Northern Ireland

This is Richard’s video guide to Northern Ireland.
Start with this Best of Northern Ireland video to get a feel for the place.

EXPLORE | DRINK | EAT | SLEEP | TOP 10
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WHAT TO DRINK

LEARN TO MAKE THE LAST DRINK ON THE TITANIC
It’s a quick study from the crafty bartenders from the Merchant Hotel.

The Merchant Hotel in Belfast is one classy joint with beautiful architecture inside and out to boot.
​Other spots we enjoyed ourselves included the Harp Bar, Duke of York, John Hewitt, Spaniard, Muriel’s, and National Grande.

​If you get on the road outside of Belfast, head to Bushmills for a sip from the local (yet world famous) distillery.


WHERE TO STAY

Get a sneak peak into my Gold List of Northern Ireland Hotels.

In Belfast –  The Hotel Europa is legendary and within walking distance of most attractions.
On the West Coast – Bushmills Inn
Just outside the walled city of Derry (Londonderry) – Beech Hill Country House Hotel
On the East Coast (Newcastle) – Slieve Donard Resort & Spa
Ardtara Guesthouse in   www.ardtara.com – a restored 19th century mansion situated at the center of Northern Ireland in the Sperrin Mountains region.

And one of my favorites (in the world!)… the mega lux Lough Erne Resort! It’s located minutes from the island city of Enniskillen and is set among the Fermanagh Lakes.  Fun fact: the resort hosted the G8 summit.


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WHAT TO DO

Explore the legacy of the Titanic. No better place to start than Titanic Belfast – This is what everyone comes to see, experience and learn. One of the most impressive interactive learning experiences on the planet right now.

 

Next door to Titanic Belfast is the SS Nomadic. Visitors can set foot on this tender vessel (aka: Titantic’s taxi) which transferred 1st & 2nd class passengers from ship to shore. After 100 years the ship returned to Belfast and restoration work is complete.

The Belfast murals are famous around the world.

The Titanic Dry Docks (Belfast)

BELFAST MUSIC

Take a musical tour of Belfast; home of Van Morrison and the godfather of punk rock, Terri Hooley.

Check out this clip of Van Morrison performing at the Freedom of the City Concert at Waterfront Hall.

Check out the Ulster Orchestra at Waterfront Hall. Belfast Music Week is a great time to visit.

Punk rock has many roots in Belfast. We had a little chat with Terri Hooley of Good Vibrations record store.

Belfast City Hall – Check out the The Lord Mayor’s Suite, aka “The Titanic Rooms”, crafted by the same artisans who worked on the famous liner.

And the Oh Yeah Music Center for some local tunes.

​While in Belfast City check out Gaeltacht, Queen’s & Cathedral Quarters, City Hall & Stormont Parliament Buildings.

OUTSIDE BELFAST

Just outside Belfast is Seamus Heaney country. Grab a car and go for a literary tour of the homeland of the late Nobel Laureate, Seamus Heaney.

Ulster American Folk Park – not your typical folk park.  Follow the emigrant trail as you journey from the thatched cottages of Ulster, on board a full scale emigrant sailing ship leading to the log cabins of the American Frontier.  Visit the ancestral home of Ulysses Simpson Grant’s great Grandfather: Ulysses Simpson Grant

Exploration Fermanagh county – The county derives its name from ‘Firmonach’, ‘the men of Monach’, a Celtic tribe that settled around the shores of the loughs in the early Christian era.  The twin lakes of Lough Erne, Upper and Lower, cover one-third of Fermanagh. Enniskillen, Ireland’s only island town, is built on a drumlin and straddles the point where both loughs meet.

Belleek Pottery – If pottery is your thing, check out the home of Belleek Pottery in Enniskillen. (www.belleek.ie) Established in 1857, Belleek Pottery holds a very special place in the cultural and commercial heritage of Co Fermanagh. Situated in the picturesque village of Belleek on the banks of the Lough Erne, this imposing building is home to the world famous Belleek Fine Parian China and Belleek Visitor Centre. The craftsmanship and artistry of the pottery’s workforce elevated Belleek china to international renown.

Drive the famous Causeway Coastal Route, rated one of the world’s top five road trips. The Causeway Coastal Route stretches for 120 miles from Derry to Belfast. The route links the pretty little coastal villages of Glenarm, Carnlough, Cushendall and Cushendun

Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge:  The bridge sways 24 meters above the churning sea. It’s comprised of planks laid between long parallel ropes.

Giant’s Causeway:  formed over 60 million years ago, when molten lava cooled suddenly on contact with water, the Giant’s Causeway is an awe-inspiring landscape of mostly hexagonal basalt columns.

Dunluce Castle – This medieval castle is sited dramatically close to the edge of a headland, along the North Antrim coast. Surrounded by jaw dropping coastal scenery, Dunluce Castle stands where an early Irish fort was once built and where its history can be traced back to early Christians and Vikings.

Walled City of Derry. Derry is the only remaining completely walled city in Ireland and one of the finest examples of walled cities in Europe. Built between 1613-1618 by the Honorable Irish Society, the walls were constructed as defenses for the early seventeenth century settlers from England and Scotland.

Armagh City for Down Catherdral and St. Patricks Grave

Play a round of golf at Royal County Down Golf Course.
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WHAT AND WHERE TO EAT

Belfast
Nick’s Warehouse, in the heart of the Cathedral Quarter.
The Merchant Hotel (good for a drink too in the bar)
Hadskis  www.hadskis.co.uk
St Georges Market
Jazz Brunch at Bert’s Jazz Bar  http://www.themerchanthotel.com/index.php/berts-bar-dining.html

Outside of Belfast
West Coast, Bushmills Inn