Day 23 (Antrim and Down) – A cliff walk, a historic prison and more
Day 23 of our Ireland road trip sees us finish up on the Causeway Coast and move down into Belfast.
We’ve a handful of stops left on the coast before we dive into the best of what Belfast has to offer.
1 – The Gobbins Cliff Path Walk
// Your B&B to the Gobbins – 1 hour and 10-minute drive (arrive for 10:00) //
The drive that’ll take you to the Gobbins is one that you need to savour.
You’ll pass through picturesque little villages and drive alongside towering cliffs. Stop the car when you feel like it and explore at will.
We’re heading for an incredibly unique coastal experience – the Gobbins Cliff Path Walk.
Originally aimed at Edwardian ‘thrill-seekers’, the Gobbins Cliff Path allows you to experience one of Ireland’s most dramatic coastlines up close and personal.
The perfect spot to stretch the legs and get a lung full of that fresh coastal air.
2 – The Crumlin Road Gaol
// The Gobbins to the Gaol – 35-minute drive (arrive for 12:00) //
The Crumlin Road Gaol, the second prison that we’ll visit on this Ireland road trip, dates back to 1845.
It officially closed its doors as a working prison in 1996 and is now a popular tourist attraction.
Opt for the guided tour of the prison which is led by a qualified tour guide who’ll take you through the history of the gaol.
The story begins at a time when women and children were held within its walls, through to the political segregation of republican and loyalist prisoners and ultimately its closure.
This is well worth adding to your itinerary.
3 – Lunch
// The Gaol to the Ginger Bistro – 5-minute drive (arrive for 14:30) //
We’re going to fuel up for the afternoon and evening in the Ginger Bistro in Belfast.
Get in, get fed and chill for a little while.
We’ve a nice busy afternoon exploring Belfast ahead.
4 – A Black Cab Tour
// Finish up lunch around 15:30 and head off on a Black Cab tour (you need to book this in advance and arrange a location for collection) //
You can’t visit Belfast without taking a Black Cab tour.
The great thing about many of the operators that provide the Black Cab Tours is that you can choose exactly what you want to see.
For this trip, we’re going to recommend a tour of the political murals.
The murals on the Falls and Shankill roads tell a graphic story of a time known as “The Troubles”.
I haven’t done one of these tours in a long, long time but, going by the great reviews online, Paddy Campbell’s Belfast Famous Black Cab Tours are well worth going with.
Jump in the cab, get comfy, and let your guide take you through the city’s turbulent history.
5 – Food and Drinks
// When your cab tour finishes, head to wherever you’re staying and check-in //
If I was planning this trip now, for myself, I’d stay at the Holiday Inn as it’s reasonably cheap and it’s super central.
After you’ve chilled for a while, head to Holohan’s Pantry for a bite to eat.
From here, we’re going to head to a traditional pub with a tonne of character – the Crown Liquor Saloon.
Once known as one of the mightiest Victorian gin palaces, the pub dates back to 1826, and has played host to many a great night over the years.
Enjoy your evening. We’ll get a bit of a lie-in in the morning.
Monday 13th of March 2023
Keith, this is an extraordinary itinerary and so detailed. Thank you
Thursday 9th of March 2023
the link to the mailing list sign up isnt working...can I have you send me the document by email? it sounds amazing through quick page hopping! thought this morning that we might go this late Sept/early October for 3ish weeks.
Monday 6th of March 2023
Hi Keith, we’re looking at visiting Ireland September 2023, for four weeks, coming from Canada. Thankfully I found your guide, it is fantastic, you put in a great deal of work organizing this. Thank you. I have a couple tours books to cipher through as well, but it is painstaking slow. I need to get an itinerary put together fast, I see accommodations are filling up quickly for September. One question I have is, is it possible or wise to do your road trip in reverse? We’re not used to driving on the left side, haha, will it be safer doing the trip in reverse?
Saturday 18th of February 2023
Do you have a PDF of the whole list that we could buy/download with links? We were planning to do the reverse of this in October 2023 (34 days)---but, rethinking after seeing yours!
Wednesday 18th of January 2023
This itinerary will be the basis of our upcoming trip this year. We prefer to base ourselves in a place for maybe a week and explore the surrounding areas. We will be picking up a car in Belfast on 26 May and have it for almost 6 weeks. We are unsure of our direction of travel, but leaning towards anti-clockwise. Excluding Dublin, can you suggest 5 or 6 "bases" for exploration. Small towns with a bit of character ideally.
Keep up the good work.