Opened in 2012 for the centenary of the ship’s sinking, the Titanic Museum is a striking building in the middle of Belfast’s Titanic Quarter. With nine different exhibitions covering Belfast’s shipyard boom, the construction of the ship by Harland and Wolff, and its untimely demise, the Titanic Museum is absolutely one of Northern Ireland’s most impressive buildings.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site and national nature reserve, this breathtaking and alien landscape is absolutely a must-see and one of Northern Ireland’s most enduring destinations. Legend has it that the giant Fionn Mac Cumhaill built the Giant’s Causeway as a bridge between Ireland and Scotland. The nearby Visitor’s Centre goes into detail about this legend while also explaining the true history of the stones.
Giant’s Causeway, 44 Causeway Rd, Bushmills, Northern Ireland, UK, +44 28 2073 1855
Perched on a cliff near Castlerock, Mussenden Temple was originally constructed as the Earl-Bishop of Derry’s library. The grounds surrounding the temple and the nearby manor house are open to the public year-round, but the temple itself is only open on certain days. The ocean views alone make Mussenden a must-see.
Former occupants of this now-closed prison include Éamon de Valera and Bobby Sands, both instrumental figures in Irish politics. When Crumlin Road Gaol opened in 1846, it was a state-of-the-art facility, and these high standards have carried through to the visitor’s centre. Guided tours take around an hour, with a possible pit stop at Cuffs Restaurant to end your stay.
Crumlin Road Gaol, 53-55 Crumlin Rd, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, +44 28 9074 1500
Derry’s walls are centuries old, and Derry itself is one of the most well-maintained walled cities in Europe. The path along the top of the walls is about a mile (1.6 kilometres) long, forming a walkway around the inner city. Views of the area are excellent, and the cannons placed at strategic points cannot help but remind walkers of the many sieges throughout the city’s history.
Tayto® crisps are an iconic taste of growing up in Northern Ireland, but not many people know that the Tayto® Castle Factory is actually open for tours! In Tandragee Castle sits the crisp maker’s manufacturing line, and visitors can expect to receive still-warm crisps straight from the conveyor belt.
Tayto® Castle, Tandragee, Craigavon, Northern Ireland, UK, +44 28 3884 0249
Cuilcagh Boardwalk is a 1.6-kilometre (one mile) stretch of raised platform over scenic bogland, situated on a stretch of the Cuilcagh Way walking path. The boardwalk was constructed to protect the blanket bog habitat underfoot, and the trail extends up Cuilcagh Mountain itself and ends at the summit of the mountain, coming to a stop at an ancient Bronze Age cairn and offering exceptional views of Loch Erne and the surrounding countryside.
This row of beech trees was recently featured as The King’s Road in HBO’s Game of Thrones, which led to an increased tourist footfall to the area. Picturesque and brooding, these trees are a perfect stop on any Northern Irish road trip.
HMS Caroline saw combat in World War One, and following that, she docked in Belfast to serve as headquarters for the Royal Naval Reserve. Now, the ship acts as a museum where visitors can see the innards of a war vehicle as well as learn about semaphore and other wartime skills. Faithful recreations of the Captain’s Quarters, Mess, and Wash are sure to delight history buffs.
HMS Caroline, Alexandra Dock, Queens Rd, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, +44 28 9045 4484
Open from March to September, the show cave is the only part of this massive subterranean structure that is open to the public, but it alone makes the area worthy of a visit. Tours comprise a boat ride along underground riverways, as guides describe the cave system’s history and point out some fascinating limestone formations.