Categories: things to do

You could spend a lifetime in Northern Ireland and still not see it all. Much of that is down to the ever-changing mood of the surrounding seas and the seasonal shifts in colour on the slopes of mountains and the shores of lakes. It has much to do with our people, their endeavour and their giant spirit. Northern Ireland is ever-changing but there are without doubt one or two things that you really should try not to miss.

Titanic Belfast

First on the long list of things to do in Northern Ireland is the wonderful interactive experience at Titanic Belfast. This top-class interactive exhibition brings to life the story of the world’s most famous ship and the people that built her. Immersive, informative and is an experience not to be missed.

Feast your heart out at St George’s Market, Belfast

Foodies will want to sail straight to the colour, craic and cracking food at the St George’s Market. On Fridays, the Variety Market has over two-hundred stalls selling the freshest fruit and vegetables, the widest range of fish in Ireland and a unique assortment of antiques, books and clothes. It’s even busier on weekends and is a top wee spot to settle down for breakfast or lunch.

Wander in wonder around Belfast

Walkers will love this city. Not only is it easy to get around on foot but there are a whole host of great green spaces to enjoy. A must see is the Botanic Gardens in the lovely Queens Quarter while, after a good calf stretching jaunt, there are great views of the city from Cave Hill.

Check out the Cathedral Quarter, Belfast

Back down in the heart of town, with its mix of classy and traditional pubs as well as award-winning restaurants, the hip and trendy Cathedral Quarter draws people in like a magnet. If you’re here at the end of April/early May, check out what’s happening at the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival. Both it and the longer-running Belfast International Arts Festival in October are top of the charts when it comes to the arts in Northern Ireland.

Go for The Gobbins Cliff Path, County Antrim

From Belfast hit the glorious Causeway Coastal Route where you’ll smell the sea and feel the sky. You might touch them both along The Gobbins Cliff Path, a two-and-half hour fully guided walking tour through suspension bridges, tunnels and pathways that offers visitors a unique cliff-walking experience and a great introduction to the drama of the route.

Coast along the Causeway Coastal Route, Counties Londonderry and County Antrim

You might need to take in a bit of calm along the Waterfall Walkway in Glenariff Forest Park before taking on your next madcap experience across the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. 

After that one, you’ll definitely need a settler. The good news is the world’s oldest working distillery at Bushmills is only up the road.

Don’t knock back too much though you’ll need to keep a little balance for the Giant’s Causeway if you want to skip across the geological dance floor made of 40,000 basalt rocks. From stones, move onto Game of Thrones® and visit a number of filming locations, including picturesque Ballintoy Harbour and the Dark Hedges known to Thronies as the King’s Road.

Explore the world of Seamus Heaney, County Londonderry

There’s a day to be had exploring the wonders of the Glens of Antrim before moving west to Bellaghy and visiting Seamus Heaney’s Homeplace. (Winner of Most Innovative Business (Large) at the Giant Spirit Awards 2022). Be sure to stop in the Crosskey’s Pub along the way for a jar in this cosy thatched cottage.

Strike a chord at the Stendhal Festival, County Londonderry

Music fans will want to come in August when Northern Ireland’s top boutique music festival comes Ballymully Cottage Farm near Limavady. Since it started in 2010, the Stendhal Festival has been making all the right musical waves across the island.

Tap your toes at IMBOLC, Derry-Londonderry

A festival is not just for summer as they say, in fact we like them just after Christmas. So if you’re looking to get warmed up in January and February, then head to Derry-Londonderry and celebrate traditional Irish music at IMBOLC International Traditional Arts Festival.

Follow the Derry Girls, Derry-Londonderry

Of course the people of Derry-Londonderry are happy to welcome visitors all year round to walk the famous Walled-City and see their famous murals. Get yourselves on the impressive Derry Girls Tour for a great bit of craic and the inside track on what’s happening in town and be sure you take in the People’s Gallery and find out more about some of the most historic neighbourhoods in the city.

See the stars in the Sperrins, County Tyrone

Less than an hour from Derry-Londonderry you can take yourself into another world. The Sperrin Mountains is the largest mountain range in Ireland, with ten summits over five hundred metres high. This fabulous spot for walkers and nature lovers has plenty of room for those who crave more active outdoor pursuits. There’s plenty of room here for everyone.

Travel back in time in County Tyrone

Further south in County Tyrone, you can hop on board a full-scale emigrant ship at the Ulster American Folk Park and experience the cramped quarters that maybe your brave ancestors lived in during their twelve-week journey across the Atlantic to the new world.

If you’re passing through in August be sure to leave a day aside for Bluegrass Omagh. Hosted here since 1990 this great weekend of music has won global acclaim as one of the biggest and best international festivals of its kind.

Potter about the caves of County Fermanagh

You’ll get family fun as well as romantic weekends away around the lovely Lakelands of Fermanagh and on a rainy day a visit to the Marble Arch Caves is an experience you’re unlikely to forget.  At the Belleek Pottery Visitor Centre you can witness the creators of this world famous brand at work.

Check out artful Armagh

There’s more stunning workmanship on display in the beautiful Georgian city of Armagh where lovers of literature can check out an original manuscript of Gulliver’s Travels in Jonathan Swift’s own hand at the Armagh Library.

Meet the marvellous Mourne Mountains, County Down

The wonderful Mourne Mountains sweep silently down to the sea off the coast of County Down. On clear days the views extend to other lands but by now you’ll know for sure that you have come to the right place.