Lough Neagh, County Armagh.
Top things to do in County Armagh
It’s labelled the Orchard County, the Cathedral County and the home of the spiritual capital of Ireland.
There is an array of interesting and fun things to do in County Armagh. Here are some to get you started.
1. Explore Armagh City Centre
Make a day out of exploring three fascinating Church of Ireland buildings in Ireland’s ecclesiastical capital. First, connect way back to the time of St Patrick in the stunning Anglican cathedral that bears his name. Then head for the close by Armagh Robinson Library, a museum holding rare and exquisite books. No. 5 Vicars’ Hill is a short distance away. Formerly the Diocesan Registry, it now displays beautiful artefacts from the library’s collections.
2. Visit St Patrick’s Cathedral
Ascend the huge stone stairway and be prepared to be awed by the ornate detail of Armagh city’s beautiful St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Cathedral. Well worth a guided or self-guided tour, its design, stained glass windows, mosaics and shimmering gold leaf sculptures are a serene and breath-taking experience of St Patrick yesterday and today.
3.Walk the Georgian Mall
Take a stroll through the tree-lined Mall in the heart of Armagh to absorb the city’s Georgian ambience. Appreciate the wonderful architecture and explore two great museums. Armagh County Museum captures centuries of local stories and is the oldest county museum in Ireland, while the Royal Irish Fusiliers Museum is a military history and genealogy goldmine.
4.Stargaze at Armagh Planetarium
The late Sir Patrick Moore, probably the world’s most famous TV astronomer, spent three years in the 1960s overseeing the building of Armagh Planetarium as a complement to its Observatory. Today, it still offers ‘out of this world’ experiences of the night sky in a digital theatre that gives awe-inspiring experiences of the planets, constellations and galaxies.
5. Discover Lough Neagh
Perfect for a whole day out, Lough Neagh Discovery Centre is in the middle of a haven of natural beauty – Oxford Island Nature Reserve. Teeming with wildlife and with fantastic views of Lough Neagh, the miles of walks, bird watching hides, restaurant and children's play areas make this is a great spot for discovering the marvels of Lough Neagh.
6. Meet Celtic characters
Navan Fort was the ancient capital and seat of the Kings of Ulster; the adjacent Navan Centre brings its rich history to life. The centre’s exhibition area reveals artefacts, weaponry and the myths and legends of the era. Meet Celtic characters who will transport you back to ancient history, explaining and demonstrating farming, weaving and cooking practices.
7. Unravel the Ring of Gullion
The 576m mountain of Slieve Gullion lies above and at the centre of a mysterious geological formation of lesser hills: The Ring of Gullion. It dominates the south Armagh landscape, and ith Slieve Gullion Forest Park, is one of the area’s jewels. It’s well worth unravelling its walking trails, scenic drive, adventure playpark the Giant's Lair, children's story trail and courtyard with coffee shop.
8. Hit the water at Craigavon Lakes
Kayaking, water-skiing, windsurfing, sailing, canoeing, banana oating – the Craigavon Lakes are excellent for all sorts of activity on the water. Head to Craigavon Watersports Centre for inexpensive pay and play facilities for open canoes, kayaks or a stand up paddle boards (available between April and October).
9. Walk, wine and dine
The vast, undulating parkland of the Armagh Palace Demesne is perfect for beautiful walks. Stroll around the formal gardens, relax in the Garden of the Senses, or work up an appetite walking the back meadows. Then tuck in at the Moody Boar, complete with a menu of fresh ingredients, much of it plucked from the restaurant’s own gardens.
10. Spend a day with Irish gentry
Built in the 1820s and now in the hands of the National Trust, The Argory is a delightful Irish gentry house surrounded by a wooded riverside estate. Tour the house and its beautiful furnishings, then explore the grounds, or vice versa. Afterwards, browse the second-hand bookshop and gift shop, explore the adventure playground and relax in the Courtyard Coffee Shop.
11. Visit the Milford House Collection
Visit the most technologically advanced house in 19th century Ireland – the first in Ireland to be lit with hydroelectricity. With elegant interiors and home to important works of art including paintings by Frederick Goodall and Daniel Sherrin, you can also find out more about the first telephone system in County Armagh at the Milford House Collection.