Wanderlust Wednesday: Discover Northern Ireland

Wanderlust Wednesday is a series on the blog where we discuss travel blunders, tips and my insatiable wanderlust. So pack your bags and get ready to discover Northern Ireland.
Discover Ireland, Wanderlust

Wanderlust Wednesday: Ireland

Crossing from the Republic of Ireland into Northern Ireland you immediately pick up on two differences: the street signs are in miles (making it much easier for us Americans) and the roads are much better maintained. You are now in the UK (though not everybody is happy about that).

Northern Ireland has a rich and controversial history marked by strife and political warfare, which is still very much present in their streets and many of their hearts. In contrast to the political turmoil, the scenery is lush and awe inspiring making for a breathtaking adventure you are sure to remember.

Here are my top picks for discovering Northern Ireland:

Discover Northern Ireland, Giant's Causeway

photo credit: Christolakis via photopin cc

Discover Northern Ireland, Giant's Causeway

Discover Northern Ireland, Giant's Causeway

Giant’s Causeway

Giants Causeway, with its hexagonal shaped rocks, has been the source of beauty and wonder for many centuries. There are many versions of the legend, but basically it was believed that a giant by the name of Finn MacCool built the causeway connecting Ireland to Scotland. The beauty of the coastline is undeniable. So take a stroll along the rocks and daydream about the giants who built it.

Discover Northern Ireland, Carrick A Rede Rope Bridge

Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge

Visitors come from all over to take the Carrick-a-Rede bridge challenge! The rope bridge, which was originally erected by salmon fisherman, traverses a 30 meter deep and 20 meter wide chasm connecting the mainland to Carrick-a-Rede Island. While I thought the bridge would be a bit more exciting (I have a high thrill standard), the views from the island are incredible. Completing this challenge is a must, especially for the bragging rights!

Discover Northern Ireland , Bushmills Distillery

photo credit: CavinB via photopin cc

Bushmills Distillery

Bushmills Irish Whiskey is made at the oldest working distillery in Ireland. Not only does this brand boast five award-winning whiskeys, but it is the only distillery to make triple-distilled malt whiskey. And now you can learn all about how to make their award winning whiskeys in a tour of the distillery. Plus, afterwards you can purchase an exclusive Bushmills 12 Year Old Reserve Single Malt whiskey that is reserved for visitors (a true sign that they know how to do hospitality right).

Londonderry Walls

Derry Walls

Murals of Derry

Londonderry is a city filled with a history of struggle and strife. Even the name is a point of contention, with many preferring to call it Derry. Visitors can catch a glimpse of this troubled past through twelve large murals erected in the Bogside area of town by the Bogside artists. The murals, known as The People’s Gallery, chronicle the harsh struggles of a town and people who fought for justice and their own human rights. They are powerful and full of emotion. During the Summer months, the artists offer tours of the murals allowing visitors the opportunity to chat with them and ask plenty of questions. You can book easily via their website.

Things to do in Belfast, Belfast City Hall

Belfast City Hall, Things to do in Belfast

Belfast

Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, is a city rich with history, culture, adventure and shopping. Some of the better known attractions include the Belfast Zoo, St Anne’s Cathedral, and the titanic quarter, birthplace of the one and only Titanic. For those of you looking for a little more wonder, check out Ireland’s version of the Willy Wonka factory, Aunt Sandra’s Candy Factory, or take a literary tour to discover just how this city inspired the Chronicles of Narnia and Gulliver’s Travels.

Discover Northern Ireland, Irish pubs Guinness

Discover Northern Ireland, Guinness in Irish pubs

Pubs

Last, but not least, Irish pubs. No visit to Ireland would be complete without a trip or two or three to an Irish pub. A trick one of the locals taught me was to find the pub with the old Irish men sitting at the bar drinking a pint of Guinness. Those are going to be the locals favorite places to grab a drink; this will allow you to avoid all the touristy spots in search of a true Irish drinking experience. Mine came along with some live music and a sweet, little, old Irish man who professed his love for me. When in Ireland, people!

Have you visited Northern Ireland? What places were your favorite?

  • This is so cool! My boyfriend is actually planning a trip to Ireland this winter/spring with one of his sisters, so I’ll have to send him your recommendations. I would have to make Bushmills one of the first stops on my list, though my real dream is to visit single malt distilleries in Scotland.

    • That’s awesome! Ireland is amazing and I’m sure he’ll love it. What part of Ireland are they planning on visiting? But I must say Scotland is equally amazing! The distilleries are very cool and have some very delicious souvenirs and samples. You should also check out one of their Whisky festivals. I haven’t been to a festival, but they’re supposed to have some pretty fun activities and tastings.

      • In typical him fashion, none of this trip has yet been planned other than the fact that it might be happening–so I’m not sure where in Ireland they’ll be going! We are pretty different travelers…if it were me, I would have a printed itinerary ready to go. 😉

        • Hah! I know what you mean. I like to plan ahead, while my boyfriend is pretty much a “let’s swing it” kind of person.

  • Ireland is lovely, but sooooooo expensive compared to semi-comparable locations (i.e., Scotland). And I don’t really know why.

  • I’ve always wanted to go to Ireland and your gorgeous pictures have just proven to me exactly why I must get there very soon! My fiancé has some Irish ancestry so I know we’d both love to make a trip there one day!

    • Ireland is a beautiful country and I hope that you get to visit someday! 😀

  • I have visited Northern Ireland and absolutely adored it. I think Giant’s Causeway is one of my favourite places in the world. We went on a really windy day so there wasn’t many tourists around. I also think Belfast is a great city. Easy to get around and the people are friendly. I did a black cab tour there, which I learned a lot from

  • Northern Irealand looks so amazing. We have not gotten over there yet and I am so excited to get to see in person all the pretty places you documented. Thank you for linking up for Travel Tuesday!

    • I hope you get to see it for yourself soon! It’s such a beautiful place to visit. 🙂