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Northern Ireland day trips to the Republic of Ireland

Northern Ireland Day trips across the border? Oh, yes, why not!

You cannot contain beauty in geographical borders. We lived and loved Northern Ireland but that didn’t stop us to take day trips across the border.

We wanted to see as much of the island as it was possible. Here are some of the trips we took across the border,days that our family has enjoyed immensely.

Carlingford was voted as Ireland’s Destination of Excellence for 2008.

From Newry to Carlingford it is only 11 miles (19 km); from Belfast a mere 36 (57 km). The road from Newry onwards follows the coast and the drive is very scenic.

Carlingford is nestled between Slieve Foy and the sea, so ensure you take this tour on a reasonable day so that you can enjoy the stunning landscape and views.

Newgrange, is the Republic’s foremost archeological attraction.

If it is winter,then chances are you will not be able to fit in much more as Newgrange itself requires a minimum of two hours. Don’t forget that it will be dark around 4pm.

During the longer and more pleasant summer days you can combine a visit to Newgrange with quick stops at Mellifont Abbey, Ireland’s oldest Cistercian Abby, Monasterboice, an ancient monastery with some magnificent Celtic crosses, the site of the Battle of the Boyne next to the Boyne river, and an evening rest and pic nic on the serene grounds of Ardgillan Castle.

This is a day trip you can take if you are based near Belfast, Banbridge or Armagh, in the south-east part of Northern Ireland.

Donegal

The third itinerary begins from the west part of Northern Ireland.

Start your trip preferably from Enniskillen in County Fermanagh, though Londonderry will do as well.

It takes in parts of Donegal and the amazing Slieve League. This is the longest tour at roughly 150 miles (240 km) and the roads are not built for quick travel so ensure you leave as early in the morning as you can and expect a late evening return.

Stay tuned, more itineraries to come…

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Northern Ireland Bed and Breakfast

Our Northern Ireland Bed and Breakfast page will introduce to this very British way of travel. Bed and breakfasts are a very popular type of accommodation in the UK and Ireland. In contrast to other forms of accommodation, in a bed and breakfast accommodation the visitor stays in the home of a family and also receives a hearty breakfast. Sometimes the guest room is attached to a home but more often it is part of it.

The advantage is that the visitor gets a better chance to interact with the host and learn about the local area, places of interest, local history details you may not find in guide books. The meals are also home cooked giving a more homely introduction to Northern Irish cuisine. While breakfasts are fairly standard, Bed and Breakfasts may offer other meals for a small charge.

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Bed and Breakfast in N. Ireland (more to come soon!)

Cedar Haven, 19 Tierny Road Donaghmore Newry Co. Down BT34 1RX (Tel. 028 4065 1633)

Clanmurry, 16 Lower Quilly Road Dromore Co. Down BT25 1NL (Tel. 028 9269 3760 )

Druminargle House, 29 Poyntzpass Road, Scarva, Co. Armagh BT63 6LE (Tel. 028 3831 8206)

Fresh Winds, 30 Ringsend Road Banbridge Co. Down BT32 3QQ (Tel. 028 4062 2943)

Hilltop Lodge, 44 Barrack Hill Banbridge Co. Down BT32 4HE (Tel. 028 4062 7240)

Mount Pleasant, 38 Banbridge Road Gilford Co. Armagh BT63 6DJ (Tel. 028 3883 1522)

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Northern Ireland Travel Secrets Blog

www.my-secret-northern-ireland.com is a labour of love. It is a site that grows by leaps and bounds.

When you subscribe to the Northern Ireland Secrets blog, you will never miss an update!

Follow me in my effort to showcase the beauty of Northern Ireland and the warmth and talent of its people.

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See you soon!

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Dunluce castle, Northern Ireland: Medieval castle ruins near the shipwrecks of the spanish armada Girona and the passenger liner Exmouth

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Hello, I would like to know how much time to allow to stop by Kinbane Castle, Northern Ireland and take the trail down and back (without lingering). I

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This girl in my history class has red hair and the teacher always looks at her when he says Irish.

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Hi, Just wanted to say I love your page. We will be moving back in a year or so. People can’t believe we want to move there but I constantly miss it.

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Hi,on Silent Valley, are dogs allowed on car park and dam? not hound of the Baskervilles, just a westie. Thanks

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Greetings, Irish soda bread sounds really good to me. Thanks, Brigid

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I’ve been wanting to go to N. Ireland for years and I think I’m gonna take the jump and do it next summer. Your website was so informative. Wanted

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Charming that is what I would call your website, my ancestors are from Ulster counties now in the Republic of Ireland. It would be nice to see a section

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Carrickfergus Castle famous history, meaning of the name and photos from our visit to this great gem of Northern Ireland

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So I went to Ireland for a week and spent most of my days in Belfast. One of the things I got to see was Cave Hill….it was AWESOME!!!! The hike was great

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Ancient Vikings – they came, they conquered, they impacted the history of Ireland. Read about their exploits and influece.

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Glenariff Forest Park – a splendind park in the heart of Antrim

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Carrickfergus Castle Weddings: How to book, whom to contact, what to keep in mind, description of venue, interview with local bride who was married in Carrickfergus Castle

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Belleek Pottery and Belleek Marks – facts you want to know about some of the worlds most famous china

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Translink Northern Ireland has an extensive network of buses and trains for safe and comfortable travel in Northern Ireland

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Northern Ireland Travel Attractions – Read about the best places to visit in this fascinating country!

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Drunk driving is prohibited and dealt with seriously by the law in Northern Ireland. If you are a tourist planning to drive in Northern Ireland. Take the following advice very seriously.

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Driving direction in UK – adjustments you have to make to driving on the left, UK Road system, Maps and navigation, Speed limits, how to negotiate roundabouts, and the latest on Seatbelt safety and dr

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Contact us with your suggestions, we would love to know what you think

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Giant’s Causeway by Katrina Muir, Glasgow

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Visiting Fermanagh County, where my grandfather was born & raised before emigrating to St. Croix in the Virgin Islands, we stayed at Dromard House B&B

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Thank you for your webpage of very good information and interesting stuff!! I am travelling to the Republic and Northern Ireland this year and have been

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Love your site, Esther. My husband, my son and I are planning on visiting No. Ireland in the summer. (We need to save money first!). My ancestors are

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Hi Esther I have just read your travel blog on Scarva Village and would just like to update you on the fact that the Tea Rooms are now under new management.

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Love your website. I live in Northern Ireland and had not heard of some of the places to visit – like Kinbane Castle! I read about the Gobbins Path on

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Dear Esther Are you still working with this website? I am so charmed at the (artful)way you have captured a spirit of NI, and its low-key attractions.

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Hey! Hope life is treating you well! While browsing for some travel related content, I came across your blog my-secret-northern-ireland.com

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Just discovered your great website while looking for photos of Carlingford. You cover so much information that’s really helpful. I was born in NI and love

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Northern Ireland Photos

When it comes to Northern Ireland photos, the photographer is overwhelmed by the land’s beauty;

So were we. Although not professional photographers, we present our photos with pride.

The serene and pleasant hills and meadows; the rugged coastline; the raging ocean waves crushing on the rocks;

the historic buildings and places; it is hard to encapsulate such images into words.

Let your eyes feast on the green and pleasant land we love so much!

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Landscape photos.

Unending green. Hills and valleys, parks and rocks, all blanketed in luscious green.

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Coastline photos.

Wild Beauty! The ruggedness of the coast and the rough, gray ocean posses as powerful and majestic. Here are some of them.

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Places of Interest photos.

The country has a rich past manifested in the many locales of historical interest. We have been to as many of these as having a young family have allowed us.

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Castle photos.

Castles are plentiful and often dramatically located perched on a high rock above the ocean.

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Conflict Murals.

Controversial as they might be, they are, nonetheless, an integral part of local history.

Do you have some beautiful photos from Northern Ireland that you would like to showcase to the world? Then submit them to us and we will be happy to post them.

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Northern Ireland Hotels

Northern Ireland hotels come in many shapes and forms. Some are part of well known international hotel chains, located usually in city centres and catering to business travelers and those who want something familiar.

Most, Northern Irish hotels however, are smaller family owned businesses, spread throughout the beautiful landscape of Norther Ireland. Some are located on stunning coastal areas, some on the green and sloping hills, some near main historical attractions. Apart from accommodation, most also offer fine dinning, a good introduction to Northern Irish cuisine.

Whatever your preferences accommodation wise we trust you will find what you are looking for.

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Northern Ireland Golf, famous courses prefered by the professionals

Northern Ireland Golf – famous courses

Northern Ireland is a golfer’s paradise. With over eighty links, meadow, parkland and seaside courses, two of which rank among the best in the world you are sure to have a thrilling golfing experience in Northern Ireland.

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Royal County Down Golf Club

The Royal County Down is one of Ireland’s oldest and arguably its most famous course. It was established in 1889 though there is evidence that locals were knocking balls well before.

Royal County has two 18-hole links, the Championship Course and the Annesley. The former was ranked 4th best in the world outside the US in 2005 by Golf Digest and 1st in 2007. At 7,000 yards length and in challenging terrain, the Championship Course can be intimidating. The Annesley is shorter (just under 5,000 yards) and less formidable and suitable for everyone.

Royal Portrush

The other famous Northern Ireland course is the Royal Portrush.

Situated on the Antrim Coast with view of Donegal to the west and the island of Islay to the north, it was formed in 1888 as the County Club. It became the Royal County Club in 1892 and took its present name in 1895 when the Prince of Wales was its patron.

Royal Portrush was the venue of the first professional Irish tournament in 1895 and the first ladies’ championship on the same year. It is the only golf club outside mainland Britain to host The Open (1951), the oldest of golf’s major tournaments. And it was the golf home of Fred Daly the only Northern Irishman to have won The Open (1947).

The Dunluce Link as the course called, is about 6500 yards long and par 70. It is considered especially challenging though also very scenic. The best performance record is held by Roy McIllroy with 61 strikes while it is said that Tiger Woods once shot an 81. Golf Digest has ranked Dunluce as the 3rd best course outside the US.

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Other Northern Ireland Golf Courses

Along the Antrim Coast there are other excellent links courses like Castlerock and Ballycastle making the Antrim coast one of the best places for links courses in the world.

When it comes to parkland courses experts recommend Belvoir Park, Foyle International Golf Centre, Royal Belfast and Malone.

Green Fees for Northern Ireland Golf

Green fees in Northern Ireland are not very high and sometimes discounts can be negotiated for groups.

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List of famous shipwrecks in Ireland

List of Famous Shipwrecks in Ireland

Sea lanes are dotted with famous and not so famous wrecks of ships that have sunk through the ages. The waters around Ireland have their fair share, perhaps more, due to at least three reasons.

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The Spanish Armada and English fleet in battle.Source: http://general-history.com/the-spanish-armada

Why are there so many Shipwrecks around Ireland?

  • First, the British have been a traditionally strong seafaring people and most of the routes from Britain to the rest of the world pass either to the north or the south of Ireland.
  • Second, the waters around the British isles have seen much fighting especially during the deadly two world wars.
  • Third, the weather has contributed its own share, more so in older times when sailing ships were more susceptible to the whims of nature.
    In these pages you can read about some of the more famous ones.
    • Some were warships. You can read, for example, about the Spanish galleass, Girona, or the famous and mighty Trinidad Valencera, both part of the great Spanish Armada that was defeated in the English Channel in 1588. Both ships survived the encounter with the English only to meet their end off the turbulent Irish coast.

    The Drake was a less dramatic but also noteworthy loss just outside Belfast Lough, in 1778.

    Another ship by the same name (HMS Drake) was sunk on Rathlin Island by the Germans in 1917, and still sits there, a favorite site for divers.

    And there is, of course, the SS Laurentic a merchant ship converted to a an armed merchant cruiser which sunk in 1915 after hitting two mines. Here is the list (more coming soon):

    The Galleass Girona

    The Trinidad Valencera

    HMS Drake

    SS Laurentic

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    The Lusitania. Source: http://www.greatships.net/lusitania.html

  • More of the losses, however, were merchant ships and passenger liners.
  • The more famous one was probably the passenger liner RMS Lusitania which was torpedoed and sunk with great loss of life, turning perhaps public opinion against Germany and helping the US to join World War I against Germany.

    A less know but very sad loss was that of the The Exmouth, which sunk a day after leaving Londonderry with a group of immigrants bound for the US, a large percentage being children. Here is a brief list with more coming soon:

    RMS Carpathia

    RMS Empress of Britain

    RMS Lusitania

    The Exmouth

  • A list of famous shipwrecks would not be complete with a reference to the Titanic. Though it sunk a long way away it was built in Belfast and its last stop before sailing into the Atlantic was in Queenstown Ireland, now known as Cobh. Since it is the world’s most famous civilian maritime disaster, we have dedicated more space to it.
  • Read some Quick Titanic Facts.

    Read the Story of the Titanic’s Construction

    The Titanic 1912 Sinking Part 1

    Titanic 1912 Sinking Part 2

    Titanic 1912 Sinking Part 3

    The Mystery Ship that could have saved more people

    Titanic 1912 Sinking: The Passengers

    The Survivors

    The Titanic Band that played music to the end.

    Discovering and exploring the Titanic wreck.

    This list of famous shipwrecks is by no means complete (and neither can it ever be). We will be adding pages and make this site a comprehensive guide to shipwrecks of the coasts of Ireland.If you fascinated by shipwrecks, do come back!

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    Northern Irish Cities – history in an urban context

    Cities. They can be exciting, big, polluted, stressful, crowded. Not the Northern Irish cities though. They seem to be quieter and more pleasant. Why is that? Primarily because cities in Ireland tend to be smaller. There are no real big cities in Northern Ireland. Belfast is the largest with about half a million people. By modern standards this is a fair sized city but by no means a large one. Even in Belfast you are never far from beautiful countryside or from a nice seaside walking area or park. The excellent road system of Belfast makes a drive through it a comfortable experience apart from the morning and evening rush hour.

    Beyond Belfast, Londonderry has about 100,000 and the rest of the cities and towns are substantially lower in population. Which means N. Ireland for the most part has a quieter, countryside, serene look about it, much more so that you would meet in the English Midlands or the industrial belt of, say, Germany.

    Nonetheless, Northern Ireland does have its important cities. They may not be large, but they are important. They are often packed with history and places of interest. So we will give you some information about the main cities in Northern Ireland and useful directories. The information will be valuable to you as you plan what to do and which places to visit.

    Just click on the link for each city to read more about it.

    Ballycastle

    Banbridge

    Larne

    Scarva Village

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    Northern Ireland Art Page – Meet the Future Celebrities!

    Northern Ireland Art and Artists

    There is something charming about the work of Northern Irish artists. Maybe it is the misty weather, the dramatic coastlines, the serene fields. Or maybe it is the the friendliness of the people that inspires. Or maybe it is just in the DNA of the Irish to be artistic. The Irish, after all, are well known for their musical and artistic talent. Whatever it is, without doubt this island has produced many artists of renown and Northern Ireland has had its fair share out of the total.

    Here we will not list all of them; there would be too many to list and it would require a website dedicated just to this. We will not even list a representative collection. There are other websites and pages dedicated to this topic who do a much more thorough job. What we would like to do is showcase a few young or little known artists and bring to you some of their inspired works. We will start with a few, but will add more so keep visiting this page for updates.

    Steven J. – painter.

    Revel P. – poet.

    Poems, Songs and Prayers

    In addition to artists we will feature some traditional poems, songs and prayers, including famous funny limericks. Enjoy.

    Irish Prayer for the Journey

    Funny Irish Poems (Limericks)

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    Dromore Mound

    Dromore Mound is Dromore’s most recognizable feature, the remains of Norman fortifications. It is also known as Dromore Motte and Bailey.

    Motte and Bailey Castles

    Motte and Bailey castles were a type of fortification or castle popular in the 11th and 12th centuries during Norman times. The name comes from the French word “motte” which means a “mound”. Motte and Bailey castles consisted of an earthen mound, sometimes natural, more often artificial. On top of the mound knights would build a defensive building or tower, initially made of wood but later constructed of stone. This was called the “keep” and formed the last line of defense. It also served as a lookout and as a vantage point from where archers could fire their arrows on approaching enemies. The keep also served as the living space for the local lord and his family.

    Beneath the mound on the flat ground there would be an enclosed courtyard which served as an area for the castle’s daily activities and as a first line of defense. In the courtyard the attendants of the lord of the castle would both live and work. Initially the courtyard was surrounded by a palisade, or wooden fence, but with time palisades were replaced with stone walls which provided much higher levels of protection.

    The Dromore Motte and Bailey

    The Dromore Motte and Bailey was constructed by sir John de Courcy, the famous Norman knight who also played a major part in the history of Carrickfergus Castle. In contrast to Carrickfergus though, the Dromore Motte and Bailey was constructed mainly of wood so little remains of the initial fortifications. However, it still makes for an imposing landmark.

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