Northern Ireland is known for its Norman castles, lush green valleys and mountains, Celtic and Christian monuments, the Giant’s Causeway, Whiskey and many other things. Since Game of Thrones, the country has become even more popular and tourism has risen.
On your adventures you will see many tour buses like the ‘Paddy Wagons’ on route to, or at, places like the Dark Hedges and the Giant’s Causeway. If you wish to get photos without big crowds, especially photos of the Dark Hedges then head there as early as you can otherwise it’s nearly impossible!
What’s the best way to get around?
I suggest renting a car to see Northern Ireland, there isn’t much in the way of public transport getting to these places. There are tour companies that offer day trips to the Giant’s Causeway, Dark Hedges and the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.
What’s the best time to go?
You can never predict the weather in Northern Ireland, it rains between 151 to 255 days a year (depending on which region you are visiting) so make sure you bring an umbrella no matter the time of the year. June to August will be the warmest months to visit.
Day trip itinerary
The first stop on the itinerary the Dark Hedges which is a canopy of intertwined beech trees, these were planted in the 18th-century. The Dark Hedges were made popular by Game of Thrones during series two of the show.
The next stop is the Giant’s Causeway. It’s been on my list for a while but for whatever reason, I never made it there until my third trip to Belfast. The Giant’s Causeway has a myth about two giants, Fin the Irish giant and Benandonner the Scottish giant. Benandonner was threatening Ireland and in retaliation, Fin grabbed Antrim coast rock and threw it into the ocean creating a rock path to form the causeway. Or in scientific terms, it’s the result of an ancient volcanic eruption.
There are two ways you can walk the Giant’s Causeway, the lower blue trail and the upper red trail. I prefer the red trail walk around the top and then down the stairs. It takes about an hour to an hour and a half to walk around the whole site.
After a tiring climb of the Causeway, head to Bushmills pub for lunch and a drink. It has a warmly feel, with roaring fires and traditional Irish food plus the best Irish coffee.
Once you’re rested and energized head to the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.
Last stop of the day is Murlough Bay, it is known for its outstanding beauty and remote location. During a clear day you can see some islands and Scotland. Not only having views, you also may come across some ruins which date back to a time when coal was mined and shipped from the bay, the last coal left here in the 1850s.
For more information about Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge visit the hyperlinks below.
Did you go? What were your favourite places in Northern Ireland to visit? Let me know in the comments below!