Northern Ireland Attractions – The Best Places to Visit

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Northern Ireland Attractions

Northern Ireland is little known as a tourist destination. Yet those who visit discover that it is packed with places of interest. The rich and often turbulent history means that no matter where you are, chances are that something important has happened in the area and historic buildings and landmarks are not far away.

Beyond that, Northern Ireland is a country of outstanding natural beauty. Rolling green hills meet lush valleys; the mighty Atlantic ocean lashes against rocky coasts creating incredible designs; charming villages give an aura of mystique and friendly people help you feel at home.

Here we will give you a list of some of the more important ones. The list is by no means complete but we will keep adding to it to ensure that whether you visit in person, or whether you daydream about visiting from the comfort of your armchair at home, your experience will be informed and as complete as possible.

Northern Ireland Attractions – National Parks and Places of Natural Beauty

Antrim Coast – Northern Ireland’s most scenic drive. MUST DO!

Carnfunnock Country Park – pleasant surroundings, plenty of family activities.

Giants CausewayNorthern Ireland’s foremost attraction. MUST DO!

Glenariff Forest Park – excellent for hiking and with splendid views over the Antrim Coast.

Gosford Forest Park. The relatively modern but medieval looking castle is quite a sight.

Island Magee – serene countryside and dramatic coastline.

Kilbroney Forest Park – excellent for a pleasant hike and offers beautiful views of Carlingford Lough.

Lacada Point – dramatic coastline and scene of the Girona disaster.

Marble Arch Caves – spectacular caves, MUST DO!

Oxford Island – by Lough Neagh, a place to spend a warm weekend afternoon.

Rathlin Island – if Northern Ireland is a well kept secret to the world, Rathlin Island is Northern Ireland’s well kept secret.

Scrabo Tower and Country Park – another of N. Ireland’s many beautiful country parks. Scrabo Tower is the place to see if you are there.

Silent Valley Country Park. Beautiful country park. Make sure you hike or take the bus to the water dam at Ben Crom.

Tollymore Forest Park – one of N. Ireland’s most popular country parks with excellent trails for walking.

Northern Ireland Attractions – Mountains

Cave Hill – the view over Belfast makes a hike worthwhile.

Mourne Mountains – N. Ireland’s best known and most popular mountain. Not for the faint hearted (or legged) but not Mount Everest either.

Mountains of Mourne Song – a song inspired by the Mourne Mountains.

Slieve Donard – Northern Ireland’s tallest Mountain and a fascinating climb.

Tips for climbing Slieve Donard – If you want to climb Slieve Donard, these tips will be very useful.

Slemish Mountain – a fine choice if you enjoy hiking. St. Patrick’s abode for many years.

Slieve Croob – the views are worth the hike. Some say that on a clear day you can see all the way to Donegal, on the other side of the island.

Slieve Gullion – country park meets ancient legends.

Hiking Check List – read this before you hike!

Northern Ireland Attractions – Museums

Armagh Planetarium – child friendly and very informative museum about the universe.

Navan Centre – a small museum/exhibition that takes you into the world of the early Celts.

Transport Museum – a fascinating collection of different kinds of vehicles, excellently maintained and presented. Visit together with the Ulster Folk Museum.

Ulster American Folk Park – an (mostly) open air museum about Irish immigration to America and early life there. An excellent day out!

Ulster Folk Museum – life in early modern N. Ireland. Many fascinating exhibits. Visit with the Transport Museum.

Ulster Museum – an excellent and very informative history/archaeology museum, renovated in 2009!

Northern Ireland Attractions – Medieval Monasteries and Churches

Devenish Island – If you are in Enniskillen make sure you visit this gorgeous lake island and early monastic site.

Layde Church (the Hidden Church) – this amazing church has a truly interesting history.

Nendrum – ancient monastic site by Strangford Lough.

St. Gobbans – N. Ireland’s smallest church?

Other Attractions

The Argory – a Splendid Stately Home.

Ballycopeland Mill – N. Ireland’s best preserved old mill.

Belfast Zoo – a good choice for a day out if you have small children.

Bellek – Ireland’s finest china pottery.

Binders Cove – ancient hiding place, recently opened to the public.

Brontë Homeland – if you are into literature, make sure you visit this home place of the Brontë family.

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge – a rope bridge that connects the mainland to sheep island.

Castle Espie – a well organized bird sanctuary.

Causeway Train – after a visit to Giant’s causeway, take some time to relax with this scenic steam train ride.

Legananny Dolmen – one of N. Ireland’s best known dolmens (ancient burial place).

Navan Fort – visit together with Navan Centre.

If you are wondering how to combine all these our Tours page may give you some ideas.

And last but not necessarily least, you may want to read about the famous hero pigeon of the beautiful little village of Carnlough. The Carnlough Pigeon story. By reading it you may decide to stop and visit this place.

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About the author

Originally from Scotland, Colin now resides near the beautiful seaside town of Portstewart on the Causeway Coastal Route. By day he works in IT and by day off he spends much of his time travelling around the Island with his young family, writing about his experiences for many sites both locally and nationally.