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Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland is gorgeous! It is so green here...I see why this is the Emerald Isle. Once, I found a little guest house on a farm just south of Greysteel, NI; and used it as a base to explore around the area, the guest house had a view of Louch Foyle. Another time, I based in Donegal, Ireland to explore.

I have explored The Giant's Causeway, Carrick-a-rede rope bridge, Green Castle ruins, Belfast, Derry. The area has a great history going back thousands of years. It always takes me a few days to get used to driving on the left, especially on the narrow country roads, but I always get comfortable after a few days. You cannot tell where the border between Ireland and Northern Island gets crossed as you drive along, except the roads signs change from miles to kilometers, and the currency changes from Euros to Pounds.


What a coastline!

The northern coastline is epic! Beauty all around. 


Wait for a sunny morning, then grab a coffee and a pastry, and just enjoy a quick breakfast at the ruins of a medieval castle by the water.  
Life is good!

Getting around Northern Ireland

I am a big fan of using public transportation in Europe, but Northern Ireland is a place I would recommend a car.  There is just so much in the countryside to see and the cities are manageable to drive in. Of course, you have to be comfortable with driving on the left. Personally, I quickly adjust, but I still splurge for the automatic transmissions when I rent because I don't want to try shifting with my left hand..    

If you want to stay away from driving, there are buses from Dublin to Belfast that take 2.5 hours and buses from Belfast to Derry that take 1.5 hours. Plus, there are also buses that go to many of the other smaller towns. 

additionally, there are trains from Belfast to Dublin that take 2 hours, leaving Dublin from Connolly Rail Station. 

Once you are in Belfast, you may find that walking is your best bet. The city is quite compact. But, if you want public transport, you may want the Belfast Visitor Pass. This covers all local routes (but not the airport). 1 to 3 days costs 6 to 15.5 pounds. 

In Londonderry, you simply wont need transport. Everything you want to visit is only 15-30 minutes walking distance.  

Giant's Causeway

As everyone knows, this was built by the Irish giant, Finn McCool to create a path to Scotland. Then, the Scottish giant, and enemy of McCool, Benandonner tore up the path leaving what we see today.

Of course, geologists will tell you that an ancient volcano created these basalt formations. 

I prefer to believe in the giants! 

Easy to get to if you have a car as it is only about an hour north of Belfast. However, you can get here by bus also. The 221 Bus to Aird leaves from Pottingers Entry High Street and takes about 90 minutes. 

The benefit to heading up here in a car though is that there is so much more to see.  The ruins of Dunseverick Castle and Dunseverick Falls. Kinbane Castle, Dunluce Castle. It seems like the whole coast was just lined by castles hundreds of years ago. 

Northern Ireland


I have always been fascinated by the conflicted history of Belfast, and the tensions that still simmer under the surface.  

The town of Belfast was established in the 17th century by Sir Arthur Chichester, with the name ‘Belfast’ being an Anglicized version of the Irish Béal Feirste, which translates as ‘the mouth of the sandbar.’

During the Industrial Revolution, Belfast was the biggest city in Ireland, larger even than Dublin, and was famous for tobacco, rope making, linen and of course shipbuilding.

SS Nomadic

Naturally, as a ship building city, there are places to experience maritime history like this ship that ferried passengers to the Titanic.  Next door, you can also visit the Titanic Belfast.

St Anne’s Cathedral

Consecrated in 1904, this beautiful church is right between Cathedral gardens park, and the Northern Ireland War Memorial Museum

The Big Fish

Walk around the docks areas to see the fish, "The Speaker", along with Calder Fountain and Albert Memorial Clock

Belfast fish


Otherwise, just known as Derry.  

If you want to better understand the civil rights movement known as "The Troubles" that lasted from the 1960's to 1998, this is the place to visit. From the Museum of Free Derry to Peace Flame and the many murals memorializing the people involved, it is a sobering reminder.  

There  is also a wonderful preservation of the history of the city with the the 17th century walls and The Siege Museum.

St Columb's cathedral

Gothic Church of Ireland cathedral that was constructed between 1633 and 1776. 

Tower Museum

Opened in 1992, this museum offers exhibits of regional history

Museum of Free Derry

History museum with multi-media exhibits on the region's civil rights movement.

Derry Walls

walk around this intact 17th century enclosure with 7 gates and 24 restored cannons.


The Coast, countryside and old castles

Don't limit any trip to Northern Island to just the main sites and cities. Get out an explore the is downrght beautiful!

Northern Ireland
coast of Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
coffee at a castle
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