Fun things to do in Northern Ireland

  • Che Guevara mural
    Che Guevara mural
    by GeoV
  • Exterior
    Exterior
    by leics
  • Peace wall, with murals
    Peace wall, with murals
    by leics

Most Viewed Things to Do in Northern Ireland

  • hasthetravelbug's Profile Photo

    Portstewart Strand....

    by hasthetravelbug Updated Apr 4, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Two miles of magnificent sandy beach and important dune system (180 acres) on Northern Ireland's north coast, facing the Atlantic ocean. The sandy beach is gently shelving and bordered to west and south by the River Bann, and to the east by seaside report of Portstewart. Car parking on the beach in a zoned section. A charge of 4 pounds per car and 12 pounds for a mini bus.
    I didn't get to the beach by car because of the high parking cost but if you have a National Trust membership, parking is free.
    You can park your car just up the hill and walk down to the strand if you're strapped for cash.

    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Surfing
    • Water Sports

    Was this review helpful?

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    4 more images

    Whitepark Bay

    by MalenaN Written Apr 2, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    A couple of kilometres west of Ballintoy is Whitepark Bay. Below the limestone cliffs is an arch shaped long golden beach. It is a Natural Trust beach. Lots of birds and other animals can be seen around it and several traces of Neolitic settlers have been found. It is not good for swimming though as there are rip currents and sand shelves. But it is a beautiful place to walk in. In the north western corner of the beach is the small village of Portbradden where you can see the smallest church on Ireland and above the cliffs there is a hostel. If you walk beyond the headland in the north eastern corner of the beach you will come to Ballintoy Harbour. If it is high tide this way will be blocked.

    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    4 more images

    From Carrick-a-Rede Bridge to Ballintoy Harbour

    by MalenaN Written Apr 2, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    From Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge it is possible to walk along the coast for 16.5km to Giant’s Causeway. It is a very scenic walk. But this first afternoon in Ballintoy I only walked from Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge to Ballintoy Harbour, and a little further.

    From Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge to the car park it is about one km. Here I had coffee and scones at the Tea Room before walking on. The path starts in the end of the car park, on the cliff top above the old quarry at Larrybane. It continues inland for about a kilometre until you come to Ballintoy church. By the church you go right and follow the road down to the harbour for another kilometre.

    It was a lovely walk, the sun was shining and the views are beautiful. From the harbour I walked towards Whitepark Bay, but turned around before reaching the beach.

    From Ballintoy Harbour it took half an hour to walk back to the village and the hostel.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    4 more images

    Hiking along the Causeway Coast

    by MalenaN Written Apr 2, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    My first intention had been to walk from Ballintoy to Giant’s Causeway, but someone I talked to, who visits the area frequently, told me it is better to walk the opposite way as you then will have the best views in front of you and not in your back. I decided to do so and it also gave me time to first visit Dunluce Castle.

    After breakfast I took the bus from Ballintoy to Portballintrae. The bus ride took 20 minutes and it was £3.10 (March 2011). From Portballintrae it was another 20-25 minutes walk to Dunluce Castle. It was not difficult to find the way, I just walked west towards Portrush. There is no path along the coast so I followed the road.

    Leaving Dunluce Castle I walked the same way back to Portballintrae. In Portballintrae I continued to the long beach Bushfoot Strand and followed it to the end where there was a path over the sand dunes and on to Giant’s Causway Visitor Centre (which was not there as it was being rebuilt). The walk from Dunluce Castle to Causeway Hotel took 1 hour and 5-10 minutes and had been very pleasant.

    I had coffee and scones at the Causeway Hotel before visiting Giant’s Causeway. Many people advice you to take the cliff-top path to Giant’s Causeway, but as I was leaving that way I took the road leading downhill. After visiting I walked up the Shepard’s Steps to the cliff-top to see the views over Giant’s Causeway. Then I started my walk along the coast.

    Until Dunseverick castle the path is following the cliff-top and the scenery is wonderful. As there is no fence and drops can be steep you should not leave the path. I found a nice spot where there was some shelter from the wind where I ate my sandwich and fruit before continuing. At Dunseverick Castle you are close to the road so if you don’t want to continue walking you can take a bus from here, but remember they are not frequent.

    From Dunseverick Castle on to Whitepark Bay the path is going past several rocky coves and before Whitepark Bay you walk through a tunnel in the rock. The first part in the bay is rocky with boulders, but then you walk along the 2km long sandy beach. I was a bit worried before coming here that it would be high tide, because at high tide the way is blocked and you have to walk up to the road. But it was fine. From the end of the beach there is another kilometre to walk until you reach Ballintoy Harbour. From the harbour I walked up to Ballintoy village and the hostel, but if you are continuing to Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge (which I had visited the previous day) you follow the road up to the church and then take the path left of the church.

    From the top of Giant’s Causeway back to the hostel it took four hours. I was lucky with the weather, even though it was a bit windy, and it had been a lovely walk.

    The walk between Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is 16.5km.

    You can find tide timetables here:
    www.bbc.co.uk/weather/coast_and_sea/

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    4 more images

    Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

    by MalenaN Written Mar 26, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is a 20 metre long rope bridge, 30 metres above the sea, which spans from the mainland to the Carrick Island. The name Carrick-a-Rede comes from the Scottish Gaelic Carraig-a-Rede which means The rock in the road. It refers to the way the migrant salmons take along the coast. To get access to the best place to catch the salmons fishermen have put up a rope bridge here for over 350 years.

    I got a bit disappointed when I saw the bridge as I had imagined it to be longer, but the weather was nice and it is a beautiful place, so I was happy anyway.

    If weather permits the bridge is open daily:
    1 Jan - 27 Feb between 10.30 - 15.30
    28 Feb - 26 May between 10 - 18
    27 May 31 Aug between 10 - 19
    1 Sep - 31 Oct between 10 - 18
    1 Nov - 31 Dec between 10.30 - 15.30

    Final access to the rope bridge is 45 minutes before closing time. And if there are many visitors there might be a timed ticket system (occasionally) as there is a limited number of people who can cross the bridge at the same time.

    Admission was £5.60 (March 2011). Tickets are bought at a reception near the car park. From there there is a 1km walk along the coast to the rope bridge. By the car park there is also a Tea Room and toilets.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    4 more images

    Ballycastle

    by MalenaN Updated Mar 9, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Ballycastle is a pretty little town on the north Antrim Coast. The town only has around 4000 inhabitants, but in summer many tourists come here. There is a small harbour and from there you can take the ferry over to Rathlin Island. There is a nice sandy beach where you can take walks, or sunbath and swim in summer. Ballycastle is situated on the eastern edge of the Causeway coast so it is easy to visit places like the Gigant’s Causeway, Bushmills Destilery or the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge both with own or public transportation.

    Ballycastle is less than 20 minutes away by bus from Ballintoy where I stayed so I thought it could be nice to explore the town for an hour or two. Before leaving Ballintoy my battery charger didn’t work (but luckily it was fixed later in the evening) so I didn’t want to use the camera too much during my walk around Ballycastle, therefore I don’t have many photos from the town.

    Was this review helpful?

  • planxty's Profile Photo

    In the footsteps of the Saint.

    by planxty Updated Nov 4, 2010

    There is no getting away from the fact that if you are talking about Northern Ireland or indeed Ireland as a whole, that mention will be made of Saint Patrick, the patron Saint. It is estimated that 50 million people worldwide celebrate his day on 17th March every year. I have no idea how they work such things out but I can tell you, as a musician playing mostly Irish music, I have had some memorable St. Patrick's days and some I have a little difficulty remembering at all! It will come as no surprise then that there are several visitor attractions relating to the holy man in Northern Ireland and an active Tourist Board has engagd in a bit of joined up thinking and created a St. Patrick's Trail which takes in the sites associated with him. History dictates that, with the exception of the Coney Island Stone in County Tyrone, all the sites are within the counties of Armagh and Down.

    The official Trail, which is signposted, is broadly linear, beginning at Holywood on the outskirts of Belfast, then the short journey to Bangor and South through the County to the County town of Downpatrick and onward to Newry, with a few side trips. Carrying on Westwards into County Armagh and on to Armagh City where there are various Patrician associations, not to mention two Cathedrals (Anglican and Roman Catholic) both named for him. Side trips to the aforementined Coney Island Stone, Portadown, Craigavon and Dromore will complete the trail.

    I would suggest that personal transport is almost essential for the completion of the whole trail as some of the sites are out of the reach of public transport. However, if that is not possible, and taking Belfast as a base which most tourists will, Holywood and Bangor is an easy daytrip, as are Armagh and Downpatrick, so you can see a good proportion of what there is to be seen.

    If you come to Northern Ireland, you must visit at least one of the places here.

    Related to:
    • Religious Travel
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • arty_girl's Profile Photo
    1 more image

    Giant's Ring- Belfast

    by arty_girl Written Jun 27, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is a Megalithic tomb near a park called Shaw's Bridge in South Belfast. If you're in Belfast for a prolonged period of time, its worth going to for a walk then wandering a little bit down the road and arrive at Shaw's Bridge for a walk along the River Lagan.

    My other half and I went to The Giant's Ring last night, despite us both being from Belfast I had only been once as a child and he had never been. It was so sunny, really lovely way to spend an evening (and it's free too!).

    It's basically a giant circle (as though the ring of a giant is buried there!). You can walk around the edges (it's 180m in diameter) and then wander across the grass to the tomb stone in the middle (we climbed up onto it and chatted for a while!)

    If you'd like a walking route that will include this landmark, check this website out. I'm planning on doing it soon myself! http://www.walkni.com/Walk.aspx?ID=387

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

  • planxty's Profile Photo

    You just can't ignore it.

    by planxty Written Jun 14, 2010

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is probably going to be one of the most difficult VT tips I have ever written as it concerns the country of my birth and it's turbulent history. I certainly don't intend to go into the politics of the Northern Ireland situation, VT doesn't allow it and rightly so, and there has been more than enough written on the subject should you wish to learn more. The simple fact is that the often violent history of this beautiful place is never far away.

    On a recent cycle trip in County Armagh I stopped into a small country graveyard. There is nothing unusual or morbid about that, I find such places fascinating and a good guide to social history. amongst the well-tended headstones, I came upon the one pictured. Look closely at it and you will see, named amongst several family members one Spl. Const. (Special Constable) John Megarity USC (Ulster Special Constabulary "shot while on duty 29th May 1922 aged 20 years." It brought it home to me that the "Troubles" as the are euphemistically called have been going on for a long time.

    Northern Ireland today, as well as being extremely beautiful, is peaceful. Hospitality to strangers is a way of life here and it is a great place to visit. I would not suggest that the visitor dwells on the often horrific events of the past but there are enough reminders that you will never be able to entirely forget them.

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • jo104's Profile Photo

    Sheep Island

    by jo104 Written Apr 7, 2010

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    People placed sheep on this island as a plea for the vikings to take their sheep and not invade the mainland. And as we all well know there is no honour amongst theives so thanks for the sheep but we're coming over to plunder anyway!

    Was this review helpful?

  • jo104's Profile Photo

    Dunlace Castle

    by jo104 Updated Apr 7, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    A very haunting medieval castle perched on a cliff belonging to the MacQuillans and the MacDonalds through its history. It withstood several seiges during the middle ages. In 1639 a storm caused a section of the cliff to fall away and several of the kitchens fell into the sea along with 7 kitchen staff. We only stopped for a photo shoot but I believe you can visitor for a few pounds and the offer guided walks.

    Was this review helpful?

  • jo104's Profile Photo
    3 more images

    Carrik a Rede Rope Bridge

    by jo104 Updated Apr 7, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    A fantastic cliff top walk brings you to the Carrik-a-Rede rope bridge which is strung up by fishermen who keep their salmon nets on the small island. During the summer months they catch the salmon as they are turning the costal corner. The rope bridge spans a 30m deep and 20m wide chasm so not for those who are afraid of heights. The bridge is rather bouncy and in high winds it is closed as well as during January months and daylight hours only November to December.

    The island affords you the opportunity to take some excellent photography and also a spot of birdwatching. I caught these 2 lovebirds nestling in a crevis.
    The national trust now charge a fee to cross the bridge GBP5.40 includes giftaid but if you are a non-resident then it should be GBP4.90. There is a tea room and toilet facilities.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

  • jo104's Profile Photo
    4 more images

    Giants Causeway

    by jo104 Updated Apr 6, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This has been listed as a UNESCO heritage site and is free to visit and it is quite an incredible place to visit.

    The Myth - that an Irish giant Finn MacCool built the Causeway so he can fight the scottish giant Benandonner but on reaching Scotland he found his sleeping rival was far bigger then him and he fled back to Ireland. Finn MacCool's wife heard the angry scottish giant coming over the causeway so she dressed Finn in a baby's shawl and bonnet and put him in the cot. She advised Benandonner not to wake her baby, and after glancing at the cot he thought if this was the baby Finn MacCool must be huge. He fled back to Scotland ripping up the causeway as he did the same formations can be found on the Island of Staffa in Scotland.

    The more scientific explanantion is the causeway was formed 60 million years ago by molten lava flowing into chalk beds. It cooled and contracted creating hexagonal patterns and erosion has caused these unusual colums.

    The path is a fair way down you can chose to walk above 2km to Chimney Tops and get a panaramic view before descending down to the causeway. There is a bus which operates every 15min for the elderly and disabled. There is a visitors centre and a tearoom operated by the national trust. They do charge for parking. Guided tours are available June to August.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

  • arty_girl's Profile Photo

    On a Sunday... Black Box Market

    by arty_girl Written Mar 11, 2010

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    If you like market, crafts or quirky people, you'll love the Black Box Market. It's on once every month and I adore it. It's all indoors in a venue which is normally a club/restaurant. It's situated near to the Art College in Belfast and many of the vendors are past/present students of the Belfast Art College.

    They sell everything from handmade jewellery, bags & tees, right through to home-baked buns, vintage items & old comics. Even if you don't buy anything, it's worth a look. You don't even need that much time on your hands to look around, even 20 minutes or so of browsing lets you see enough of what's on offer and maybe even make a purchase. In saying that though, the stall holders love a chat (especially with tourists & creative folk) so if you have some time to kill, be sure to strike up a conversation. It's a great place to meet locals

    *It happens on the first Sunday of every month*
    Search "Black Box Belfast" on Facebook for exact dates!

    Related to:
    • Luxury Travel
    • Arts and Culture
    • Study Abroad

    Was this review helpful?

  • Durfun's Profile Photo

    Carrick-a-Rede

    by Durfun Written Nov 19, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Carrick-a-rede ropebridge is worth visiting.

    The queues can be long, the winds blustery, but the scenery simply breathtaking.

    It's quite exciting crossing the bridge that sways a lot in the strong gales. It's a 100 foot drop below, into the water.

    The hills on either side of the crossing offer tremendous views over the sea.

    Go there.... NOW!

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

    Was this review helpful?

Northern Ireland Hotels

Top Northern Ireland Hotels

Belfast Hotels
396 Reviews - 785 Photos
Portrush Hotels
37 Reviews - 60 Photos
Newcastle Hotels
6 Reviews - 33 Photos
Enniskillen Hotels
44 Reviews - 161 Photos
Newry Hotels
5 Reviews - 62 Photos
Derry/Londonderry Hotels
46 Reviews - 169 Photos
Cushendun Hotels
See nearby hotels
Carnlough Hotels
1 Review - 1 Photo
Whitehead Hotels
See nearby hotels
Saintfield Hotels
See nearby hotels
Omagh Hotels
1 Review - 5 Photos
Lurgan Hotels
3 Reviews - 7 Photos
Larne Hotels
1 Hotel
Kircubbin Hotels
See nearby hotels
Gilford Hotels
1 Review - 9 Photos

Instant Answers: Northern Ireland

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

65 travelers online now

Comments

Northern Ireland Things to Do

Reviews and photos of Northern Ireland things to do posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Northern Ireland sightseeing.
Map of Northern Ireland