1. Go back in time with a visit to the moving Titanic Museum.
Stunning architecture, and a museum which houses the world’s largest display of Titanic memorabilia.
2. Walk in the footsteps of TV stars from Game of Thrones on the Game of Thrones tour!
3. Discover one of the best beaches in the world. Murlough’s wide, flat 6km long sandy beach is a 50 min drive from the city.
It’s backed by an ancient sand dune system and is an excellent area for walking and bird watching due to its spectacular location at the edge of the Mourne Mountains.
4. Get cosy in the Crown Liquor Saloon. Don’t miss this Victorian pub in Great Victoria Street.
It was once a Victorian Gin palace but today offers great beer and pub food. It also has stunning stained glass windows, wooden booths and a great atmosphere. A historic gem.
5. See a show at the Waterfront Hall Conference and Concert Centre.
The impressive, circular building, nestling on the water front was built in 1997 and has been a Belfast favourite ever since.
See the opera La Traviata there in April, or groove with 80’s band Hot Chocolate, plus The Three Degrees in May.
6. Tuck into soda bread. It’s an Irish speciality.
TV celebrity chef Paul Rankin helped make it popular, and you can buy it everywhere in Belfast.
7. Walk the Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim.
The amazing hexagonal-shaped columns of rock were formed from a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago and it’s the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland.
Four stunning trails to walk and an easy drive from Belfast. Park at Bushmills village and, from now until October, use the ‘park and ride’ service.
8. Go whiskey-tasting at The Old Bushmills Distillery, on the coast road, not far from the Giant’s Causeway.
It’s been lovingly made here since 1608 and you’ll find it on Distillery Road.
9. Chill out and find a great buy at the Sunday craft and vintage stall at St George’s Market, Belfast.
10. Stay and play with a golf break at Hilton Belfast Templepatick Golf & Country Club.
It’s home to one of the finest parkland courses in Ireland and the Ulster PGA Championship has been hosted here six times.
It’s an ideal base to discover why Northern Ireland is the home of golfing champions.
The only Irish attraction to make Conde Naste Travel Magazine’s “20 Most Beautiful UNESCO Word Heritage Sites” was County Antrims’s Giant’s Causeway. The 40,000 basalt stone columns that stretch into the sea towards Scotland were formed, geologists say, by volcanic lava. But Irish mythology says the strange formations were the work of the hero Finn McCool, who built the causeway as a path to cross the Irish Sea and do battle with a rival Scottish giant.
Whatever the derivation, the Giant’s Causeway is a scenic wonder that you can not only gawk at, but climb over and around as well. And that’s what hundreds of thousands of visitors do each year, after taking a short bus ride from the visitors’ center, operated by the National Trust. In addition to climbing on and among (weather permitting) the columns, there are hiking trails to the top of the impressive cliffs which tower over the causeway itself.
The visitors’ center also provides an informative and entertaining film, which outlines both of the conflicting accounts of the causeway’s beginnings. You can also purchase Irish handicrafts and souvenirs at reasonable prices (the causeway is no tourist trap), and get information on other attractions along the ruggedly beautiful coast of County Antrim.
Other nearby sites worth visiting include:
Imposing ruins, dating from the 16th century, dramatically situated on a cliff overlooking the Irish Sea.
The Glens of Antrim
Take a breathtaking ride along the coast, detouring into the nine glens, where you’ll find lovely hidden coves, time-warped fishing villages, forests, waterfalls, and even the mountain where St. Patrick is reputed to have tended sheep while in slavery.
Here, you can walk, if you dare, across a rope bridge that spans an 80-foot chasm.
The Old Bushmills Distillery
Recover from the rope bridge experience at Bushmills Distillery with a taste of Irish malt whiskey, after touring the world’s oldest licensed whiskey distillery.
The historic village of Bushmills is literally minutes away from the Giant’s Causeway. A great place to stay is the Bushmills Inn, which provides one of the warmest welcomes you’ll find in an island famous for hospitality. Having a Bushmills double malt before a turf fire in one of the inn’s cozy sitting rooms is only topped by the superb dining in the inn’s acclaimed restaurant, where you can feast on Irish smoked salmon or succulent New Zealand lamb.
The Giant’s Causeway and Bushmills are about a four-hour drive from Dublin, mostly on modern highways. If you decide to say in Belfast and tour one of Europe’s emerging “hot” cities, try the Fitzwilliam International Belfast, a boutique hotel adjacent to the Opera House. While Belfast was for years considered “off limits” due to the sectarian troubles, with the current peace initiative, it’s actually one of the safest places in Europe these days.
Giant’s Causeway in Ireland establishes itself on the global tourism list for travelers
For twelve consecutive years, the Skal International “Sustainable Development in Tourism” Awards have been presented during the Opening Ceremony of its annual World Congress. Skal recently closed its 74th World Congress aboard the Carnival Glory, the first time this yearly event took place on a cruise ship. This year, the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland won an award in the category of Major Tourist Attractions.
For centuries, people have flocked to the world famous Giant’s Causeway on the north coast of Northern Ireland. It is a geological wonder which has now become firmly established on the global tour list for travelers. With over 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, it is the result of intense volcanic and geological activity and forms a dramatic landscape filled with myths and legends.
After the previous visitor centre was destroyed by fire a new world class visitor centre was needed for Northern Ireland’s only World Heritage Site. An international design competition was won by renowned architects, Heneghan Peng and Event was commissioned to design the displays and interpretation for the site.
The new Visitor Centre is an essential gateway to the wider World Heritage Site. It explains how the Giant’s Causeway was formed and highlights the essential conservation work of the National Trust. Visitors gain a deeper insight into the myths and legends of bygone days and discover the stories of the people who live in and around the Causeway today. There is also the chance to connect with and learn more about the local people for whom the Causeway Coast provides an important livelihood.
The Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre opened to the public July 3, 2012 and since then, has gone from strength to strength – welcoming more than 780,000 visitors in its first year of operation.
The new centre has picked up a host of awards after a successful first year including:
• Five Star Visitor Attraction Rating from the Northern Ireland Tourist Board
• Sustainable Project of the Year 2012 by Sustainable Ireland
• Go Awards 2012 Visitor Attraction of the Year
• NI Travel and Tourism Awards – Best NI Visitor Attraction 2012
• NITB NI Tourism Awards – Visitor Inspired Award 2012
• Sandford Education Award 2012
It has also been shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize for the UK’s best new building.
For more information, go to http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/giantscauseway