15 Best Things To Do In Northern Ireland

15 Best Things To Do In Northern Ireland

By will

As a United Kingdom country, Northern Ireland has a rich history and a unique culture that make it an attractive destination for visitors. With towering mountains, tranquil beaches, and historic sites, there is no shortage of amazing places to explore in Northern Ireland.

In this article, I will cover the 15 best things to do in Northern Ireland so that you can make the most of your trip! From visiting the Giant’s Causeway to exploring the Mourne Mountains, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

So, let’s get started!

Visit the Giant’s Causeway

Causeway Coast, The Giant's Causeway
Photo by David Dixon

You won’t believe your eyes when you visit the Giant’s Causeway, with its thousands of hexagonal basalt columns rising up from the sea! It’s like something out of a fairy tale, and is sure to take your breath away.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the result of an ancient volcanic eruption and is full of fascinating geological features. Its name comes from the legend of the giant Fionn mac Cumhaill, who’s said to have built the causeway to cross the sea and fight his Scottish rival Benandonner.

The Giant’s Causeway is located on the beautiful North Antrim Coast and is the perfect spot for a day trip. You can explore the site on foot, taking in the stunning views, or you can hire a guide to provide more information and stories about this natural wonder.

There’s also a visitor’s center where you can learn more about the history, geology, and mythology of the area. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or just looking for a peaceful day in nature, the Giant’s Causeway is a must-see destination in Northern Ireland.

Explore Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
Photo by Rossographer

Experience the thrill of crossing the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and don’t forget to soak in the stunning views!

Located in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is a must-see tourist attraction.

The bridge spans a distance of 66 feet across a deep sea chasm and connects the mainland to Carrick-a-Rede island.

The bridge is the only way to access the island, and the experience of making the crossing is one of a kind.

The bridge itself is made of slanted wooden planks, and visitors must navigate across the bridge using a rope handrail.

While the bridge certainly looks intimidating, the experience of crossing it is surprisingly calming, and the views from the bridge are absolutely breathtaking.

Once you make it across the bridge, you can explore the island and take in the bird’s-eye view of the Causeway Coast.

All in all, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is an unforgettable experience and a must-see destination when visiting Northern Ireland.

Discover the World Heritage Site of The Gobbins

On the Gobbins Cliff Path, Islandmagee
Photo by Colin Park

Discover the dramatic coastal cliff path of The Gobbins and be mesmerized by its unique features!

The Gobbins, a World Heritage Site, is a spectacular natural feature located on the causeway coastal route of Northern Ireland.

It is a winding path that stretches along the Antrim coastline, with a series of bridges, caves and tunnels that have been carved out of the rugged basalt rock.

The path has been around for over a century, and its unique features, such as the famous 30ft high Victoria Suspension Bridge, are sure to take your breath away.

The Gobbins is home to some of the most dramatic coastal scenery in the whole of the United Kingdom and offers spectacular views of the North Channel.

As you make your way along the path, you will be able to spot some of the local wildlife, including puffins, guillemots and kittiwakes.

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Take the time to explore the area and you’ll be rewarded with a truly unforgettable experience!

Get a Taste of History at the Belfast Castle

Nestled high on the slopes of Cave Hill, Belfast Castle offers a unique glimpse into Northern Ireland’s rich history. Built in the 1800s, the castle is a grand Victorian-era building rich with character and charm.

It is situated in the lush and scenic Belfast Hills, making it an ideal spot to take in the views of the city and its surrounding countryside. Inside the castle, visitors can explore a variety of exhibits, including the Castle Keep, the Great Hall, and the Castle Chapel.

The Castle Keep is the oldest part of the building and dates back to the 13th century. It houses artefacts from the castle’s history, including ancient weapons and armour. The Great Hall is the main meeting place of the castle and is an impressive example of Victorian grandeur. It contains a number of antiques and artworks, as well as a magnificent marble fireplace.

The Castle Chapel is a beautiful 19th-century church and is the perfect place to relax and take in the peaceful atmosphere. In addition to the impressive castle, the grounds contain a walled garden, a children’s playground, and a café. Visitors can also take part in a range of events, including guided tours and a series of summer concerts.

Belfast Castle is a must-see for anyone interested in Northern Ireland’s history and culture.

Take in the Views from Cave Hill Country Park

Cave Hill Country Park offers breathtaking views of Belfast and beyond, making it an ideal spot to take in the sights of Northern Ireland. It’s a popular spot for locals and visitors alike. The park features rolling hills, lush green meadows, and picturesque views of Belfast Lough. There are walking trails and picnic areas, so you can take your time and enjoy the scenery. The park is also home to a variety of wildlife, including birds, bats, and foxes, so you’re sure to spot something interesting.

Since the park is over 400 acres in size, you can easily spend a whole day exploring the park grounds. From the top of the hill, you can take in panoramic views of Belfast city and the surrounding countryside. It’s truly an unforgettable experience that’s sure to stay with you long after you leave.

Enjoy a Relaxing Afternoon at the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum

Take a journey into the past and explore the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum, where you can spend an afternoon discovering the region’s rich history and culture.

Located in Cultra in Northern Ireland, this museum is home to a variety of artifacts and exhibits that explore the history of Ulster. You can explore the museum’s many interactive displays, which cover everything from the region’s traditional folklore and traditions to its transportation and agricultural heritage.

Whether you’re interested in the region’s past or just want a relaxing afternoon out, the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum is a great place to visit.

You can take a self-guided tour or join a guided tour of the museum, which offers a unique insight into Northern Ireland’s history. There are also several outdoor activities available, such as the nature trail, which is a great way to enjoy the peaceful surroundings and take in the beautiful views.

Visitors can also enjoy a ride on the museum’s vintage train, which takes you on a scenic journey through the hills and valleys of Northern Ireland.

With so much to explore, the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum is sure to be a memorable experience.

Visit the Historic Town of Bushmills

After a day of exploring the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum, why not take a short drive to the historic town of Bushmills?

Located on the north coast of Northern Ireland, Bushmills is home to the oldest licensed whiskey distillery in the world, as well as some beautiful scenery. I was immediately drawn to the charm of this small town, with its cobblestone streets, historic architecture, and unique pubs.

I had a chance to visit the famous whiskey distillery and learn about the history of Bushmills whiskey. From the moment I stepped in, I was in awe of the old-world charm of the distillery and its processes. The tour guide was knowledgeable and entertaining, and I was able to sample some of the whiskey afterwards.

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Bushmills is also home to some of the best restaurants in Northern Ireland, so I had no trouble finding delicious food. I also enjoyed some of the local attractions, such as the Giant’s Causeway and the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.

Bushmills is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Northern Ireland.

Explore the Titanic Belfast Museum

For those eager to learn about the history of the Titanic, a visit to the Titanic Belfast Museum is a must.

Located in Belfast, Northern Ireland, the museum is a six-story building designed to commemorate the famous ship’s history.

It features interactive displays, videos, and artifacts that provide insight into the Titanic’s construction, voyage, and ultimate destruction.

Additionally, the museum also offers educational activities and fun activities for children.

Visitors can explore the museum’s nine interactive galleries, including the Shipyard Ride, which allows guests to experience what it was like to work in a shipyard during the time of the Titanic’s construction.

The museum also houses the SS Nomadic, a smaller vessel that ferried passengers to the Titanic, and a life-size replica of the ship’s grand staircase.

In addition to the museum experience, guests can also take a tour of the nearby Titanic Studios, where the 1997 movie ‘Titanic’ was filmed.

For those interested in learning the history of the Titanic, the Titanic Belfast Museum is an excellent destination.

Take a Tour of the Crumlin Road Gaol

Exploring the infamous Crumlin Road Gaol is an eerie yet fascinating experience that will leave you with a lasting impression.

Built in the mid-1800s, the gaol was one of the most feared prisons in Northern Ireland, housing some of the nation’s worst criminals.

Today, visitors can take a guided tour of the jail to learn about its dark and turbulent history.

The tour covers the whole prison, from the cells to the execution chamber, as well as the outdoor courtyards.

You’ll learn about the prisoners who were held there, and the stories behind the prison’s closure in 1996.

It’s a great opportunity to learn about the history and culture of Northern Ireland, and you’ll gain insight into its unique past.

It’s a great way to spend an afternoon, and it will leave you with a greater appreciation for the country’s history.

Admire the Beauty of Lough Neagh

Behold the stunning beauty of Lough Neagh, the largest lake in the British Isles. Located in Northern Ireland and covering an area of 151 square miles, it’s the largest freshwater lake in the British Isles and the sixth largest in all of Europe.

It’s fed by several rivers, including the River Bann, and is the home of a variety of wildlife, from fish to birds. Its beauty is so captivating that it’s been the subject of many poems and songs.

The shore of Lough Neagh is dotted with small fishing villages and the lake itself is a popular destination for boat and fishing trips. It’s also a great place for a picnic or a leisurely walk. It’s a great place for birdwatching, with many species of ducks, geese, swans, and waders to be seen.

To get the best view of the lake, take a trip to the top of Slieve Gallion, a mountain overlooking the lake. From there, you can take in the beauty of this gorgeous lake.

Enjoy a Pint in the Bars of Belfast

Leaving the beauty of Lough Neagh behind, I made my way to the bustling city of Belfast for a night of fun. With a pint in hand, I was ready to explore the city’s lively bar scene.

With so many options, it can be hard to choose where to go. But a few of my favorites include The Crown Liquor Saloon, The National, The Garrick Bar, and The Dirty Onion.

The Crown Liquor Saloon is a must-see, with its stunning Victorian decor and incredible atmosphere.

The National is a great spot to enjoy a few drinks, with live music and good times.

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The Garrick Bar is a cozy spot with a warm atmosphere and a unique selection of drinks.

Finally, The Dirty Onion is a great spot to relax with a beer and some traditional Irish food.

No matter which spot you choose, you can be sure of an unforgettable night out in Belfast.

Take a Day Trip to Derry/Londonderry

Come explore the city of Derry/Londonderry for a day of sights and experiences. This picturesque city in Northern Ireland is home to old city walls, modern art galleries, and much more.

Visit the iconic Peace Bridge, a stunning pedestrian bridge that crosses the River Foyle and links the city’s two sides, Catholic and Protestant. While you’re there, explore the historic city walls, built in 1618-19 to defend the city from attack. Take a guided tour to learn interesting facts and stories about the city’s history.

Head to the modern side of Derry and explore the impressive new art galleries. The Foyle Arts Centre has a variety of exhibitions, performances, and classes for all ages and interests. Stop by the City of Culture 2013 building, a modern structure that houses a range of interactive art installations. There’s also the Craft Village, a traditional marketplace full of handmade crafts and souvenirs.

No matter what you’re looking for, Derry/Londonderry provides plenty of unforgettable experiences.

Explore the Mourne Mountains

Soar above the Mourne Mountains and take in the stunning views of the Irish countryside.

The Mourne Mountains, located in Northern Ireland, are a stunning range of mountains, rivers, and forests. They provide the perfect backdrop for a hike, a day trip, or a weekend away.

Its majestic peaks are visible from miles away and are a favorite of hikers and climbers.

The area is home to some of the most beautiful countryside in all of Ireland, with rolling hills, lush forests, and crystal-clear lakes.

Take your time to explore the area and its many trails, all of which offer breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

The area is also home to some of the oldest and most fascinating monuments in Northern Ireland, including Tollymore forest park, the Mourne Wall, and Slieve Donard.

Whether it’s a leisurely day trip or a weekend adventure, the Mourne Mountains will provide you with plenty of opportunities to get out and explore.

Visit the Ulster American Folk Park

Experience a unique glimpse into the past at the Ulster American Folk Park, a living history museum located near the Mourne Mountains.

This fascinating museum allows visitors to follow the journey of Irish emigrants who left Ireland during the 18th and 19th centuries to start a new life in America.

The museum is set in 35 acres of beautiful parkland, with a range of historic buildings and interactive exhibits that bring the past to life.

Discover the stories of those who made the journey, explore the thatched houses, barns, and farmyards, and learn about the hardships they faced.

The museum also includes a re-created village street complete with shops and a tavern, as well as a replica of a transatlantic sailing ship.

Kids will love the interactive activities, including a thrilling rope bridge and old-fashioned steam engine.

The Ulster American Folk Park is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Northern Ireland, and a must-visit for anyone interested in Irish history.

Discover the Natural Beauty of Strangford Lough

After exploring the Ulster American Folk Park, my next stop was the beautiful Strangford Lough. Located in County Down, Strangford Lough is one of the most stunning places in Northern Ireland. It’s a great place to enjoy the natural beauty of the region and get to know its culture.

Strangford Lough is an inlet of the Irish Sea, and it’s home to a variety of rare wildlife, including seals, otters, and a wide array of birds. You can take boat tours around the lough to explore the area and get up close and personal with its inhabitants.

The lough is also a great spot for a leisurely walk, offering stunning views of the countryside. There are also some great restaurants and pubs nearby, if you want to grab a bite to eat or have a pint after a long day of exploring.

Strangford Lough is a must-see destination if you’re looking for a relaxing and peaceful getaway in Northern Ireland.

Conclusion

I’ve had a great time exploring Northern Ireland.
From the Giant’s Causeway to the World Heritage Site of The Gobbins, there’s no shortage of incredible places to discover.
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Cave Hill Country Park, Derry/Londonderry, the Mourne Mountains, Ulster American Folk Park, and Strangford Lough offer breathtaking views of the countryside.
I definitely recommend visiting Northern Ireland and taking in all the beauty it has to offer.
There’s something for everyone, and each experience will leave you with lasting memories.

About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.