© Walkers' Home Swap, 2014

N. Ireland

Titanic Quarter (2rs) – visit the excellent titanic quarter which tells the story of the famous liner the Titanic. www.the-titanic.com/Titanic-Today/Attractions/Titanic-Belfast.aspx

Ulster American Folk Park (30 mins)- tells the story of the emigrants who left Ireland for the New World in the 18th and 19th Centuries. There are more than 24 original buildings with demonstrations of traditional crafts featuring spinning and a blacksmith. The sailing ship ‘The Brig Union’ demonstrates the dreadful conditions on board the journey. www.folkpark.com

people clambering over the causeway Giant’s Causeway (2 hrs) – this mass of basalt columns is well worth a visit but go there to find out more about the myth and stories surrounding its creation and the influence of Finn McCool, the legendary Irish giant. Either take the bus or the fine circular walk to the Causeway to see some of the 40,000 hexagonal columns, stroll past amphitheatres of stone columns and formations with intriguing names such as the honeycomb, wishing well, giant’s boot, Giant’s cranny

Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge (2 hrs)- seven miles east of the Giant’s Causeway, this bridge spans a 60ft chasm. Walk along the rope bridge 80 ft above the sea. Although no-one has ever been injured falling off the old bridge, there have been many instances of visitors being unable to face the return walk back across the bridge, resulting in them being taken off the island by boat! Underneath large caves once served as home to boat builders and a safe resting place from winter storms.

Bushmills Distillery (2 hrs)- the world’s oldest distillery was established in 1608. Take a tour of the malt houses and finish with a drop of the wee stuff. www.bushmills.com/en-row/home/Bushmills_home

Ballintoy Harbour – a lovely harbour set on the north coast. Included in a visit to Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-rede.

White Park Bay – lovely place for a picnic or just stop and enjoy the views along the north coast.

Rathlin Island – six miles long and one mile wide, situated 6 miles off the North Coast. Is home to a RSPB seabird centre. Ferry sails from Ballycastle and is well worth a visit.

Belfast (2 hrs)- the city has been wonderfully regenerated and is the proud home to half a million people (one third of Northern Ireland’s population). The city hall, built in 1803, dominates the city. Other places to visit include Queen’s University, Zoo, castle, Dixon Park, Ulster Museum, Opera House, Waterfront Hall, Linen Hall Library, Botanic garden, Cave hill and the new entertainment venue the Odyssey.

Londonderry (1 hr)- set on a hill on the banks of the Foyle estuary, this city has a long and varied history. Why not take a tour along the 17th century walls (one mile round and 18 ft thick) to get a feel for the history of the city.

Mourne Mountains (1.5 hrs) – the popular song “where the mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea” helped make the Mournes the best known mountains in Ireland. They lie tucked away in the south east corner of Northern Ireland and prove a popular tourist attraction. The mountains consist of 12 peaks rising over 2,000 ft. The Isle of Man can be seen from the top of Slieve Donard (2,796 ft).

The Ulster Way – At 1073 kilometres, the Ulster Way is the longest waymarked trail in Britain and Ireland. When broken into sections, it also offers a wealth of shorter walks which will appeal to people who want to explore the beauty and history of Northern Ireland over the course of a day or weekend.

Glens of Antrim (2 hrs) – the venue for the Oul’ Lamas Fair, 2 action packed days in August. The area abounds in coastal villages including the National Trust village of Cushendun. Visit Glenariff Forest Park or one of the other many attractions but look out for the “wee folk” – these fairies are mischievous but will take revenge on anyone foolish enough to cut down a hawthorn tree.

Golf – there are numerous golf courses nearby. Look at this link for details of golf www.geographia.com/northern-ireland/ukigolf1.htm

Todd’s Leap Activity Centre (50 mins) – includes archery, paintball, climbing wall, JCB challenge, off road. www.toddsleap.com

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