Northern Ireland

Old Dec 18th, 2000, 07:50 PM
Katherine Mistilis
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Northern Ireland

There isn't much information on the North of Ireland on your Travel Talk. I am going the last of March and would like information on where to go and B&B's to stay in as well as hotels. We will have about a week and want to see as much as possible.
Old Dec 19th, 2000, 08:49 AM
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If you do a search Northern Ireland
and Belfast you'll find many posts and lots of info.

As for recommendations on accommodations, food, sights, you need to narrow down your needs/wants, like budget, how many traveling (and how), and what you like to do on a trip.

Are you going to the Six Counties for business? If not, what drew you to that area for a vacation?
Old Dec 19th, 2000, 10:57 AM
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Don't miss the Glenariff Forest Park outside of Glenariff (aka Waterfoot) it's amazing. We stayed in Cushendall ( the next village north) at a lovely B&B called "The Meadows" Anne Carey is the owner, they one a national award for best B&B it's grand. The Giant's Causeway was ok, not as amazing as I thought but a nice trip. Have Fun!
Old Dec 19th, 2000, 12:16 PM
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The area around the lakes in the west is the only place I've been for any length of time. It was wonderful. Try Enniskillen
Old Dec 19th, 2000, 12:47 PM
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Try for Northern Ireland and for the Republi. Where exactly will you be ?

Old Dec 19th, 2000, 01:38 PM
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Ah-my favorite topic.

First of all, Elvira, people DO go to Northern Ireland just to enjoy the countryside and the people.

Anyway, do not miss the Mountains of Mourne. If you like to hike, drive to Newcastle. It's a touristy, tacky little town, but it's nestled at the foot of the Slieve Donard, and the views of it and the Irish sea are breathtaking. There's a parking lot off the main street where you can leave your car (don't leave anything in plain view however). The hike up the Slieve is pleasant, and not too taxing. It's more than a stroll, but it's not mountain climbing.

The Slieve Donard Hotel (you can't really miss it) is nice, but not cheap. Ask for directions to the Silent Valley, or just drive aimlessly through the mountains.

Another don't miss--the drive up the Antrim Coast. Start from Belfast (more on that later), and head north. Carrickfergus castle will be your first stop. Then just keep driving--there are a few towns here and there along the coast, but mainly just pit stops. Head for Giant's Causeway (it's very cool), and Carrick-a-Rede bridge. Actually, the bridge probably will still be closed in March. Keep heading around the coast and head for Bushmills. Take the distillery tour. I've heard there's a really good B&B or small hotel. I can't remember the name, but I do think Bushmills is in the title.

There's a small village on the Strangford Lough about 20-25 miles south of Belfast in County Down called Killyleagh. There's a privately owned castle there that may still rent rooms. If not, the pub across the street, the Dufferin, has nice rooms and suites/cottages to rent. The food's pretty good in the Dufferin, too. You can drink there (but watch out, as they like to overcharge Americans), or head to Smugglers for a more intimate setting.

Belfast is a fun, lively, small city. It has one of the most beautiful town halls in Europe (there are tours on during the day). Eat at Nick's Warehouse (ask for directions--you'll never find it on your own) for lunch, Cafe Vincent for dinner, the Rotterdam for live music on Friday nights (take a taxi). Stay at Jury's (cheaper and nicer than the Europa, and just down the street). See a show at the Opera House, if possible. Have a drink in the Crown. A bit touristy, but the pub is absolutely beautiful. Then head next door to Robinson's if you want a night of drinking. After that, head up to Bishop's for the best fish and chips in the UK.

One word of advice--while you're there, just refer to it as Northern Ireland. There are people who will take great offense to you calling it the North of Ireland. There are others who do call it that, but you won't know who you're talking to, and you're less likely to upset someone by calling it Northern Ireland. Also, many people refer to it as Ulster, but that's not really correct. Ulster is made up of 9 counties, and Northern Ireland is made of up 6.

On the subject of what to call things, I would definitely visit the city of Derry. It's the most Irish city in Northern Ireland. The British call is Londonderry (renamed by the British, ironically enough). Take the walking tour of the walls that encircle parts of the city. It's a sad town, but the history is fascinating, and there are some great pubs in the city centre where you can hear some traditional music.
Old Dec 28th, 2000, 05:11 PM
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Just to let you know that the new website for the NI Tourist Board is (they publicised that well, eh???)

And I would recommend finding Nendrum Monastic Site on the way to Killyleagh if the weather's good.
Old Dec 29th, 2000, 06:32 PM
Katherine Murphy Mistilis
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Thanks for the reply and advice. There will be 2 of us traveling and we want to see all 6 counties for pleasure and also to do a little research in genealogy. My family names are Murphy and Lewers-any help would be appreciated. We purchased the B&B vouchers and found out there aren't that many available. We are spending 2 nights in Belfast at Jury's and the last 2 nights at Castle Leslie and will be looking for B&B's inbetween. The web sites will be very helpful. Thanks, Katherine
Old Dec 30th, 2000, 03:17 PM
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With two of you, do rent a car. The countryside is gorgeous, the seacoast, breathtaking. I contacted the NI tourist bureau for information, and I received huge envelopes full of information, including a book of B&Bs throughout the country. Every one at which we stayed was different, and terrific. And wait til you try the breakfasts...
This site may help for the family research:
Outside Belfast is the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum - the outdoor folk museum has typical houses from the area, with peat fires burning, and someone to describe what life was like. We stayed at the Mountain View in Cushendall(Mrs O'Neill 012667 71246). Do stop at the visitor's center at Glenariff - there are two trails, and we took the LOOONG one because we didn't get info first. It was fantastic, but took a lot longer than we'd planned. Nearby is Tieveragh Hill, where Ossian is buried, and is the home of the little people. Swing out to Murlough Bay - indescribable. We stayed at Mountview House (Mr and Mrs Getty, 012657 51402) in Armoy, and ate at Wysner's Restaurant (recommended by our cab driver) in Ballycastle - excellent food. If the ferry is running, you can go to Rathlin Island, a bird sanctuary and where Marconi completed his first practical radio transmission between the island and Ballycastle.
The Bushmills Distillery is a must-do; we went to the Bushmills Inn in Bushmills for dinner - one of the best and finest meals I've ever had. It has accommodations (it's probably the one Annie mentioned) that we checked out - do stay there (bit pricey compared to B&Bs, but so beautiful 012657 32339 fax 012657 32048). Of course, the Giant's Causeway (the story about it and Finn McCool is great) and the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge (do NOT do it if you are afraid of heights - one of our party didn't even attempt it, the other two I barely got back across). Explore Dunluce Castle - its history is huge, what with the MacDonnells, the Spanish Armada, and the kitchen falling into the sea. The Belleek factory has a tour, and the museum has some incredible stuff; the shop will make your heart hurt 'cause you can't buy everything. There are also glass factories, which we missed.

Annie, no slight was intended. It's hard to offer suggestions when I don't know interests - we went to Northern Ireland for the scenery and history, with no interest in hiking or genealogy or art museums, etc. If she were there on business, her time might be limited and so would the recommendations. I have touted the glories of Northern Ireland to many (it's not someplace most Americans even think about when visiting the British Isles; they think Scotland, the Republic, England. Sadly, mostly we know about the Troubles and nothing else).
Old Dec 30th, 2000, 05:22 PM
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I agree with all the above. Definately drive up the Antrim coast. Visit Giant's Causeway. Also vist the Ulster Folk Museum outside Belfast...well worth it.
Also stop to see Dunluce Castle on the coast.
Hope you have a great time.

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