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Northern Ireland Travel guide

Northern ireland

Information about Northern ireland

Northern Ireland :Belfast, the pleasant and prosperous capital of Northern Ireland, may be reached by either air or ship from England or Scotland. The city is surrounded by beautiful country that has that soft and green quality which characterizes so much of Northern Ireland. Stay at the Grand Central or the Midland. Make trips along the coast road and through the famous Glens of Antrim, their steep, wooded valleys, or take a bus or train to County Down, "where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea."
Spend a few days in Portrush, County Antrim, a famous seaside resort with long stretches of sandy beach and a championship golf course. Hotels: Northern Counties and Skerry Bhara. Visit the Giant's Causeway near by, myriad columns of bright red and yellow volcanic stone.

County Fermanagh is one of the great beauty spots of Europe. Upper and Lower Lough Erne, two lakes which divide the county, are studded with islands on which are the ruins of castles, shrines and monasteries. Stay in the island city of Enniskillen at the Hotel Imperial. Visit some of the lovely rose gardens of County Armagh. The city of Armagh has been the ecclesiastical center of all of Ireland for more than fifteen centuries. St. Patrick founded his church there. Places worth seeing are the City Hall and other civic buildings in the neighbourhood of Donegal Square, and the Municipal Art Gallery and Museum in the Botanic Gardens. A trip (5 m.) to Stormont should be made. There the Northern Ireland Parliament Buildings, erected between 1928 and 1932, make a dignified and imposing sight when' approached by their processional avenue.
Linen goods and the distinctive china from Belleek make the best buys. Lovers of tradition could take a trip, 7 miles along the road between Belfast and Bangor, to the Ulster Folk Museum at Cultra.

The North East corner of County Antrim is easily the most spectacular. A splendidly engineered coast road begins at the cross-channel port of Larne, N. of Belfast Lough and the well maintained Castle of Carrickfergus. It cuts into the slopes of the hills as they tilt steeply to the sea, and for part of the way is tunnelled through rock.
The nine inland Glens of Antrim - lovely, sheltered, and well watered - make a contrast to coastal magnificence.

Ballycastle on the North coast and the Giant's Causeway, an area of tremendous volcanic eruption, where strata have been thrown up to form giant columns of basalt. The short crossing to Rathlin Island - a traditional place of Robert Bruce's encounter with the spider - may be rough, and better not attempted if no time-table is in operation. Other local sights include Dunluce Castle, falling romantically into the sea, and the Carrick-a-Rede footbridge made of rope by local fishermen. Portrush is the largest and best-equipped resort of the N. coast, and its golf is famous. Antrim, the county town, not far from Lough Neagh, has a traditional Round Tower. St Patrick spent his boyhood years of captivity as a herdsman on Slemish Hills to the East.

Armagh, the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland, is where St Patrick founded a seat of learning that became famous throughout Europe. He may have chosen it because it was already a legendary place in 300 s.c. at the time of Macha, Queen of Ulster, who may be buried in Emain Macha, the great mound 2 m. W. of the city. The Protestant Cathedral stands on one of Armagh's seven hills, and here Brian Born, King of all Ireland, was brought for burial after his death in the moment of victory at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014. The mosaics of the 19th-cent. Roman Catholic Cathedral are exceptionally interesting. Armagh is a county of intensive cultivation, of orchards and gardens, and the roses of Portadown are world-famous.,

Fermanagh, is a lovely county of islandstrewn lakes, limestone caves, and small farms. Its castle stands at the head of Lower Lough Erne, where St Molaise chose tiny Devenish Island for his hermitage and monastic settlement. This part ofIreland is for fishermen and travellers by water, but they should also drive to t8th-cent. Florence Court and Castlecoole to see superb examples of a period when domestic architecture and workmanship flourished in Ireland.

County Down has low undulating hills inland, but the Mountains of Mourne give grandeur to the coast immediately N. of the border. The Ards Peninsula provides a seaside playground for Belfast people, with Bangor only 12 m, from the city, far larger and more organized than the smaller places strung out along the Peninsula's coast. The demesne and gardens of Mountstewart, the seat of the Marquess of Londonderry at the head of Strangford Lough, are open to the public at certain times in the summer. At Downpatrick Cathedral, on the far side of the racing outlet to the fjord-like lough, St Patrick is believed to have been buried. The neighbourhood is steeped in legends of Ireland's patron saint. Enniskillen is the principal town of The Giant's Causeway, near Bushmills.

County Tyrone is hilly. Its eastern boundary is Lough Neagh. Omagh, the county town, was put to fire and wholly destroyed by its citizens in scorchedearth tactics against James II. It is now a prosperous market-town.

Derry's great walls recall the heroic siege of 1689, when the city held out against King James II's troops and the blockade of Lough Foyle. Almost everything of interest in Derry relates to this critical year of history. The centre of County Londonderry is taken up by the Sperrin Mountains, and is a pleasant area for touring. The N. coast has fine sandy beaches and family resorts.

N.Ireland Map:

2007 travel guides