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!!
MARBLE ARCH CAVES....
Marble Arch Caves are one of Europe's finest showcaves allowing visitors to explore a fascinating, natural underworld of rivers, waterfalls, winding passage and lofty chambers.
Lively & irformative guides conduct tours past a bewildering variety of cave formations - stalagites glisten above streamways and chambers while fragile mineral veils and cascades of creamy calcite coat walls and spread as shimmering terraces across rock strewn floors.
Spectacular walkways allow easy access while powerful lighting reveals a stunning beauty and grandeur of the caves.
Electrically powered boats glide through huge caverns carrying visitors along the subterranean river.
Tours last for 75 minutes and are suitable for people of any age of average fitness.
Comfortable walking shoes and a warm sweater are recommended.
The caves have good parking, a souvenir shop, restaurant, exhibition area, an audio-visual theatre and are located in a National Nature Reserve.
Aducational Service available for schools and colleges.
Advanced bookings are accepted from large groups, families and individuals and are recommended at peak times!
This is not A place to visit or A thing to do but some important info!
In Ireland you will find the whte letter i (information) in a green field, but in NORTHERN IRELAND (which is part of the UK) you will find a smaller white i (information) in a RED FIELD.......
But BOTH work closely together which is a FREE SERVICE to assist ALL holidaymakers everywhere in IRELAND.....
A GREAT IDEA...
This is called THE NATIONAL TOURIST INFORMATION NETWORK: use it, is my advice, I did so myself!
Of all the cities and towns I have visited in Ireland Derry is one of my favourites. It is steeped in history, but because of its troubled past and its out-of-the-way location it has not been discovered by the tourism-industry so far, and people are not yet tired of visitors, but very friendly, welcoming and genuinely interested in their guests. It is very easy to meet the locals, be it in a pub or just somewhere in the streets. And the two attractions that should not be missed when visiting Derry are the City Walls and the Bogside.
Derry’s most striking feature are the City Walls which are completely intact. The walls have never been breached, earning Derry the name “The Maiden City”. There are several stairs up onto the walls, and you can walk the whole length of them around the inner city and see the historic town centre inside and Derry’s newer areas outside. From Butcher’s Gate there is a great view over the Bogside with its murals.
Derry’s Bogside was the scene of many of the events that took place on Bloody Sunday on January 30th, 1972. On this day the British Army opened fire on a peaceful civil rights demonstration, killing 13 people. A 14th person died later that year following his injuries. It was only in 1998 that the British Government set up an inquiry into the events of Bloody Sunday, which is still ongoing.
Ulster American Folk Park
The Ulster-American Folk Park near Omagh tells the story of emigration from Ulster to America, but from a mainly Presbyterian point of view. The folk park is built around the homestead of Thomas Mellon who emigrated from Ulster to Pennsylvania and founded a banking empire there. Due to this there is very little information on the situation of the Catholics living in Ulster at the time.
The tour of the museum starts with the Emigrant’s Exhibition with many artefacts from the time, and some scenes are re-constructed with wax dolls. The outdoor museum is laid out to represent the “Old World” in Ulster, with houses, schools and other buildings from the 19th century. From there you go to the shipyard and enter the replica of an emigration ship. On the other side of the ship you emerge in the “New World” and learn how people built a new life for themselves in America.
In many houses people dressed in the clothes of that period will tell you how people lived at the time and give you a feel for what life would have been like. In the blacksmith forge for example you can watch the blacksmith at work, using all the old tools. Or you can go into the old shop and chat to the shop keeper. It is very well done, very interesting and great for kids as they can touch nearly everything and run around with hobbyhorses in a big field in the “New World”. Many of them were particularly fascinated by a basket full of tiny chickens sleeping in front of a fire. It probably was the least popular spot with parents though, as I heard one after the other trying to explain to their kids why they could not take one home :-)
Admission was £4
For more pictures see the travelogue.Related to:
- Museum Visits
- Historical Travel
The Giant's Causeway
The most popular tourist attraction Northern Ireland is the Giant´s Causeway on the Antrim coast, which is a World Heritage Site. It is smaller than I expected it to be after reading about it in some guide books, but it is still a fascinating place. The hexagonal stones were formed by lava, but that is the boring scientific explanation. This is how it REALLY came into existence:
The legendary Finn MacCool was challenged by a Scottish giant who shouted over from Scotland that if only he could get his hands on Finn he would surely win a fight with him. Finn should count himself lucky that he (the giant) could not swim over. Finn was not too happy about being teased like that and started building a causeway to Scotland so that the giant had no excuse for not coming over to fight him. But as Finn was rather tired from building the causeway he did not feel quite up to a fight and resorted to Plan B. He built a huge cot, climbed in and waited for the giant. When he arrived he was quite horrified to see this enormous "baby", which was even bigger than himself, and the thought of having to fight the father sent him back to Scotland in no time at all, destroying the causeway behind him as he went along. Now, which one do you prefer: the lava or Finn MacCool?
The Scottish end of the Giant´s Causeway can be found on the island of Staffa, by the way (see my Staffa page).
Carrick-a-Rede Ropebridge, County Antrim
Carrcik-a-Rede Ropebridge near Ballintoy in County Antrim is not for the faint-hearted. As I am one of those I only had a look at it from afar. The shaky bridge dangles some 30 metres above the rocks and the sea below. and fishermen used this bridge to get to their fishing nets There is nothing really to see on the other side.Related to:
- Adventure Travel
Dunluce Castle is well worth a visit. It is an enormous ruin sitting majestically on top of a cliff on the North Antrim coast. It dates back to the 13th century and survived many sieges and raids. When the treasure ship of the Spanish Armada, the Girona, sank near the Giant’s Causeway in 1588 the then owner of the castle used this windfall money to modernise his humble home. He probably did not spend a whole chunk on the kitchen, though, as it fell into the sea in 1639, together with the cooks.Related to:
- Castles and Palaces
- Historical Travel
Northern Ireland Hotels
I recently stayed in this hotel as part of a romantic night out and was disappointed in the food,...more
If we would ever visit Belfast again, we would stay there again, though keep in mind many rooms do...more
Spent a night in here in December 2007. Went to Derry for a function which was being held in the...more
Top Northern Ireland Hotels
- Belfast Hotels
- 396 Reviews - 794 Photos
- Portrush Hotels
- 37 Reviews - 60 Photos
- Newcastle Hotels
- 6 Reviews - 33 Photos
- Enniskillen Hotels
- 44 Reviews - 161 Photos
- Derry/Londonderry Hotels
- 46 Reviews - 169 Photos
- Newry Hotels
- 5 Reviews - 62 Photos
- Carnlough Hotels
- 1 Review - 1 Photo
- Kircubbin Hotels
- See nearby hotels
- Whitehead Hotels
- See nearby hotels
- Saintfield Hotels
- See nearby hotels
- Save money, Book now!
- Booking.com Excellent choice, Low rates
- Book online.
- Hotels.com See maps & reviews for over 140,000 Hotels worldwide!
Explore the World
- Obed Hotels
- El Paso Hotels
- Makakilo City Hotels
- Norcross Hotels