Planning trip to Northern Ireland

Last May we explored the Republic of Ireland, and this May plan on flying into Dublin & heading north. We'll probably stay in Drogheda the first night (minimal jet-lagged driving) and then head toward the Antrim Coast. Don't plan on much time in Belfast unless there are suggestions here. Will want to include Derry before heading back south along the western coast (Sligo, Clifden, Doolin, to Dingle). So bottom line, what are the "Must Sees" for Northern Ireland? We plan on a 10 day trip, roughly. Thanks!

Posted by Peter
Neptune, NJ, USA
1 posts

Cathy, We flew to Belfast but didnt spend time there..our first stay was Carrickfergus with its imposing castle and accommodating town. The drive up the Antrim coast was a beautiful ride indeed..stopped in Carnlough with its quaint harbor and long walk toward the falls. Cushendun is another quaint town with lovely beach and scenery. Take the Torr Head drive and stop at Torr Head for some great views. Ballycastle a great place to stop..we stayed 4 days. OK.. Must Sees..Antrim Coast and Causeway coast.. Giant's Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Dunluce Castle, Torr Head Drive, Murlough Bay, ...and if time Bushmills, lunch at Ballintoy Harbor..walk through Glenariff The Mourne Mountains were also nice...the town of Newcastle, Dundrum Castle.. We didnt see Derry or Fermanach so can't say... We've been to the Republic a couple of times and absolutely love it, so we weren't sure about taking the trip to N.I. We were not disappointed and hope you have as wonderful a time as we did!

Posted by Cathy
Orlando, FL, USA
29 posts

Thank you both for your helpful responses! After spending so much time last year planning our trip to the Republic, I want to make sure to get the most out of N. Ireland before going back to familiar spots (in the Republic). Thanks again!

Posted by Tara
Sarasota
142 posts

We went to Northern Ireland in 2011. We spent a night in Glasgow at the Tara Lodge. Took a political taxi tour, which was very meaningful and informative. The company was recommended in Rick's book. We went to the Queen's bar, and wandered around the waterfront area, and took lots of pictures of murals. One night there was plenty. We then went to Portrush, stayed at the Beluah Guest House there (recommended in Rick's book). Owner - I think her name was Mary - was super friendly and helpful. Aside from enjoying our time in Portrush, we did the standard Antrim coast things: Giant's Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, Bushmill's brewery, and Dunluce castle...in that order. Totally worth every minute, not that crowded for some reason when we went, and had a wonderful time. My advice is to get to Giant's Causeway early in the morning before the tour buses arrive. The only person there when we arrived was the guy picking up the few pieces of litter from the stones (very minor...we saw no litter at all...and wished he would move so we could get awesome pictures without him in them! LOL). Enjoy your trip!

Posted by Tom
Chicago
2876 posts

We've stayed at bed-and-breakfasts all over Europe, and right at the top of our list is Whitepark House in Ballintoy, Northern Ireland. I don't think I can describe it any better than its own website does. Staying there was one of the true highlights of our trip to the Antrim coast. http://www.whiteparkhouse.com/

Posted by George
Philadelphia
653 posts

There are many great ideas above. You will love the trip. One note: we were there in April - it was VERY cold and VERY windy so we would suggest that if your dates are flexible, make it well into May. Also, be carefull on the rocks at the Giants Causeway - we had a fall which put us into the clinic. Even so, we had a great trip.

Posted by Cathy
Orlando, FL, USA
29 posts

Thanks all! The inn looks fantastic & is in a perfect location. I emailed Bob, but haven't firmed up our dates yet (late May, I believe). George, good point about being careful on the Giant's Causeway. I hadn't thought of that must buy shoes with good traction & will be careful. I'm glad your slip didn't deter you from enjoying your trip.