Categories: County Armagh

When it comes to short breaks, Northern Ireland’s smallest county punches well above its weight. County Armagh is a place that’s got everything going for it. The only question is: Where to start? Here’s a plan to guide you on your travels. 

Ease your way through Lough Neagh 

Ease into your break with a stroll at Oxford Island Nature Reserve. There’s a bunch of walking trails to choose from. Meander along the Lough Neagh shore or make your way through the meadows. Why not do a spot of bird watching while you’re at it too? The perfect place to get things moving.  

Go on a Bramble ramble 

Next, an absolute must. A trip to the Orchard County wouldn’t be complete without getting to know the famous Armagh Bramble apples. And the team at Long Meadow Cider Company will get you well acquainted. They’ll take you through the entire process and you’ll also get a chance see what all the fuss is about and sample the hand-crafted cider itself. Sure, it’d be rude not to. 

Step through the Yellow Door for lunch 

It’s lunch time in Armagh, and that can only mean one thing. A trip to Portadown’s beloved Yellow Door Deli. Owner Simon Dougan bakes some of Northern Ireland’s finest bread and his shelves of specialty foods are a who’s who of star local artisans, from Broighter Gold rapeseed oil, to Abernethy Butter, to Glastry Farm ice cream.  

Visit Saint Patrick’s Cathedral… twice 

With your stomach settled, it’s time to pay St Patrick a visit in the nearby ecclesiastical city of Armagh. Two visits actually. The story goes he built a church here back in 445AD. Fast forward to today and you’ve got two impressive options to choose between in the Cathedral City. The twin-spired Roman Catholic Cathedral stands on a hill above the city. St Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral faces it across the valley, resting on the site of the original stone church. A bit of patience is required to get to the top, but both are worth it for the breath-taking city views. 

Amazing Armagh Architecture  

Why not discover more of the city’s amazing architecture with a stroll through the Robinson Trail? Richard Robinson was Archbishop of Armagh in the late 18th century and is responsible for several iconic buildings in the Cathedral City. Along the trail you’ll explore the everything from the beautiful Armagh Public Library to the Chapel and Palace Stables. 

Star gazing 

After that, you can take to the stars inside the Armagh Planetarium. Home to the largest ever meteorite to land in Ireland, this is one shooting star you don’t want to miss. Immerse yourself in an amazing night sky light show exploring everything from black holes to cosmic chemistry. Gee-whiz.

Lunch with The 4 Vicars 

After a morning spent next to the heavens, it’s time for more earthly pleasures. The 4 Vicars restaurant is one of Armagh’s hidden gems, housed in a beautiful Georgian listed building and serving up a delicious menu to create a true taste of Armagh.  

Go back in time at Emain Macha 

Next, make tracks for the legendary Emain Macha (Navan Fort), dedicated to Macha, the ancient goddess of war and fertility. Immerse yourself in an interactive experience that takes you right back to life 2,000 years ago. Learn all about the history and mythology behind Cuchulainn’s stronghold and home of the famous Red Branch Knights. 

Paddle well into the night 

Get your evening going in the right direction with a ‘beer paddle’ in Uluru Bar in Armagh city’s historic marketplace. The paddle holds four quarter pints, each a different craft beer from the innovative Mourne Brewery. What better way to sample some of Northern Ireland’s newest craft beers? 

More of spirit lover? No worries, there’s also a gin paddle just for you. Top those drinks off with a meal in the superb Uluru Grill which serves food with an Aussie twist. Their (indoor) barbeque is just the right temperature to spark your passion for Australian cuisine. 

Drive rings around Gullion 

Finish your break with a bang and go for an audio guided driving tour around the beautiful volcanic landscape of the Ring of Gullion. Immerse yourself in the outstanding natural beauty rich in nature, history and mythology. 

You’ll have two driving routes to choose from, both of which reveal the rich cultural heritage of the region. Along the way you’ll see ancient tombs, castles and standing stones, as well as awe-inspiring views.  

This city is a place that you can keep discovering. So, if you feel like you didn’t see it all this time around, you’re probably right. There’s always next time.