Northern Ireland has a tumultuous past, but it is revitalising itself as a tourist destination.
Northern Ireland has historic sites dating back to the Stone Age – Fermanagh and Tyrone being especially rich in Stone Age archaeology – as well as countless fortified castles from the Norman period.
Carrickfergus Castle, the most formidable stronghold, was enlarged several times and saw many a battle and siege during the Norman invasions in the 12th century. Due to the constant invasion, many cities were fortified and Derry (Londonderry) is the only remaining walled city in Ireland. The city also houses Europe’s largest collection of cannons!
The Giant’s Causeway is Northern Ireland’s most famous natural wonder. A UNESCO world heritage site, The Giant’s Causeway is made up of polygonal columns of layered basalt – the result of a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago. Holidaymakers can also enjoy the scenery on a trip along the 80-mile Giant’s Causeway coastal walk, which begins in southeast Belfast and ends in the walled city in County Londonderry; featuring many parks, picturesque fishing villages and secluded beaches along the way.
Northern Ireland Essential Information:
Major cities: Derry, Armagh City and Lisburn
Places of interest: The Giants Causeway, Carrickfergus Castle and Portrush East Strand (blue flag beach)
Time Zone: GMT +0
Currency: pound sterling (GBP). For up-to-date exchange rates see: www.xe.com/ucc