Northern Ireland? Why Not?
If you live in the UK then other parts of the UK might not seem like the most exciting travel destinations on the planet. After all, they speak the same language and eat the same sort of food there, while even the telly is going to be familiar to you. However, if you travel to Northern Ireland you will find that discovering other parts of the UK is worthwhile after all.
Arrival in Belfast
Whether you travel by plane or by ferry, you will most likely arrive to the city of Belfast. This is a fascinating place with a rich and sometimes troubled history. It is famous for its legacy of shipbuilding and linen production and even today feels like more of an industrial town than most other cities across the country. It is safe to say that it isn’t the prettiest place you will ever be, but it is interesting in a low key, welcoming kind of way. City Hall, the Harland and Wolff Shipyard, the Crown Liquor Saloon and the city’s parks and gardens are all worth spending some time investigating. Belfast has a low feel, gentle feel to it which will help you slow down and get into the mood for exploring the countryside. This is the best place to make your base and to travel out from, with the Northern Irish train system offering a good way to get around the country from here.
The Giant’s Causeway
One attraction which you can’t afford to miss while you are in Northern Ireland is the Giant’s Causeway. Even if you have heard about it and seen pictures of it, standing on it is still a very special feeling. These is a naturally occurring phenomenon which appears just like a rugged path heading out into the sea on its way across to Scotland. The fact that there is a similar type of path in the nearby Scottish island of Staffa makes it easy to believe the legends about the giant called Finn MacCool who crossed the sea on this causeway. The Giant’s Causeway is one of the strongest reasons for travelling out to this part of the coast but there are plenty of other wonderful sights along here to enjoy as well.
It almost seems like a cliché to say that the Irish people are friendly and welcoming, but that doesn’t stop it from being true. The genuine warmth you will find in pubs, restaurants and everywhere else you go in Northern Ireland is sure to be one of the parts of the trip you most remember. The rugged Belfast accent might make it seem as though the locals are tough and unapproachable in the capital but all you need to do is spend some time with some of them and you will find that this isn’t the case at all. In fact, if more of us travelled around the UK we would realise that it is a country with fantastic people all over it and lots of reasons to keep on seeing more of it.
Photo by draket on Flickr