Great hospitality, stunning scenery and wonderful food.
The weather - bring an umbrella with you
Northern Ireland is not just about the troubles (even though they are an important aspect in order to comprehend the history of Ireland as a whole) - there's a lot to discover!
My boyfriend and I recently decided last minute to take a black taxi tour of Belfast and its murals having being recommended by a friend. We weren't sure if it was our thing, but we did want to see the murals especially with a locally knowledgeable guide. http://www.belfastblacktaxitours.com We phoned the morning we wanted to go and were able to...more
If we would ever visit Belfast again, we would stay there again, though keep in mind many rooms do...more
Probably Belfast’s best known pub and one that is owned by the National Trust. The restored Victorian interior is so extravagantly ornate that it is almost overpowering. It has decorative mirrors, etched glass, mosaic flooring and an ornate ceiling. The bar runs along the left hand side as you enter and around the rest of the pub are ten separate...more
I will admit up front to not having actually visited Devenish Island on my most recent trip to Enniskillen – the attached photos are taken from the “mainland”. I am strongly of the view that one should not write tips/reviews on places one does not have first hand experience of. I do feel qualified to write this tip as I have visited Devenish Island...more
The Belmore Court and Motel is a great place to stay in Enniskillen. It’s actually 2 places in one....more
Florence Court House is set in beautiful parkland, woodland and gardens (the Pleasure Grounds) with stunning views across to Benaughlin and Cuilagh Mountains. Take a seat in the (Pacific Island inspired??) Summer House and admire the mountain view as well as the garden itself (picture one).The estate includes a walled garden (replete with Rose...more
The Diamond War Memorial was erected in 1927 to commemorate the citizens of the city that lost their lives in World War I.It was built by charitable contributions. The memorial was designed by brothers Sydney and Vernon March. Minatures were also made that now are in St Columb’s Cathedral in Derry.more
this hotel was great except for 1 thing,when we arrived we were asked for debit or credit card which...more
Londonderry or Derry? As you approach a city with seemingly 2 names – you will see the battles commence. Both from the Republic of Ireland side of the border and inside Northern Ireland (UK) itself! There are many signs on the motorways (highways) and roads trying to tell you the direction and/or how many miles to drive to arrive at the second...more
We tried to get in here on a cold winters evening but were told we would have to wait. This didn't present a problem as the attached bar is very good and we settled into the snug behind the bar,. After a short while we were called through and shown to our table in a well laid out bistro with a slate tiled floor. The food that was to follow was...more
67-71 Main Street, Portrush, BT56 8BN, United Kingdom
Good for: Solo
Next to buying ice cream, walking on the beach on a nice day is my favourite thing to do in Newcastle. We normally park our car at the Murlough Beach car park just north of Newcastle (get their early to get a space) then walk across the road through the nature reserve which is owned by the National Trust. A 20 minute walk along a boardwalk brings...more
51 Castlewellan Rd, Newcastle, BT33 0JY, United Kingdom
Good for: Families
There is a great tradition of football in Newcastle with the home team Newcastle United Football Club (NUFC) known affectionately as "The Toon". The locals here, known as Geordies, eat, sleep and breath football. How the team is getting on is discussed at work, in the street and is a main topic of discussion in pubs across Tyneside. It has been...more
The place is very well decorated, to be a brasserie, you may expect a not so fashionable restaurant, but I must say it's wonderful. The service is all right, no complaints, which is a good signal. And the food was lovely and the price was very affordable. To sum up: go there and enjoy a great restaurant in Newry. Chicken wings.more
85 Mill Road, Annalong, Newry, BT34 4RH, United Kingdom
Good for: Business
Daisy Hill Wood was once the old Daisy Hill Nursery which was one of the major plant suppliers in Northern Ireland from 1890 to 1990. It was then take over by the Newry and Mourne District Council in 1990. Many exotic species and their hybrids of plants exist from the old nursery days like Bamboo, which was grown and sold by the nursery, this...more
This town on Belfast Lough will probably attract visitors mainly for its castle. A brief walk around, however, will take you to the Town Hall (in High Street) which still has the attractive 1779 facade of the County Court House. The building of St. Nicholas's Church has something of Ulster about it: it retains parts of the original late 12th...more
The Harbour, Alexandra Pier, Carrickfergus, BT38 8BE, United Kingdom
Good for: Solo
Your shopping guide to The Courtyard, CarrickfergusThe Courtyard, located at 38 Scotch Quarter (just off Marine Highway), can best be described as Carrickfergus’s best kept shopping secret.The beautifully-landscaped ‘secret garden’ is home to two lovely cafes and a plethora of independently-owned shops selling some of the world’s best brand names...more
Drug abuse, alcohol abuse and antisocial behaviour are unfortunately rampant in Ballymena. There is a strong Christian following in the town which may have contributed to the problem - For a long time the council wouldnt face up to the problem because it wasnt 'Christian' to admit things were getting out of hand. In addition there is a problem with...more
178 Galgorm Road, Ballymena, BT42 1HJ, United Kingdom
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Families
Ballymena is my home town. My mum and dad and most of my family live here or close by. Ballymena is full of wonderful shops - big ones, small ones, weird ones, cool ones, funny ones, specialised ones: you name it they got it. And what is best, the town centre is full of fantastic cafes and restaurants as well - I always put on loads of weight when...more
This is a great little Tourist Bureau. The ladies are all very nice, you can get lots of free maps, information and suggestions. You can even get a cup of coffee and look through their excellent gift shop. Its located just 1 minutes walk from the City Walls and shopping. Unfortunately parking is a bit challenging here. The Old Courthouse was built...more
Ballymena Road, Antrim, BT41 4LL, United Kingdom
Good for: Couples
At the top of Northern Ireland in County Antrim, you enter a moonscape of thousands of hexigonal and round shaped flat topped basalt pillars rising from the bottom of the sea. You can walk out on them to the powerful surf. If you're fortunate enough to be there when the crashing waves are most violent, you'll nearly be toppled from the wind and...more
Looking at the 2010 version of planxty (i.e. me) you would probably find it quite hard to believe that I was once a fairly fit rugby player, and one of the clubs I played for was Lurgan. Although I was living in nearby Portadown and should probably have played for them, one of my best friends was playing for Lurgan and persuaded me to join there...more
If your tastes run to football (soccer for those of you who use the term), and you are in Lurgan, the thing to do is get yourself down to Mourneview Park and watch Glenavon.Glenavon have a long history, having played their first game in 1895 (against Linfield Swifts) and after having used several grounds they eventually settled in their currnet...more
Killyleagh Castle. We discovered this one day as we were driving from the Nendrum Monastic site (another fabulous place to visit) to Castle Ward. The castle is privately owned and there are 2 self catering apartments that can be rented by the week, each in a tower. It is very non typical of Irish castles and is therefore very interesting. However, as it is privately owned, no visitors are allowed beyond the gates. The village of Killyleagh is very quaint with a traditional high street and a good pub.
You know, it is amazing how you can see things without noticing them. When I lived in Northern Ireland some years ago, I must have travelled the road from Tandragee to Banbridge literally hundreds if not thousands of times, and I was aware of the village / townland of Tullylish. I am sure I must have noticed the Church standing just off the busy A50 yet I never visited it or indeed the small hamlet round about it.
Today, on a whim whilst my Father and I were out for a drive, we decided to have a look round and what a good decision that proved to be. Apart from a lovely hour spent on a gloriously crisp autumn afternoonwith views over fields of newly baled hay to the hills in the distance, we had a look round a graveyard (well, one in two halves to be precise) which was tremendously interesting. A little internet research alongside my own observations has thrown up some fascinating information about what is a small apparently insignificant hamlet in County Down.
Tullylish is perhaps an odd sounding name to non Irish people, but it derives from the Gaelic Tulaigh Lis meaning "hillock of the fort". It nestles on the banks of the River Bann, which provided the power for the numerous linen mills that used to operate here. There was an ancient monastic community on the hill East of where the old Church stood, probably founded in the 6th or 7th centuries. Unfortunately, all did not go well for the holy men as history records the killing of Abbot Dunchu here in the year 804 although the reason for the crime is not given. Interestingly, the monastery was situated within the circular and much older Celtic fort which gives it's name to the place.
Things did not get much better for the monks as the monastery was subsequently laid waste by marauding Vikings. Not many people appreciate that the Vikings had a large influence all over Ireland.
I cannot find out when the "old" Church was built to replace the monastic settlement but it was sacked in the rebellion of 1641 and rebuilt in 1698as a Protestant Church. All that remains of it now is the Tower and the old East gable wall which preside somewhat eerily over one portion of the graveyard.
Cross the small road to the rather impressive "new" Church of All Saints, consecrated in 1862, when the old Church fell into disuse and disrepair. The building was commenced in 1861 when the Rector was one W.B. Yeats. If the name sounds familiar, it is because he was the grandfather of the famous Nobel winning poet and dramatist of the same name. Perhaps less-well known is Yeats brother John (Jack) Butler Yeats (1871-1957), a painter of some renown who was the first Irish painter to sell a painting for over £1 million. He was also the first artist to draw a strip cartoon of the Sherlock Homes stories. By an odd coincidence, an exhibition of his work opened last week at a gallery six miles from where I write this. Until a week ago I had never even heard of him. Funny how things go round in circles, isn't it?
For fans of the silver screen, apparently the forebears of the actor Jeremy Irons originated from Tullylish.
Indicative of the times when it was built, the Church has a slightly unusual Gothic looking tower rather than the more traditional spire / steeple.
In the grounds of this Church the second portion of the graveyard lies. Readers of numerous of my other pages will know that graveyards fascinate me, not in a morbid way but as wonderful signposts to social history. I saw some things in these two graveyards that I found unusual and I shall construct a travelogue to do justice to the place in due course.
I do not expect that people will be flocking to Tullylish on the strength of this tip but for me it is exactly the kind of place that "Off the Beaten Path" was designed for.
For directions, please see the attached website, where there is a Google map link.