City of Lisburn
The 14th March 2002 was an historic occasion for Lisburn as this is the date that Lisburn became a city. Historically a Linen town, now Lisburn has grown to proudly hold Northern Ireland's lowest unemployment rate and highest property value. During my travels here, the city was clean, growing, and just had a good feel.
There are many things to explore while in Lisburn - the linen museum, Lisburn square, Bow Street mall, the civic centre, Colin Glen park, Lisburn OmniPlex, Lagan Leisureplex, and near by Hillsborough.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Visiting Loch Neagh
Loch Neagh is the British Isles' largest lake and a good place for fishing, sailing and other watersports. It is also a great place to just walk around and have a picnic lunch.
When I went (May) there were so many miggies (annoying flies) everywhere so it wasn't as enjoyable as it could of been.
The vistor centre has a discovery area that familiarizes you with the local wildlife and history.
Five of the six counties meet at Loch Neagh.
Hillsborough is a small town that has a few nice things to do. It is a historical Georgian village with Hillsborough Castle, home to the Secretary of State, Hillsborough Fort and Forest Park. Its great just to walk through this town and enjoy the architecture and community.
If you're there in the evening the Hillside pub has pub quizzes and pints in a nice and calm atmosphere.Related to:
- Castles and Palaces
West Belfast..... Keep an eye out for Murals....
Separated by the Westlink Motorway, west Belfast is the home of some iconic murals. The Catholic/Republican murals around Falls Rd first appeared in 1981 in support of the hunger strikers; the mural of Bobby Sands near the Sinn Féin offices is particularly famous. Other themes include the Potato Famine, Celtic and religious imagery, the recent Agreement and the cease-fire. The loyalist murals are more militaristic, and are concentrated on Shankill Rd.
You can take a black cab tour, or just get a friend to drive you through. I felt very safe walking around and taking pictures in the day time but driving by at night it seems a little bit more scary. It is still an interesting sight to see!Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Historical Travel
Belfast!!! See the city!
When you step into Belfast it is very clear that it has been changed by the industrial revolution. There are many grand public buildings to see and shops to buy just about anything. There are no more barriers or tanks, but ports, museums, and beautiful parks to explore. The most popular places are all within walking distance. Start yourself off near City hall and from there you can stroll on Donegal Place to hit the shops and go further northeast too see the Albert Memorial Clocktower. Go south down Dublin Rd for the Golden Mile entertainment area, Queen's University, Ulster Museum and Botanic Gardens.Related to:
- Budget Travel
When in Portrush, take a walk to Ramore Head....
Ramore head is the end of a one mile long basalt peninsula that Portrush rests on, it rises around 100-200ft above Portrush, from here you can enjoy good views (east) over the town and Inishowen on the Donegal mainland (west).
If you're already in Portrush, visiting Ramore head is a short walk from the town centre. Great views and breeze.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
Crossing the famous Carrick-a-Rede....
Carrick -A- Rede Rope Bridge is located on the North Antrim Coast between Ballycastle and Balintoy. It is an ideal spot to visit when visiting other attraction ion the area such as the Giants Causeway or Dunluce Castle. This bridge has been here since the 1600's and is used by local fisherman to catch migrating salmon.
When visiting the bridge there is about a 15 minute walk along the cliffside to the bridge.
For those interested in ornithology the opportunity to spot Eiders, Fulmars, Kittywakes, Guillemots, and Razorbills, presents itself as the islands to which the rope bridge lead are important breeding grounds for these birds.
Regardless if you're a bird fan or not Carrick -A -Rede provides fantastic views and wildlife. A must see when in Northern Ireland!
Admission is about 2 pounds for adults, and about 6 pounds for families.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
Folk Village grounds
The Folk Village not only has original buildings, but is layed out in village fashion with cultivated fields seperating the various outlying farm buildings.
Touring late in the day in the Fall, after most of the tourists have left, transports one back in time to the late 1700's. Alone walking the rocky lanes between farm houses, I almost felt like I could hear the "little people" scrambling around in the thick undergrowth.
Just outside of Belfast is the Folk Village. Buildings have be moved from all over the country and reassembled here. You get a good feel of how people used to live, and how hard life must have been for the lowest caste who lived in small, one-room huts roofed with straw. Cooking and heating was done in the fireplace over a peat fire.
The oldest Whiskey Distillery in the world!!
Bushmills is the oldest licensed distillery in the world. King James I granted the original License to distil 'Acqua Vitae' in April 1608 and since then Bushmills has been making the finest Irish Malt Whiskey here for almost four hundred years. The tour brings you through the distilling process and you can taste and enjoy an ounce of your choice of whiskey at the end.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Hanging out in Portrush....
When in Northern Ireland I highly reccommend visiting this small town of Portrush. It is a beautiful town that hosts many large events like the Northwest 200 motorcycle race. There are many fun things to do - walk on the nice beaches - both east and west strands, play at Barry's indoor and outdoor amusement centre (Largest in Ireland), Explore the elevated pennisula of Ramore Head, endulge in Fish 'n Chips at Mr. Chip. If you're looking for nightlife, one of Northern Ireland's largest clubs - Lush is a 5 minute taxi ride away! You can also surf, but make sure you're wearing a full body wet suit! I now know why Portrush is such a great summer town! You are close to Portstewart, the giants causeway, and Carrick-a-rede rope bridge.Related to:
- Theme Park Trips
This UNESCO world heritage site is made up of unique natural geological formations of basalt hexagonal stones. These formations were created by volcanic eruption and cooling lava. Funny thing is ancient history doesn't agree.
Locals say that during a fight with a Scotish giant, the legendary Finn McCool, the ulster warrior not only threw a massive piece of land across in the direction of Scotland to create the Isle of Man, but created the giants causeway to bring the lady giant on Staffa across to Ulster.
What ever story you believe, the causeway is a definate stop when in Northern Ireland. There are 40,000 of these stone columns, mostly hexagonal but some with four, five, seven and eight sides. The tallest are about 40 feet high, and the solidified lava in the cliffs is 90 feet thick in places. You can do a few different walks, all of them starting above the causeway on a cliff looking down. The easiest walk is circular and takes you to the grand causeway and back up to the visitor's centre. You can even take a bus from the bottom if you're not up for the walk back.Related to:
There is a tourist information site at the location of the giant's causeway. If you have your backpack just ask the parking lads in the booth if you can leave it with them. From the tourist area down to the actual causeway is a bit of a jaunt. They do have little buses that take you down but it costs a bit. You will also pay for parking.
So go on..walk it..don't be lazy.
The causeway is quite fascinating and there are many theories around it. I think it has to do with giants and a trade agreement gone wrong. : )
THE OLD BUSHMILLS WHISKEY DISTILLERY.....
Driving the wonderfully scenic ANTRIM COAST ROAD here in Northern Ireland, coming from DUBLIN, you will see the lush green of the ROYAL PORTRUSH GOLFCLUB, which provides an unforgettable sight!
That wonderful Irish green among the shaggy-topped sand dunes.......and the sea beyond.....
This coastline is also HOME to the Old BUSHMILLS WHISKEY DISTILLERY.......
(A shot of BUSMILLS' seems to be perfect to steady the NERVES.........)
Near the world famous GIANT'S CAUSEWAY and Dunluce Castle is the small town that is home tp OLD BUSHMILLS, the oldest, licensed whiskey distillery in the WORLD.
In 2008 it will celebrate its 400th BIRTHDAY!
And I suppose that there is a tale about ingenuity, craftmanship and a quest to perfect the art of distilling!
Lots of people from all over the world come to visit and there are indeed guided tours and it all has to do with distilling WHISKEY....
The very heart of the process is the stillroom where the temperature is some 25 degrees Celsius and the air is thick with alcohol.
(The stills are made of copper)
In the picture you see GENTLE GIANT as head cooper Watson Mc Cook is affectionately called!
He has been working here for 37 years now (and now is 2003!).
Oak casks are used to let the whiskey mature and sometimes casks are not disturbed for some 25 years, imagine that!! It must be pure gold what will be poured in glasses then!!
In the process of maturation, a portion is lost and this is called: THE ANGELS' SHARE......which sounds so sweet, don't you agree with me here?
FOR MORE INFO on the Old Bushmills distillery, along with guided tours details, visit their site or give them a call: see below.....
CUILCAGH MOUNTAIN PARK
The border between County Fermanagh in NORTHERN IRELAND and County CAVAN in the Republic of Ireland runs along the distinctive summit ridge of CUILCAGH MOUNTAIN.
Extensive areas of BLANKET BOG formed across the ,ountain and are now among the best preserved ans most extensive PEATLAND areas in IRELAND.
The mountain itself is topped by gritstone, exposed in places as dramatic cliffs, sweeping down to the middle slopes of the mountain which consists of SANDSTONE and SHALE covered with rich flora and classic landforms such as limestone pavement, dry valleys, cliffs and river sinks.
This area also includes the famous MARBLE ARCH CAVES, one of Europe's leading showcaves which is open to the public!
See previous TIP !!
Peatland is now, globally, a scarce habitat and, even in Cuilcagh, this internationally important area of peatland has suffered damage due to pressures from mechanical peat extraction and associated drainage works, overgrazing (mostly by sheep!), uncontrolled burning of surface vegetation and indiscriminate use of ALL TERRAIN VEHICLES.
CUILCAGH MOUNTAIN PARK is an area of land managed by FERMANAGH DISTRICT COUNCIL with the aim of actively restoring damaged PEATLAND, conserving a significant awareness and appreciation of BOGLAND habitats and wildlife!
A MOST WONDERFUL, MYSTERIOUS AREA, very worthy of your visit!
And..............a fine place to meet FRIENDLY PEOPLE!!
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