Further Afield, Belfast
Finding this sight along the banks of the River Lagan in March herald's the arrival of better days and Spring. It's a wild flower that grows in profusion. It's name is a mystery to me! But I am quite certain that its bright yellow colour is clearly an optimistic show to lift our mood following the long, dark days of winter.
Rowallane Gardens are owned by the National Trust and are a really beautiful place to visit in May or June. There are different types of gardens including a rock garden (pictured) and open grassy areas where wild orchids are allowed to flower. There are benches here and there so you can sit and enjoy the different views. It is a very nice place to visit if you like gardens and like to get ideas for your own!
The gardens are located in Saintfield, County Down.
This is Ossian's grave, Lubitavish, in the Glens of Antrim. It is located approximately 2 miles west-north-west of Cushendall and is a neolithic court tomb. It dates to about 3000 BC. Local tradition says that it is the grave of the son of Fionn MacCumhaill (of Giant's Causeway fame).
Northern Ireland poet, John Hewitt (for whom a pub is named in Belfast) wrote a poem about the spot:
We stood and pondered on the stones
whose plan displays their pattern still;
the small blunt arc, and , sill by sill,
the pockets stripped of shards and bones.
The legend has it, Oisin lies
beneath this landmark on the hill,
asleep till Fionn and Oscar rise
to summon his old bardic skill
in hosting their last enterprise. This, stricter scholarship denies,
declares this megalithic form
millenniums older than his time
if such lived ever, out of rime -
let either story stand for true,
as heart or head shall rule.
This is a beautiful spot for a drive and to explore the fantastic scenery. This area would be a nice place to stay for exploring the north coast, especially the Giant's Causeway.
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Rridge: if you do a day-tour to Giants Causeway and the Antrim Coastline - make sure on your way home you stop by :) It's open usually from March-September, they close it only during times of storms & pretty nasty weather.
The picture shows my brother Andreas as he braved the hight (24 metre) & the slight wind... if he did it - you can do it too!!
I'm moving away from Belfast here! The Ulster American Folk Park is in Omagh. VT has no place to put Northern Ireland areas other than Belfast and Londonderry, but believe me, there is much to see besides these two cities!
This exhibit will be of interest to those of Irish ancestry who live in the USA. Funded by the Mellon family, it presents an illustration of turn of the century Irish life, emmigration, and life in the New world.
Ossain's grave is the remains of a portal tomb located in the Glens of Antrim. It's an interesting side-trip. We drove as far as we could, and then walked the last little bit of the farm road back to see this. The farmer must have thought we'd run into a ditch because he came up with his tractor. Once he saw we were ok he turned around with a wave and a smile.
Giant's Causeway is one of the most famous tourist attractions of the North of Ireland. Make sure you pick out a not too windy day & you will enjoy the scenery :)
This famous geological phenomenon renowned for its polygonal columns of layered basalt is the only World Heritage Site in Ireland. Resulting from a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago, the Causeway is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and has attracted visitors for centuries. It harbours a wealth of local and natural history that can be enjoyed from the North Antrim Coastal Path. Events: Programme of family days all year round.
Opening arrangements up to 28 Feb 2003:
Stones & North Antrim Coastal Path: all year
How to get there:
On B146 Causeway–Dunseverick road [C952452] Bus: Ulsterbus 172, 177, 252 or 376 (tel. 028 7034 3334) Station: Coleraine or Portrush 8ml Cycle: NCN 93 [C952452] Bus: Ulsterbus 172, 177, 252 or 376 (tel. 028 7034 3334) Station: Coleraine or Portrush 8ml Cycle: NCN 93
Rope bridge without 'darer'
On the North Antrim Coastal Path, just east of Ballintoy, is one of Northern Ireland’s best-loved attractions: the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. Salmon fishermen sling this precarious bridge to the island over a 24m-deep chasm. Those bold enough to cross are rewarded with fantastic views and wildlife
Opening arrangements up to 28 Feb 2003:
Rope bridge: 17 March to Sept (weather permitting) daily 10–6; July & Aug 10–8. Access to North Antrim Coastal Path all year round.
How to get there:
On B15, 7ml E of Bushmills, 5ml W of Ballycastle [D062450] Bus: Ulsterbus 172, 177, 252, 376 (tel. 028 7034 3334) Cycle: NCN 93 (5ml) [D062450] Bus: Ulsterbus 172, 177, 252, 376 (tel. 028 7034 3334) Cycle: NCN 93 (5ml)
The mountains of Mourne. We spent two days in the countryside in the Republic of Ireland, south of Belfast. Also, a visit to Newcastle, on the shores of the Irish Sea, is highly recommended. Great tourist shops in Newcastle...
The Antrim Coast Road is absolutely beautiful. You can get a bus up the coast, but it is definitely worthwhile hiring a car, or conning a local into taking you. This piccie was taken near Ballycastle.
Raithlin Island is a paradise! This small island is just off the Antrim coast North of Belfast! This lovely island offers nice accomadations and is reachable by ferry only near Ballycastle! For pure relaxation...this is the place!
Glens of Antrim
It's a beautiful coastal land to the north of Belfast. The 'Antrim Coaster', an Ulsterbus service, travels along the coast and into each one of the Glens and villages.
More information at http://www.ireland-holidays.net/
The Planetarium in Armagh. Ok, the weather doesn't always permit but this is still an interesting historical site. There are displays of different types, a planetarium theatre which shows and interesting film about stars and galaxies and of course, the Georgian observatory. This is a fun place to bring youngsters and can top off a nice day in Armagh town. www.armagh-planetarium.co.uk
The town itself is famous for being the ecclesiastical centre of Ireland with 2 cathedrals. Both are free to visit and are built on hills which provide excellent views of the area. Armagh has loads of nice little shops and cafes and is best seen in May when the apple blossoms are blooming.
The Antrim Coastline close to White Park Bay. If you have the time left, take a stroll along the water edge ;o)
The Giant's Causeway Coastal Path (not quite sure of it's official name). It's 5 miles long and breathtaking. Even if you have to stagger the last mile, do it!