Hidden gems of Northern Ireland
Blogs, Co. Armagh, Co. Down, Co. Antrim, Co. Fermanagh, Co. Londonderry, Things to do, Co. Tyrone
Published February 23, 2017
Are you looking for something new to experience in Northern Ireland? You will be surprised what you’ll find when you go off the beaten track. Here’s a quick guide to some of our best loved hidden gems and unique places to visit.
The Gobbins, Co. Antrim
The Gobbins, Co. Antrim
This 2.5 hour guided walking tour along a dramatic coastal path allows visitors to get up close with the nature along the coastline. Originally opened in the early 1900s, the path has been recently restored allowing today’s visitors to experience the dramatic scenery. Be prepared for suspension bridges, tunnels and pathways, hard hats and boots on this unique experience with impressive views.
Janus Figure, Boa Island, Co. Fermanagh
In Caldragh Cemetery on Boa Island in County Fermanagh stand two unique stone carvings. The larger of these is a Janus figure, two figures back to back with pear shaped heads interlacing.
Described as Celtic Idols, the East Face is said to be female and the West, male.
Glenariff Forest Park, Co. Antrim
Found in the heart of the Glens of Antrim, Glenariff Forest Park is considered by many people to be the most beautiful of the nine Antrim Glens.
The unique Waterfall Walkway provides a rich backdrop for photographers, as do the other forest trails offering panoramic landscapes and peaceful riverside walks.
White Island, Co. Fermanagh
A short distance from the town of Enniskillen, White Island is located at Castle Archdale Bay off the east shore of Lower Lough Erne.
The island is home to the ruins of a 12th century church with a fine Romanesque doorway, as well 8 archaic carved stone figures which are carved into the wall. Amazingly, the figures were used as building stones for when the church was constructed, meaning that they pre-date the church itself.
Kearney Village, Co. Down
Located in Castleward, the showpiece village of Kearney was carefully restored by the National Trust to give the authenticity of a traditional fishing village.
The village lies three miles to the east of Portaferry, with views across to Scotland, the Isle of Man and the Mountains of Mourne.
Discover Colmcille in Derry~Londonderry
Formerly the estate of the Hill family, the grounds were bought by the Londonderry Corporation in 1845 for use as a public park.
Go on a walk through the picturesque greens of St. Columb's Park in Derry~Londonderry and discover the statue of the city's patron saint and founder, Columba 'Colmcille.' Venture into the city and discover more about the life and story of St. Columba at the Saint Columba Heritage Centre.
Loughareema, The Vanishing Lake, Co. Antrim
Alongside the Ballycastle/Cushendall road, you'll find a lonely and mysterious Moorland Lake, sometimes called the "Vanishing Lake" from its habit of disappearing suddenly as if "someone had pulled out the plug".
Garvagh Forest Pyramid, Derry~Londonderry
You don't need to go to Egypt to see the pyramids...Northern Ireland has its very own.
Created as a burial chamber for Lord Garvagh in the 19th Century, this stone pyramid is located in Garvagh forest, just a short walk from the car park.
The Peace Maze, Co. Down
The Peace Maze is one of Castlewellan Forest Park's key attractions, and one of the world's largest permanent hedge mazes, representing the path to a peaceful future for Northern Ireland.
Planted in 2000 with community involvement, visitors can attempt to solve their way to the peace bell in the centre of the maze.
Tollymore Forest Park, Co. Down
Covering an area of almost 630 hectares at the foot of the Mourne mountains, Tollymore Forest Park has panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the sea at Newcastle.
The dramatic forest site may already be familiar to Game Of Thrones® fans as it features in the popular HBO show, and it was also used as a film location for the recent Dracula Untold movie.
A visit to the rugged Rathlin Island is a must! One of our most beloved spots, visitors can enjoy the beautiful birdlife in the summer months – including the famous puffins of the island.
Crumlin Road Gaol, Belfast
One of Belfast's most historic buildings, take a guided tour of the 5* Crumlin Road Gaol and hear about the history of the site. Journey underground and walk the tunnels that were used to connect the Gaol to the Crumlin Road Courthouse and get a chance to sit in the Governor's chair. There are also paranormal tours in this rumoured haunted building.
Rams Island, Lough Neagh
Take a trip on the 'Island Warrior' to Rams Island, the largest island on Lough Neagh located approximately 1 mile offshore from Sandy Bay on the Eastern Shore of the Lough.
The island is steeped in history and heritage, with the ruins of the 19th Century O'Neill's summer house and round tower. The island was last permanently inhabited in the 1920's by the Cardwell family who were caretakers for the O'Neill's and is also blessed with an impressive array of flora and fauna among the dense woodland.
Sheelin Lace Museum, Co. Fermanagh
The award winning Sheelin Lace Museum located in Bellnaleck just outside of Enniskillen houses approximately 700 exhibits showcasing a wide range of antique Irish lace, with the majority of the collection dating back to the 19th Century.
Visitors to the museum can also enjoy the treasure trove of goodies on sale in the adjoining shop where you can purchase vintage lace, veils and many other unique pieces. Pop into the coffee shop next door which has all sorts of delicious treats on offer and is a wonderful lunch spot – with an excellent outdoor seating area, great for when the sun shines!
Armagh Robinson Library, Co. Armagh
One of the oldest libraries in Ireland, the 4* Armagh Public Library was established in 1771 by Archbishop Robinson.
In addition to the Archbishop's personal library which contains 17th and 18th century books, there are many rare and valuable books such as incunabula, first editions, and illuminated manuscripts.
Hill of The O'Neill, Co. Tyrone
Situated in Dungannon and located at the top of Market Square is Hill of The O'Neill.
Take a stroll on the Hill of the O'Neill and bask in the spectacular views from the newly landscaped gardens and pathways of this historical location. On a clear day visitors to the site can get a view of all 6 counties in Northern Ireland.
Blackhead Lightkeeper’s House, Co. Antrim
Bed down for the night in a Lightkeeper’s House, set on the edge of a majestic cliff overlooking Belfast Lough, half an hour from Belfast. Situated along the Causeway Coastal Route, this gem is the perfect base to explore the surrounding area. Follow the dramatic coastline by walking the Blackhead Path which takes you past caves and coves towards Whitehead, a Victorian seaside resort.
Headhunter’s Barber Shop and Railway Museum, Co. Fermanagh
There aren’t many places where you can get a haircut and discover more about the local railway history at the same time. Visit Headhunter’s Barber Shop and Railway Museum in Enniskillen and you can do just that. Memorabilia, a reconstructed booking office and exhibits all take you on your journey through railway travel.
Make a Break of It
With so many hidden gems to explore in Northern Ireland, why make a break of it in one of our cosy cottages, luxury hotels or homely guest houses.
For more information and to book your short break to Northern Ireland, visit discovernorthernireland.com.
Posted by Mags
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