made it safer. Today, the bridge is a popular tourist attraction, with about 500,000 people crossing it every year.
The alley of beeches is already 250 years old. She was dropped off by the Sturd family to decorate the road to their mansion. The crowns of the trees during this time, under the influence of the wind, intertwined with each other, forming a tunnel. Experienced photographers advise coming here in cloudy weather or at sunset - this way you can better appreciate all the mystery and mystery of this place and make a magnificent mystical shot.
A small rotunda built on the edge of a steep rocky shore in 1875. The first owner of the pavilion used the premises as a library. For careful storage of books and to prevent their damage from moisture, a fire was kindled in the basement and dry heat was supplied through hidden air ducts. The building began to be called a temple because of its architecture, similar to the Italian temple of Vesta. Entrance to the temple for tourists is free.
Popular with tourists and locals at any time of the year. A clean beach with good infrastructure has received the Blue Flag for a reason. The length of the beach is over 10 km. Smooth entry into the water, soft and fine sand are especially appreciated by vacationers with small children. Various events are often held on Benone beach. There are entertainment complexes, children's attractions, tennis courts and a golf course.
Built in the 19th century on the side of a mountain. This gives tourists the opportunity to view the city of Belfast from a height of 120 meters. Initially, the castle was located within the city, but after a fire in the 18th century, the Chichester dynasty decided to build a castle among the picturesque mountains. At the end of the 20th century, the castle underwent a major reconstruction. Now it is popular both just for visiting tourists and for holding ceremonial events in it.
Dunluce Castle (Portrush)
The ruins of a medieval castle are located a few kilometers from the town of Portash. The castle was built on a basalt rock 30 meters high. Most of the monument of historical architecture was erected in the XVI-XVII centuries. There is an assumption that the two towers of the castle were built earlier - in the XIV century. There are many tragic legends about the building, and the Led Zeppelin group used a photo of the castle in the design of their album cover.
Derry City Walls
Built around the historic center of the city at the beginning of the 15th century. The walls are about 1 mile long and up to 10 meters thick. The medieval wall with bastions and ramparts has been well preserved to this day. For the passage of the walls in the Middle Ages, gates were made - Ship, Bishop's, Butcher's, and Ferry. In the 19th century, three more gates were added to them - Castle, Arsenal and New gates.
Belfast Botanic Garden
Opened in 1840 and covers an area of 11 hectares. The design of the garden was made by the famous Northern Ireland architect Charles Lanyon. A feature of the park is the Palm House greenhouse. It has a unique zone with a tropical climate. An attraction is a lily that has blossomed after a 23-year wait. Popular performers often perform on the territory of the botanical garden, for example, the world famous band U-2.
The location on the mountainside allows the inhabitants of the zoo to live in unique and peaceful conditions. There are 1,400 animals of 120 different species in the zoo, and their number is increasing every year not only due to the acquisition of new inhabitants, but also due to the offspring. About 90 newborn cubs of different species appear per year, which indicates good living conditions for animals.
Ulster Museum (Belfast)
Located on the territory of the botanical garden. Covers an area of 8000 m². One of the largest museums in Ireland. The theme of the museum is the natural history of Ireland. The impressive zoological collection of exhibits consists of mammals, birds and insects. Her pride is the skeleton of a Triceratops. There are expositions of archeology and ethnography, as well as a large number of publications and manuscripts on the main topics of the museum.
Ulster Folk and Transport Museum
Considered one of the most visited museums in Northern Ireland. Received the title of "Museum of the Year". The folklore museum clearly shows the rural way of life - ancient buildings are collected, each of which has its own purpose - a farm, a stable, places for demonstrating folk crafts. The transport museum tells about the history and modes of transport of the region. Steam locomotives, ships, carriages, bicycles and public transport are presented.
Ulster American Folk Park
An open-air museum whose expositions tell about the life of emigrants who voluntarily left or were deported to North America. It houses about 30 old buildings, some of them are authentic buildings of the XVIII century. There are reconstructed settlers' houses, the bishop's house, a smithy, churches, and a school. During popular holidays in America, solemn events are organized here. They are visited by hundreds of people.
The oldest distillery in Ireland and, according to some sources, in the whole world. Located in County Antrim. Whiskey production began here in 1608. The Bushmills distillery is visited by over 100,000 people a year. Visitors can get acquainted with the history of production and all its stages. For them, guided tours with a tasting of the drink. The distillery produces two varieties - blended whiskey and single malt.
Stormont Parliament Building
Seat of the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive. A separate building for local authorities appeared in 1932. The architecture used the neoclassical style - simple forms, a laconic facade without decorations, no decor. The central facade of a strict building is decorated only with columns. A monument to the famous politician Edward Carson was erected near the building in the year of its opening.
Derry Town Hall
It is located in the historical center of the city near the City Walls. The Neo-Gothic building was built in 1890, it was subsequently badly damaged by a fire, and then by a bomb explosion during the Time of Troubles. To date, the Town Hall has been restored, and the interior has been significantly updated. Including replaced the pride and decoration of the Town Hall - beautiful stained-glass windows. On the high tower of the Town Hall there is a four-sided large clock.
Peace Bridge (Derry)
The pedestrian bridge opened in 2011. Its name is not accidental. The creation of the bridge symbolizes peace between the Protestant and Catholic communities living on opposite banks of the river. The bridge stretches from St. Columbus Park to the Guildhall. It is 235 meters long and is made in an unusual curved shape. From it you can clearly see the part of the city located on a hill, as well as the buildings of the Protestant cathedral, the stock exchange and the collegium.
Grand Opera House (Belfast)
Unusual for Europe, an example of architecture with oriental elements. The building was designed by Frank Mitchum. The theater was built at the beginning of the 20th century. In 2006, the interior premises were rebuilt to meet modern needs - the main stage and the auditorium were expanded, a small stage was added, and a restaurant was equipped. Musicals, comedy and drama performances are staged on the stage of the theater, as well as various events are held.
Queens University (Belfast)
In 1849, an educational institution was opened with the name "King's College Belfast", which subsequently received the status of a university. Located in a building of classic English architecture, designed by Charles Lanyon. The appearance of the building has remained virtually unchanged since its construction. The university employs almost 4,000 people, of which more than 2,000 are research fellows.
St Anne's Cathedral (Belfast)
Cathedral in Belfast city centre. The construction of the majestic building was completed in 1904. The architecture of the building combines Romanesque style and classic Irish motifs. During the war years, the cathedral was badly damaged by bombing. Parishioners collected money for the restoration. Tourists will be interested in beautiful stained-glass windows in the windows of the cathedral and organ concerts. Worship services are held every day.
Cathedral of Saint Columba (Derry)
Opened in 1633. The building initiative came from King James I, who decided that in the new County of Londonderry, the first building to be built should be a cathedral. A tray and a silver chalice were delivered to the cathedral as a gift from the London Irish community. The cup has been used in the cathedral to this day. The building style is Gothic. In 1776, a large-scale rebuilding of the cathedral began, which ended only at the beginning of the 20th century.
Inch Abbey (Downpatrick)
The ruins of a monastery near the small town of Downpatrick. From the walls of the monastery church of the XII century, only a small fragment has now been preserved. Previously, there were cells, refectories, and workshops on the territory. In the 16th century, the monastery was abolished, and the buildings collapsed over time. Excavations by archaeologists have discovered that settlements of Celtic monks were located on this site even before the monastery.
One of the best preserved castles in Europe. Erected in 1177 on a hilltop and surrounded by the sea and rocks. This location made it almost impregnable. The spring located in the castle helped to survive long sieges. The main tower of the castle consists of four floors. You can climb up the narrow spiral staircase. The castle has been repeatedly restored and is currently popular with tourists.
Built in the 18th century on the shore of the lake. Its beauty and grandeur were appreciated by the creators of the popular TV series Game of Thrones. Scenes that were scripted to take place in Winterfell Castle were filmed in the courtyard of Ouadre Castle. After that, the popularity of the castle among tourists increased even more. The architecture is a bizarre combination of gothic and classicism. 300 hectares of castle gardens with roses and tropical plants laid out in a Victorian style.
The castle was built at the beginning of the 15th century. Its shape is a classic defensive structure - a square fortress with towers in the corners. Passed several times from the hands of the O'Donnell clan to the hands of the Maguire clan and back. During the sieges and hostilities, it was partially destroyed. Currently, the castle houses a museum, the exposition of which is devoted to the history of the castle, as well as the history of the royal regiments of the district.
Scrabo Tower (Newtownards)
Erected on the hill of the same name in 1875 by the famous architect Charles Lanyon. The purpose of the construction of the tower is to perpetuate the memory of the Marquis of Londonderry Charles Steward. The tower with a sharp spire at the top is built of gray stone. It is surrounded by a park with a hazel grove and green hills. Tourists who climb the 122 steps of the stairs inside the tower will be able to enjoy a beautiful view of the picturesque nature around.
Located in the Irish Sea. Access to the island's only village is possible only by ferry, the boat trip takes about 50 minutes. The village has a hotel, a pub, a café and a campsite. Tourists are attracted to the island by its amazing natural beauty. Hundreds of seabirds nest on white high cliffs. Another excursion is also popular - to Bruce's Cave. According to legend, King Robert the Bruce visited it in 1306.
Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail
Pedestrian winding path that leads to the observation deck of a high mountain. A charming flat landscape at the beginning of the path is replaced by a swamp. The shades of the grass on it change from cloudy green to purplish red. For passage through the swamp, a flooring of boards about 4 kilometers long was laid. The last section of the path goes along a steep climb among the boulders. From the top of the mountain, breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape open up.
Tollymore Forest Park
Forest park created in the 18th century. The nature of the park is picturesque and unique. It is located near the coast, the climate is mild. This allowed plants from all over the world to be planted here, such as the Himalayan cedar. The park has two hills 250 meters high. The architect Thomas Wright built several small decorative structures in the park. Several scenes from the first episode of Game of Thrones were filmed here.
Marble Arch Caverns
The name means "marble arches" - because of the marble-like karst formations. The age of the caves is about 1 million years. They are a popular tourist attraction. A fascinating tour of the cave lasts about 1.5 hours. Paths are laid to the most spectacular places of the cave, and you can navigate along the underground river by boat with an electric motor. Under the rays of illumination, stalactites and stalagmites shine like precious stones.
Mountain granite ridge, which is visited by thousands of tourists from all over the world. It combines steep peaks and gentle slopes, rivers with clear clear water and the harsh Irish landscape. There are 28 peaks in the Morne Mountains, the highest point is Mount Slieve Donard - 850 meters. From its top, there is a breathtaking view of the picturesque Morloch Bay. You can explore the nature of the mountains both on foot and during a mountain bike ride.
Cave Hill Park (Belfast)
The park is named after the peak located in it - "Cave Hill". Its height is 368 meters. From the top of the hill you can see the whole city of Belfast, and on a clear day you can see a piece of Scotland. The locals nicknamed the hill "Napoleon's nose". With a good imagination and from a certain angle in the outlines of the hill, one can find a resemblance to the nose of the emperor. At the top of the hill is a monument of the Iron Age - Fort Makart.