Northern Ireland encompasses the six counties of Antrim, Londonderry / Derry, Tyrone, Fermanagh, Armagh and Down covering an area of 13,843 sq km. It has the largest fresh water lake in Ireland and the UK called Lough Neagh. Within the isle of Ireland, N. Ireland falls within the province of Ulster although it is part of the United Kingdom. Other counties of Ulster are Monaghan, Donegal and Cavan that are part of the Republic of Ireland. You may sometimes hear N. Ireland being refered to as Ulster.
The capital city of N. Ireland is Belfast where the ill-fated cruise liner Titanic was built. A new world-class facility known as "Titanic Belfast" has recently opened. This new 6 floor interactive facility recreates the Titanic experience and details its history from inception right through to the discovery of its resting place on the Atlantic Ocean's floor. Belfast is emerging as a vibrant city with a great nightlife to be experienced and a rich history.
The next largest city is Londonderry also known as Derry. In 2013, Derry will become the UK City of Culture and will host the All-Ireland traditional music festival known as "Fleadh Cheoil". Get ready to kick your heels up for a "hooley"!
Outside the two main cities are the towns, villages and hamlets all with their own characteristics, quirks, festivals and their own stories to tell.
Within the rural countryside, there is an abundant supply of clean fresh air, different shades of green fields, peacefulness and the occasional sound of a sheep, tractor or cow. Small quiet roads are inviting to stroll or cycle down. Get off the "beaten track" and go where few other visitors has experienced or gone before. Relax, rewind and take some time out from your busy lifestyle.
So, from the cities, towns, villages and countryside, you can have the best of both worlds to explore and investigate, all within easy travelling distance.
N. Ireland's recent history has not received good publicity with the conflict known as the "Troubles" taking place between 1969 and 1995. We now enjoy relative peace and security. We are proud to be an example to the rest of the world how conflict can be resolved and reconciliation achieved for a shared future between two different traditions.
It is now " Our Time, Our Place " to show what Northern Ireland has to offer.
There is a further wealth of history that you can delve into. Learn about the ships of the Spanish Armada that got shipwrecked off the north coast. Sample a past way of life by visiting our museums. There are large estates with their grand houses and gardens once owned by powerful landlords. Visit our castles and forts once strongholds of mighty kings and chiefs. There are monasteries both modern and old with round towers once raided and pillaged by foreign invaders. We have our myths and legends like the famous giant, Finn McCool. Discover our religious past through St Patrick. Did St Patrick really drive all the snakes out of Ireland? Through genealogy find lost relations or trace your family tree; you may get a surprise on what you might find.
There are pubs, clubs, cafes, food takeaways, coffee shops and restaurants catering to all tastes. An opportunity to party, celebrate and meet the locals. At bedtime and once fast asleep, your wee legs will still be dancing in the bed! There is a plentiful supply of retail shops of all descriptions including markets, perhaps there is something you are already after? We have our own traditional wares for you to sample.
Broadly speaking, there are two different cultures that exist in N. Ireland, these are the unionist and nationalist traditions. You can explore and experience both these traditions through music, dance, song, language and history. We do share some traditions like our hearty breakfast, "The Ulster Fry". Visit our theatres, festivals and fairs. We have also our fair share of writers, poets, actors, singers and composers; come see what inspired them.
All types of sports are played in N. Ireland. The main sports include: rugby, gaelic, soccer, hurling, hockey, camogie, bowls, cricket, golf, motor rallying and motor cycle racing. If you have never heard of or seen some of these sports played come and try them out yourself or go and see them played. We have also a substantial coastline, loughs and rivers where marine and water sports are practised.
We have some famous golf players too! Play the courses they played on. The 2012 Irish Open was hosted at Royal Portrush Golf course and won by a Welshman (that's ok).
N. Ireland has a large skilled workforce both trade based and professional. There are two main universities; Queens University and the University of Ulster. Our health service known as "The National Health Service" or "NHS" is one of the best in the world.
In summation, N. Ireland may be a small place but it is densely packed with so much to see, do, experience and explore from popular attractions and city living to the quiet countryside. We would be honoured if you would come and experience what N. Ireland has to offer.
Want to learn and explore more about Northern Ireland? Go to Getting Started or Contact Us