Categories: County Armagh

Armagh may be Northern Ireland’s smallest county, but what it lacks in acreage, it more than makes up for in inspiring places to visit and interesting things to see. This, of course, is the Orchard County, the Cathedral County and the home of Ireland’s spiritual capital. So there’s quite a lot going on even before you add in the hidden gems and some very novel experiences. If you’ve got a taste for exploring, a love of the unexpected and a sense of adventure, you and Armagh could be made for each other. 

St. Patrick’s Hilltop Cathedrals  

Yes, there are two. Two hilltops, two cathedrals, just one St. Patrick. Though he does give his name to both. 

St Patrick's Church of Ireland Cathedral

The hill on which the Church of Ireland Cathedral stands gave its name to the city. Ard Mhacha means the Height of Macha. For the record, Macha was a legendary goddess. She’s also associated with nearby Navan Fort, well worth a trip in itself. Beneath this Cathedral lies a crypt housing a collection of carved figures and stone ornaments.  

Saint Patrick's Cathedral (Roman Catholic)

On the opposite hill stands the twin-spired St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Cathedral with its stunning stained glass windows, mosaics and gold leaf sculptures. Of course, given their elevated position, the views from either building reward all that climbing effort. And give you a good excuse to stop off for some refreshment when you’re done. 

The Majesty of Slieve Gullion 

The magnificent Slieve Gullion dominates the Armagh landscape, rising to 573m.  

A walk here takes you around the spectacular Ring of Gullion, an Area of Natural Beauty, across the heather covered hills of the famous circular ring dyke – the result of a volcanic eruption over 50 million years ago.  

Make a splash at Craigavon Lakes 

If water sports are your activity of choice, Armagh’s got a lot to offer. Everything from kayaking, water-skiing and windsurfing to sailing, canoeing and banana boating. For an inexpensive pay and play option, head to the Craigavon Watersports Centre.  You’ll find open canoes, kayaks or stand up paddle boards available here between April and October.   

Explore the city centre 

Once you’re back on dry land, there’s nothing like a stroll around the city centre to help you get your bearings. Take a wander along the tree-lined Georgian Mall in the heart of the city to soak up the ambience. There’s some impressive architecture to see and two great museums to explore. Armagh County Museum - the oldest in Ireland - has centuries of local stories to tell, while the Royal Irish Fusiliers Museum is a must if you’re into military history and genealogy.  

Paddle your own canoe 

Follow a breath-taking canoe trail along the beautiful River Blackwater - with a guide, hired equipment or in your own canoe. Paddle with the current from the slipway at Maydown Bridge to Lough Neagh, meandering past National Trust properties and meeting otters, kingfishers and other wildlife along the way. With over 20km of peaceful waters, you can always make a proper break of it and camp out overnight.

A cider apple a day 

Armagh Cider Company

You can’t come to Orchard County without meeting the famous and much-loved Bramley Apple. And hearing about its journey from blossom to bottle. The Armagh Cider Company will be delighted to welcome you for a tour of their cider-making farm and take you through the whole process. Ending, of course, with a chance to sample their delicious hand-crafted cider. 

Afterwards, take a leisurely stroll through Loughall Country Park, a magnificent 188-hectare estate with open farmland, orchards and a lough. 

Throw a pot at Ballydougan Pottery 

Combine a culinary treat with a craft at Bloomvale House, a beautifully restored thatched linen barn - and the home of Ballydougan Pottery. A picturesque spot for lunch or afternoon tea, you can also see the potters at work, wander through the gift shop and even have a go at the potter’s wheel yourself. Do book your class in advance though. 

It’s all going on at Gosford Forest Park

Gosford Forest Park

With over 550 acres of forest and stunning parkland, you’ll never run out of things to do or things to see in Gosford Forest Park. There are walking, running, mountain biking, horse riding and eco trails here. Plus a collection of rare breed farm animals, a herd of red deer park, a walled garden and barbeque sites. And a privately-owned mock Norman Castle. So, safe to say, something for everyone. 

Fish Lough Neagh 

The tranquil, unspoilt scenery surrounding Lough Neagh makes it a spectacular attraction in its own right. Though, for a coarse angler, it’s even more special. Purpose-built fishing stands and facilities at Kinnego Marina provide everything you need for a fantastic day’s coarse fishing on the Lough.  

There’s outstanding sport here, with roach, bream, hybrids, perch, pike and eel all within reach – particularly in the months of May and June. But with no permit required for coarse fishing – just a fishing licence - you can seek out that big one at any time.  

Lunch at the Yellow Door 

It would just be wrong to leave Armagh without having lunch at Portadown’s beloved Yellow Door Deli, Bakery and Café. 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.  

There is so much good stuff going on in County Armagh that you may find one trip is not enough. So, rest assured that when you’re ready to come back and explore some more, you’ll find the same warm welcome waiting. Or perhaps an even warmer one, since you’re now already an old friend. 

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure information is correct, we strongly advise checking in advance before you travel to your intended destination to ensure its open and book tickets if applicable. 

St Patrick's Church of Ireland Cathedral
Churches & Sacred Sites
St Patrick's Church of Ireland Cathedral

Saint Patrick founded his chief church here on the Hill of Armagh in 445AD, and there has been a Christian church on the site ever since. The present building dates from the 13th Century and was last restored in 1834.

Saint Patrick's Cathedral (Roman Catholic)
Churches & Sacred Sites
Saint Patrick's Cathedral (Roman Catholic)

This imposing cathedral, on an elevated site, was started in 1840, but work was suspended during the Great Famine of 1845-48 and recommenced in 1854 when J. J. McCarthy was appointed architect. It was dedicated for worship in 1873.

Slieve Gullion Forest Park, Adventure Playpark and The Giant's Lair
Nature and Wildlife
Slieve Gullion Forest Park, Adventure Playpark and The Giant's Lair

Slieve Gullion is Ireland's Mountain of Mystery. The Forest Park offers walking trails, a scenic drive, an Adventure Playpark, Giant's Lair children's story trail and Courtyard with coffee shop.

Craigavon Watersports Centre
Climbing
Craigavon Watersports Centre

Craigavon is renowned for its watersports and Craigavon Watersports Centre is the foremost facility of its kind in Northern Ireland.

Armagh County Museum
Visitor Centres & Museums
Armagh County Museum

The oldest county museum in Ireland is set in Armagh’s beautiful Georgian tree lined Mall. Its collections capture centuries of stories relating to the people who lived, worked and had connections with this famous city and historic county.

The Royal Irish Fusiliers Museum
Visitor Centres & Museums
The Royal Irish Fusiliers Museum

The Museum collection covers the history of five regiments, all of which were raised in 1793. The Royal Irish Fusiliers served for almost 200 years and is known as the “Faughs” from their Battle Cry “Faugh-a-Ballagh”.

Armagh Cider Company
Tailor-made Tours
Armagh Cider Company

Armagh Cider Company is a family business based at Ballinteggart House where apples have been grown for five generations. Walk through the orchards, experience the cidery and bottling plant before tasting our award winning ciders and juices.

Loughgall Country Park
Cycling - Short (<10 miles)
Loughgall Country Park

It feels more like an outdoor leisure centre boasting an 18 hole golf course, coarse fishery, running trails and much more.

Ballydougan Pottery Restaurant & Coffee Lounge
Restaurant
Ballydougan Pottery Restaurant & Coffee Lounge

At Ballydougan Pottery we offer traditional Ulster cooking with a modern twist, lovingly created by our team of chefs using the best of locally sourced fresh produce and served on our hand-made Ballydougan Pottery.

Ballydougan Pottery at Bloomvale House
Craft Workshops and courses
Ballydougan Pottery at Bloomvale House

Welcome to the historic grade II listed Bloomvale House, home of the award-winning Ballydougan Pottery, Gift Shop, Restaurant and Coffee Shop, Pottery Workshop & Courtyard Cottages.

Gosford Forest Park
Nature and Wildlife
Gosford Forest Park

Gosford Forest Park comprises some 240 hectares of diverse woodland and open parkland. Enjoy facilities for all including playparks, mountain bike, horse and walking trails and a pump track.

Kinnego Marina
Orienteering
Kinnego Marina

Situated on Lough Neagh beside the Oxford Island National Nature Reserve, Kinnego Marina is the largest marina on the Lough. There is a range of associated amenities on site and instruction on watersports and water safety.

The Yellow Door Deli
Café
The Yellow Door Deli

Chef/Proprietor Simon Dougan cooks with verve and panache in his new premises. This deli/coffee shop specialises in the best of Northern Ireland produce, with a wide selection of continental specialities also available.