56 Things to do in Northern Ireland in 2020: Unique Attractions, Hikes, Pubs & Lots More

From unique attractions to tourist favourites

Things to do in Northern Ireland
Photo via Tourism Ireland

there are LOADS of things to do in Northern Ireland, yet many tourists tend to never look beyond Belfast and the Causeway Coast.

Which is a shame, as there’s much more to this corner of Ireland.

In the guide below, we’ll be showing you the best places to visit in Northern Ireland, from off-the-beaten-track hidden gems to the well-known attractions.

Related read: Discover the main differences between Northern Ireland vs Ireland.

If you hop into the table of contents below, you’ll find that we’ve broken this guide up into a few different sections, to make it easier to flick through.

Table of Contents

The Best Things to do in Northern Ireland in 2019

causeway coastal route
Views along the route: Photo by Arthur Ward

Northern Ireland is made up of six counties (note: click on any of the counties below to be. taken to a detailed guide):

In the guide below, you’ll find 56 of the best things to do in Northern Ireland (in my opinion).

If there’s somewhere that we’ve missed that you feel should be on the list, pop a comment in the comments section at the end of this article.

The most popular places to go in Northern Ireland

giants causeway ireland
Photo by @storytravelers via Tourism Ireland

This first section dives into the most popular places to go in Northern Ireland.

Below, you’ll find everywhere from the iconic Giants Causeway to the much wanderlusted after Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge.

Note: You’ll find recommended tours throughout this guide. Many of these are affiliate links. You won’t pay anything extra, but we’ll make a small commission.

1 – The Giants Causeway

giants causeway
Photo by Arthur Ward

The Giant’s Causeway tends to top the list of many Northern Ireland bucket lists.

An official Unesco World Heritage Site since 1986, the Giant’s Causeway was formed around 50 to 60 million years ago as a result of a volcanic eruption.

Those that visit can admire thousands of basalt columns that almost look like they’re tumbling down in the icy waters of the Atlantic.

It’s estimated that there are over 40,000 of the hexagonal-shaped pillars that you can see in the image above at the Giants Causeway.

2 – The Dark Hedges 

the dark hedges ireland
The Dark Hedges: Photo by Matthew Woodhouse

If you read our guide to the Dark Hedges, you’ll know that I’m personally not a fan. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that they’re one of the most over-hyped places to visit in Northern Ireland.

However, they attract thousands of tourists every month, which is why they’re being popped into this guide. And I know of plenty of people that have enjoyed visiting, so don’t let me put you off!

The Dark Hedges is an avenue of beech trees that were planted by the Stuart family during the 18th century.

They shot to worldwide fame several years ago when they were featured in the HBO series Game of Thrones.

3 – Cuilcagh Mountain

getting from dublin to cuilcagh
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

You’ll often hear County Fermanagh’s Cuilcagh Mountain referred to as Ireland’s Stairway to Heaven.

This was a name that was coined after pictures taken from the top of the boardwalk went viral on social media.

I’ve done the walk here several times, and it’s brilliant.

Those that fancy visiting giving this a bash can embark upon several walks up Cuilcagh Mountain, ranging from 2.5 to 6 hours in length.

4 – Dunluce Castle 

dunluce castle game of thrones
Photo by Matthew Woodhouse

Next up is the beautifully rugged remains of Dunluce Castle.

You’ll find the ruins of Dunluce perched atop a dramatic cliff along a magnificent stretch of Antrim’s coastline.

The castle’s unique appearance and quirky legend have seen it receive its fair share of attention online in recent years.

Its appearance in Game of Thrones alongside the Dark Hedges may also have helped…

Read more in our detailed guide to Dunluce Castle.

5 – Dery City Walls

derry city walls
Photo by Brian Morrison

Derry is far too often overlooked by those exploring Ireland.

The city of Derry is officially the only completely walled city in Ireland, and it’s home to a wealth of history.

The Derry City Walls were built between 1613-1618 and were originally used to defend the city against 17th-century settlers.

The walls are still beautifully intact and they now form a walkway around the inner city.

6 – The Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge

carrick a rede bridge
Photo by @storytravelers via Tourism Ireland

Antrim’s Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge has connected the little island of Carrick-a-rede to the mainland for over 250 years.

That’s pretty damn impressive.

The first Carrick-a-rede rope bridge was erected between here back in 1755 and it was used by local salmon fishermen to cast their nets off into the Atlantic.

The bridge hangs 25 feet above the icy waters below and you’ll often see it reign supreme in guides to unique places to go in Northern Ireland.

You’ll have to pay to cross the bridge and there’s often a decent queue, which is a pain when it’s lashing rain.

7 – The Crumlin Road Gaol

crumlin road goal in belfast
Photo via Crumlin Road Gaol (crumlinroadgaol.com/gallery/album/gaol-spaces/)

Belfast’s Crumlin Road Gaol dates back to 1845.

It closed it’s doors as a working prison recently enough, in 1996, and it’s now one of the leading tourist attractions in Northern Ireland.

Visitors will be immersed in the rich history of the gaol and will hear stories from a time when women and children were held within its walls through to the political segregation of republican and loyalist prisoners.

During the tour, visitors are taken to the Gaol’s underground tunnel which was once used to connect the gaol to the Crumlin Road Courthouse.

8 – Mussenden Temple

mussenden temple
Photo by Gareth Wray

The Mussenden Temple is one of those places that looks like it’s been whipped from a Hollywood set.

You’ll find the temple in the stunning surroundings of Downhill Demesne in County Derry where it’s perched on a 120-foot high cliff overlooking the ocean.

It was constructed in 1785 and its architecture was inspired by the Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, near Rome.

Definitely one of the more unique places to visit in Northern Ireland.

9 – The Mourne Mountains 

mourn mountain
Photo by Rob Hurson (Creative Commons)

Now, if you’re not a seasoned hiker, don’t be put off – although the Mourne Mountains are the highest mountain range in Northern Ireland, there are plenty of walks and hikes for less experienced explorers.

Personally, my favourite hike in the Mournes is the one that takes you up Slieve Donard.

Climbing to the top is reasonably challenging (it’s 850m high), but the views that you’ll be treated to from the summit are out of this world. 

10 – Belfast Zoo

visiting belfast zoo
Photos via Shutterstock

If you’re in search of places to go in Northern Ireland with the kids, whack this one on your list.

Belfast Zoo opened its doors to the public in 1934, making it one of the oldest visitor attractions in Northern Ireland. 

The zoo is home to over 140 species of animals, including Asian elephants, Rothschild’s giraffes, California sea lions, penguins, Malayan tapirs and much much more.

Unique things to do in Northern Ireland

Unique things to do in Northern Ireland - torr head drive
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

The next section of this guide will show you a heap of unique things to do in Northern Ireland.

These places lay slightly off-the-beaten-path, but they’re well worth visiting!

11 – The Slieve Gullion Scenic Drive

slieve guillion forest park
Photo by The Irish Road Trip

The Slieve Gullion Drive in County Armagh is one of my favourite drives in Ireland.

I’ve done it around 3 times in the past two of years and I’m already itching to get back and do it all over again.

Those of you that visit Slieve Gullion Forest Park will explore seemingly endless woodland trails, many of which offer stunning views out over the Ring of Gullion, the Mourne Mountains, and Cooley Peninsula.

There’s a little cafe near the entrance if you’re feeling peckish.

12 – The Gobbins Cliff Path

the gobbins walkway
Photo by Cushla Monk (Shutterstock)

If you’ve ever fancied taking a ramble along a path that wraps its way around the basalt cliffs of County Antrim’s jagged coastline, then this should tickle your fancy.

The Gobbins Cliff Path tour takes visitors on a stroll along a path that was designed over 100 years ago, in 1902, by a railway engineer named Berkeley Deane Wise.

A visit here will allow you to experience one of Ireland’s most dramatic coastlines up close and personal.

Just make sure to dress for the weather…

13 – The Torr Head Scenic Route

The Torr Head Scenic Route is one of those drives that makes you realise:

  1. Why people love driving and cycling around Ireland
  2. Why nervous drivers avoid certain routes at all costs

The Torr Head Scenic Route is an alternative route between Ballycastle and Cushendun that takes drivers up narrow steep slopes high (and I mean high) above the ocean.

On a clear day, you’ll enjoy views right the way across to Scotland. Bash the play button on the video above and you’ll get a taste of what’s on offer.

14 – Ulster’s biggest waterfall at Ness Country park

You’ll find the beautiful Ness Country Park in the wooded Glen of the Burntollet River, in the south-east of Derry.

This park boasts an impressive 55 hectares of gorgeous woodland, open parkland, and riverside walks.

Oh, and the biggest waterfall in Ulster. A fine spot for a ramble.

15 – The earliest known settlement of man in Ireland

mountsandel fort

I’ve had this place on my to-visit-asap list for a while now.

It was in Mountsandel Wood between 7600 and 7900BC that the earliest known settlement of man in Ireland was based.

Archaeologists discovered Flint tools on the grounds of Mountsandel, which indicates that Stone Age hunters camped here and fished for salmon nearby.

If you fancy having a nose around, there’s a lovely forest walk that takes you along the eastern bank of the River Bann.

16 – The Crumbly Kinbane Castle

You may have come across Kinbane Castle in our guide to the most unique things to do in Ireland (if you didn’t, check it out!).

Kinbane Castle was built in 1547 on a small rocky promontory known as Kinbane Head.

The promontory extends out into the sea, which gives this castle an almost other-worldly look to it.

Isolated ruins, jagged cliffs, and the sound of the Ocean combine to make this a place that’ll paint itself upon your mind forever.

17 – The Derry Girls mural

derry girls mural
Photo by Gardiner Mitchell via Tourism Ireland

If you’ve never heard of Derry Girls, it’s a show set in Derry during the troubles in the 1990s.

It follows a group of friends (4 girls and one English lad) as they get themselves into all kinds of mad situations.

You’ll find the mural on one of the walls of Badger’s Bar in Derry.

The mural was masterfully created by UV Arts, a group that uses street art as a tool for social change.

18 – Explore Lough Erne (from the comfort of a water taxi)

lough erne taxi
Photo by Gardiner Mitchell via Tourism Ireland

Fancy exploring Lough Erne in Enniskillen in style? Then hop on a covered 8-seater boat/water taxi and go spinning about the place!

Those that climb aboard will be taken through the history of Lough Erne by an experienced tour guide.

A very alternative way to explore the area.

19 – Visit Tully Castle (and learn about its dark history)

You’ll find Tully Castle in County Fermanagh, near the village of Blaney, on the southern shore of Lower Lough Erne.

It has an extremely dark past that begins with Tully Castle being constructed for Sir John Hume, a Scottish planter*, in 1619.

During the Irish Rebellion of 1641, Rory Maguire set out to take back his family’s land from the Humes.

Maguire arrived at the castle with a group of followers on Christmas Eve, and found the castle full of women and children. The Castle was surrendered, but on Christmas Day the Maguires killed 60 women and children and 15 men.

*Planters and the plantation: Plantations took place in the 16th and 17th centuries in Ireland. It involved the confiscation of land by the English crown and the colonisation of this land with settlers from the island of Great Britain.

20 – Paddle your way around Derry City at sunset

Derry sup challenge
Photo via farandwild.org

If you’re looking for an alternative way to see Derry City, you’ve found it!

This 2-hour stand-up paddleboard (SUP) tour takes onto the River Foyle late in the evening.

According to the organisers,‘Once on the water, you notice the silence immediately. Calmness emanates from the blue-way through the city. Paddle Boards are an ideal platform to experience this hush. You view nature up close in the middle of the urban centre’.

21 – Grab a post-adventure pint in McConville’s Pub (and discover its link to the Titanic)

McConville’s bar portadown
Photo via McConville’s Pub

No guide is complete without a handful of pub recommendations.

You’ll find McConville’s pub in County Armagh, where it’s been on the corner of Portadown Mainstreet since the 1800s.

Inside this old-world pub, you’ll find the original snugs, moulded ceilings and beautiful etched windows.

The story goes that some of the Russian oak fixtures in McConville’s were replicated from a design on Titanic.

22 – Drop by a castle that featured heavily in Game of Thrones

gosford castle armagh
Photo via Maison Real Estate

If you recognise Gosford Castle then it’s likely that you copped it in an episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones.

The castle was used as the House of Tully and it was here that certain dark events took place (like the beheading of Rickard Karstark).

The 200+-year-old Gosford Castle is one of the biggest castles that was ever built in Ireland, and there are 4 different walks you can do in the grounds here.

The castle and its grounds were sold in 2019, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens to them in the future.

23 – Sunrise or sunset at Strangford Lough

Strangford lough
Photo by Bernie Brown vi Tourism Ireland

Our next stop takes us to County Down and to the largest sea lough in the British Isles.

Strangford Lough tends to get left off many itineraries, which is a shame as there’s plenty to see and do here.

You can try your hand at kayaking, diving, canoeing, and windsurfing, or if you’d prefer to keep your feet on dry ground, you can head off on several walks.

You can also hop on the ferry and see it from the water (it departs on the hour and half hour from Strangford).

24 – Dunseverick Castle

Dunseverick Castle antrim
Photo by Ondrej Prochazka (Shutterstock)

The ruins of Dunseverick Castle can be found Antrim, not far from the little village of Dunseverick. 

The castle was largely intact until a tool named General Robert Munro arrived in 1642 and destroyed it.

Today, only part of gate lodge remains. 

Park in the little car park next to the castle and take the short stroll over to its crumbly remains.

A visit from St. Patrick: It’s said that Saint Patrick (the Patron Saint of Ireland) visited Dunseverick castle in the 5th century to baptise a local man who later became a Bishop of Ireland.

25 – Grab a mighty view from Scrabo Hill

scrabo Tower at dawn
Photo by Bernie Brown via Tourism Ireland

Those of you looking for places to visit in Northern Ireland that offer stunning views need to carve out time in your itinerary to walk up Scrabo Hill.

You’ll find the hill, and it’s now iconic tower, in County Down, not far from the town of Newtownards.

The views of Strangford Lough and North Down from the summit of Scrabo Hill will knock you on your arse.

You can take a walk to the summit of the hill where you’ll find Scrabo Tower, which was built in 1857.

26 – See Derry’s murals with the artists that painted them

bogside mural tour
Photo via the Bogside Artists

The trio of Kevin Hasson, Will Kelly, and Tom Kelly go by the name ‘The Bogside Artists‘.

Between 1994 and 2006, they conceived and created ‘The People’s Gallery’ – a series of 12 murals along one street in The Bogside area of Derry.

The Bogside Artists now conduct tours of their murals in what is easily one of the most unique things to do in Northern Ireland.

Places to visit in Northern Ireland if you’re looking to explore by foot

The next section of our guide to Northern Ireland dives more hikes and walks.

Expect everything from mountains and beaches to castles and hills.

27 – Portstewart Strand

portstewart strand
Photo by Chris Hill

Portstewart Strand in Derry is one of the best beaches in Ireland.

This 2-mile stretch of golden sand is the perfect spot for an early morning ramble. Grab a coffee from a cafe nearby and stroll along the sand while gulping down lungfuls of fresh sea air.

On a clear day, you’ll be treated to beautiful views of Inishowen headland and Mussenden Temple.

28 – Stroll along the magnificent Murlough Beach

murlough beach in down
Photo by Bernie Brown via Tourism Ireland

Stop number 28 takes us to Murlough Beach in County Down.

This is a 6km long Blue Flag beach that offers walkers views of the magnificent Mourne Mountains.

The dune fields at Murlough are the most extensive example of dune heath in Ireland, with more than 720 species of butterflies and moths calling them home.

Ramble along the sandy shores or walk along the boardwalk that takes you up through the dunes.

29 – Grab an unbeatable view over Belfast on the Divis Summit Trail

If you’re visiting Belfast and looking to escape the city for a bit, then point your car, bike or feet in the direction of Divis Mountain.

There’s a 3-mile loop walk on Divis that was specially designed to ensure that the condition of the mountain slope is maintained, while also providing handy public access.

If you’re looking to stretch the legs and admire Belfast City from above, get yourself here!

30 – Head for a ramble around the second biggest park in Ireland

lurgan park armagh
Photo via Lurgan Park

You’ll find Lurgan Park, the second biggest in Ireland, in County Armagh where it’s visited by up to 2,000 people every weekend.

There are several different walks that you can head off on around this beautifully maintained park, with a full lap of the park and lake stretching for 2 miles.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can rent a rowing boat (£2 per person for 30 mins) and hit the lake.

31 – Take a walk around Cave Hill Country Park

cave hill walk
Photo left : By Arthur Ward via Tourism Ireland. Photo right : By Maciek Grabowicz on shutterstock.com

Cave Hill Country Park offers stunning panoramic views across Belfast City from several different vantage points (here’s a guide to the Cave Hill walk).

Visitors to Cave Hill can explore a number of different archaeological sites, nip into the Cave Hill Visitor Centre, explore the gardens, and head off on a number of waymarked walking trails suitable for both casual and more seasoned hikers.

It’s said that Cave Hill’s most famous feature, often referred to as Napoleon’s Nose, was the inspiration for Jonathan Swift’s novel, Gulliver’s Travels.

32 – Explore Tollymore Forrest

a bridge in Tollymore Forrest
Photo by Chris Hill

Next up is Tollymore Forest Park which, in the picture above, looks a little bit like something from the Lord of the Rings.

Tollymore Forest covers an impressive 630 hectares of land at the foot of the Mourne Mountains.

It’s a fine spot for walking, camping, horse riding, and orienteering, and there’s also a big play area for kids.

There are 4 different trails that you can head off on in Tullymore, the most popular of which is the Red Trail, a three-mile-long trail that passes through woodland and offers dramatic views of the Pot of Legawherry.

33 – Discover the roots of Narnia on the C.S. Lewis trail

cs lewis trail belfast
Photo via Discover NI

Clive Staples Lewis was born in Belfast on the 29th of November 1898. 

Between 1949 and 1954 he penned the magical Chronicles of Narnia, which went on to receive worldwide fame.

Fans of the books can explore the C.S. Lewis Trail.

This walking route takes you to places in Belfast that inspired the young C.S. Lewis. Expect to see sculptures (like the one above) along with the building where the writer was born.

34 – Embark on a walking tour of Derry

free derry corner
Photo by Louise Price via Wikipedia Commons

My favoruite way to explore any city is by foot or by bike… or by car or bus if it’s pi*sing rain!

There are several different walking tours of Derry that you can join which will immerse you in the history of Derry and Northern Ireland.

Tours tend to take in the Bogside Murals and the Free Derry corner and offer a deep insight into Derry’s turbulent past.

35 – Head for a scenic walk around Navar Forest

navar forest drive
Photo via Marble Arch Caves

You’ll find Navar Forest in County Fermanagh, where it’s part of the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark.

Now, there’s a 10 km scenic drive that you can take through the forest, if you don’t fancy walking, that’ll treat you to incredible views throughout. 

There are also several walks you can head off on, ranging from 1.5 to 2.5 hours that’ll take you past lakes, a waterfall and cliffs.

36 – The Cushendun Caves

Fans of Game of Thrones may recognise the Causeway Coastal Route’s Cushendun Caves as the place where Melisandre birthed the shadow assassin.

The Cushendun caves were formed over 400 million years of extreme weather conditions.

They don’t take much time to explore, so head down and have a little ramble around.

37 – Stroll along the Peace Bridge 

peace bridge derry
Photo by Gardiner Mitchell Photography via Tourism Ireland

We’re back to Derry next to visit the now-iconic Peace Bridge which opened in 2011.

The bridge connects the old army Barracks in Ebrington to Derry City centre and was intended to end a 400-year-old physical gap by bringing the largely unionist east side of Derry closer to the largely nationalist west.

Grab a coffee-to-go from the Pickled Duck Cafe and ramble across it.

38 – Monea Castle

monea castle
Photo via Marble Arch Caves

Many of those that settled in Ireland during the Plantation of Ulster* were English and Scottish. Unsurprisingly enough, they found themselves amongst a hostile native population.

So, they built large defensive dwellings keep the locals out.

The biggest of these Plantation Castles in Fermanagh is the one at Monea, which was constructed by 1618.

There’s parking on-site and you can have a ramble around for free.

*The Plantation of Ulster took place in Ireland during the early 17th Century, as the UK began to take control of the province of Ulster. King James confiscated land and granted it to those that would settle in Ulster and support the crown.

39 – Ballintoy harbour

ballintoy harbour
Photo by Chris Hill5

You’ll find Ballintoy Harbour in County Antrim, at the end of a narrow road down Knocksaughey Hill (the car park here is a nightmare!).

The harbour is surrounded by gorgeous limestone cliffs and by the late 19th-century it was used for the production of lime and shipping sett stones.

Ballintoy Harbour is another place that was featured in Game of Thrones (it appeared as exterior Pyke shots and for the Iron Islands).

I’ve been here several times in the past and it’s a lovely little spot for a stroll.

40 – Spend the weekend on the often missed Ards Peninsula

The ards peninsula
Photo via visitardsandnorthdown.com

In a nutshell, the Ards Peninsula in County Down magnificent.

The peninsula separates Strangford Lough from the North Channel of the Irish Sea and is called home by little several towns and villages.

If you visit, start your adventure in Newtownards and then spin along the winding coast that hugs the edge of the Lough.

Expect to stumble upon castles, sea views, stately homes, and plenty more to keep you occupied.

41 – Castle Ward (one of the best things to do in Northern Ireland for GOT fans)

castle ward exterior
Photo by Brian Morrison

Castle Ward is where you can explore the Winterfell Castle movie set from Game of Thrones.

For those of you unfamiliar with the GoT series, Castle Ward and its estate were used extensively during the filming of the show.

Visitors to the castle can expect sprawling medieval walls, an imposing castle tower gate, beautiful surrounding landscapes, and seemingly never-ending views out across the nearby lough.

42 – Dundrum Castle

Dundrum Castle in county down
Photo by Bernie Brown via Tourism Ireland

If you’re looking for a deadly (Irish slag for great) view and a bit of history, then get yourself to Dundrum Castle in County Down.

You’ll find the castle on a beautiful wooded hill not far from Dundrum village.

The castle here was built around 1177 and was used to control the land routes from Drogheda to Downpatrick.

Those that visit can expect stunning views of Dundrum Bay and the Mournes.

Northern Ireland tourist attractions to visit when it’s raining

belfast castle exterior
Photo via Tourism Ireland

If you’re looking for things to do in Northern Ireland when it’s raining, this next section should tickle your fancy.

It’s packed with attractions that have great reviews online and that are well worth doing on a rainy day.

43 – Explore Belfast on a Black Cab Tour

Belfast black cab tour
A black cab in action: By Tony Pleavin

A Black Cab tour of Belfast is a great way to explore the city, regardless of the weather.

However, if it’s lashing down, there’s no better way to stay dry and explore the city from the comfort of a cab with your own private guide.

Black Cab tours (there’s several) take visitors on a trip around Belfast and are led by seasoned guides that’ll masterfully take you through the city’s turbulent past.

These tours take you past many of Belfast City’s murals, which are arguably the most well known politicly themed murals in Europe.

44 – Enniskillen Castle

things to do in enniskilleen
Photo via Enniskillen Castle

You’ll find Enniskillen Castle in, unsurprisingly enough, Enniskillen where it has been since the 16th century.

The castle is now home to the Fermanagh County Museum, the Regimental Museum of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards.

The perfect spot to whittle away a wet afternoon.

45 – Spend a wet evening eating and drinking in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter

Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter is a brilliant spot for a bite to eat or to chill with a drink or three.

This corner of the city boasts some of Belfast’s oldest and most beautiful buildings and streets, along with a clatter of pubs and restaurants.

Go for the gorgeous architecture, stay for the delicious food and drink.

46 – Explore St.Patrick’s Cathedral… both of them

st patrick's cathedral armagh
Photo by Brian Morrison

If you’re looking to dive into the world of St. Patrick, then County Armagh is the best place to start your journey.

When St. Patrick first visited Armagh, he referred to the city as his ‘sweet hill‘.

It was here, in 445AD, that Ireland’s Patron Saint founded his first large stone church. Now, however, there are two cathedrals in Armagh bearing his name.

The first is the Church of Ireland cathedral located on Sally Hill, while the second, the twin-spired Catholic St Patrick’s Cathedral, can be found on the opposite hill.

Two mighty buildings with a heap of history behind them.

47 – Climb aboard the Nomadic

ss nomadic belfast
Photo by Tony Pleavin via Tourism Ireland

The SS Nomadic was the original tender ship to the infamous Titanic.

It was built alongside Titanic in 1911 and in April of 1912, it successfully transferred the 1st and 2nd-class passengers from the dockside in Cherbourg out to the Titanic.

A visit to Nomadic will immerse you in over 100 years of maritime history via a variety of interactive, hands-on, technical and traditional storytelling methods.

48 – Visit the Armagh Astronomy Centre and Planetarium

Armagh Astronomy Centre and Planetarium
Photo via Armagh Astronomy Centre and Planetarium

This is another great spot for parents looking for things to do in Northern Ireland with kids.

Now, sorry to disappoint, but you won’t find aliens at Armagh Astronomy Centre and Planetarium.

However, you will find a digital theatre where you can explore the wonders of the universe.

The Astronomy Centre is also home to the largest meteorite in Ireland (really!), scale models of probes, and loads more.

49 – Titanic Belfast

Titanic museum belfast
Photo by Chris Hill

Titanic Belfast is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Northern Ireland.

It’s within the walls of Titanic Belfast that you’ll find the monument to Belfast’s maritime heritage.

This attraction opened back in 2012 on the exact site where the Harland & Wolff shipyard was based, in the city’s Titanic Quarter.

The Titanic Experience spans over 9 interactive galleries that draw together special effects, dark rides and full-scale reconstructions.

50 – Tantalise your tastebuds at the Bushmills Distillery 

bushmills tour
Photo via Bushmills

You’ll find Bushmills, the oldest working distillery in Ireland, in Antrim, along the Causeway Coastal Route.

Bushmills was originally granted permission to distil in 1608, and there has been distillery on the site ever since.

That’s a long ass time.

I’ve heard of several people recently that have done the Bushmills Brand Experience tour, which involves a guided tour around the working distillery, and every one of them raved about it.

51 – Drop into Belfast City Hall

belfast city hall exterior
Photo by Tony Pleavin

The construction of Belfast City Hall came about after Queen Victoria gave Belfast ‘City Status’ in 1888.

The building, which is constructed beautifully from Portland stone, is one of the most significant buildings in Belfast’s history.

Now, if you don’t fancy going inside, it’s worth stopping by just to admire the building itself. 

The grounds around the building are full of monuments and statues that detail the history of both Belfast and the building itself.

52 – Visit  the burial place of St. Patrick (Down Cathedral)

exterior shot of Down Cathedral
Photo by Brian Morrison

You’ll find the beautiful Down Cathedral on the Hill of Down, overlooking the historic town of Downpatrick.

It’s in the Cathedral’s grounds that St. Patrick is buried.

Although the stone that marks his grave wasn’t erected until 1900, it’s thought St. Patrick died in 461.

53 – Saunter around Castle Coole

castle coole
Photo via the Natrional Trust

Castle Coole is an 18th-century mansion that’s set in a beautiful wooded park.

This is another great one for anyone looking to get out, walk, and clear the head.

Castle Coole is one of the finest examples of a Neo-classical house in Ireland and visitors here will be given a glimpse into what life was like in the home of the Earls of Belmore.

54 – Go underground at the Marble Arch Caves

marble arch cave cavan
Photo via the Marble Arch Caves

The Marble Arch Caves are a series of natural limestone caves found near the village of Florencecourt, in County Fermanagh. 

The caves, which span around 11.5 kilometres in length, are officially the longest known cave system in Northern Ireland.

The tour takes visitors on a walk down through the Marble Arch National Nature Reserve, before taking a short 10-minute underground boat journey and then a 1.5km walk through the show cave.

Related Read: find out everything you need to know about visiting the Marble Arch Caves.

55 – Take a spin out to Belfast Castle

belfast castle exterior
Photo via Tourism Ireland

You’ll find Belfast Castle on the lower slopes of Cave Hill country park.

The castle and its grounds are called home by a whole host of animal and plant life, from long-eared owls, sparrowhawks and Belfast’s rarest plant, the town hall clockto.

Admission to Belfast Castle is free and visitors will learn about the castle’s history, from the original building to the present-day structure. 

You can also nip into ‘The Tavern’ for a coffee and freshly baked scone if you fancy.

56 – Soak up some more history at Down County Museum

inside down county museum
Photo via Discover NI

Often, when I recommend museums, people tend to react negatively, saying that they’d rather spend their trip outdoors.

Which is fair enough. But then it lashes rain and we get messages asking for rainy day activities…

Ireland’s home to many excellent museums and Down County Museum is one of them.

It’s here that County Down’s rich heritage is brought to life through exhibitions, lively events, hands-on activities, and award-winning programs.

57 – Conquer Slemish Mountain

slemish mountain walk
Photo left: By ShaunTurner. Photo right: Ballygally View Images

The Slemish Mountain walk is hands-down one of my favourite walks in Northern Ireland. It’s short (usually takes us 1.5 hours with a stop at the top) and the views are mighty.

You’ll find the mountain in Antrim where it has a strong link to the story of St. Patrick. The mountain was home to Ireland’s Patro Saint when he first arrived to Ireland. 

There’s a decent car park on site (including some good toilets) and the trail to the top is nice and straightforward.

58 – Round off your trip to Northern Ireland with live music and pints in Peadar O’Donnell’s

Peadar O’Donnell’s derry
Photo via Peadar O’Donnell’s

No guide is complete without the recommendation of a fine pub. 

We’re going to round off our guide to Northern Ireland with a trip to Peadar O’Donnell’s in Derry City.

This well known Irish pub will go down well with the Guinness drinkers, as it’s reputed to serve a fine pint to those that ramble through its doors.

I’m sold already but the fact that there’s traditional music played every night of the week is the icing on the cake.

What things to do in Northern Ireland have we missed?

The guides on this site rarely sit still.

They grow based on feedback and recommendations from readers and locals that visit and comment.

Have something to recommend? Let me know in the comments section below!

Howaya! Thanks for visiting the Irish road trip! This site exists to inspire and guide you on an Irish adventure that’ll give birth to a lifetime of memories (sounds very arsey altogether, I know!) You'll find everything from things to do in Ireland to where to stay in Ireland (unique and unusual places) if you have a nosey around!


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