5 must do in Northern Ireland

Itinerary of Northern Ireland coasts

You have a few days to spend in Northern Ireland? You’ll find here the 5 unmissable things to do in Northern Ireland, according to us.

Find our itinerary in Northern Ireland below

Breathtaking views, the mythical Giant Causeway coast, walking in Game of Thrones’s traces, all about Irish whiskey, partying in Belfast …

For your information, Northern Ireland is part of United Kingdom so they use the Pound Sterling.

1 – Partying in Belfast, a human scale town

Our arrival in Belfast predicted that we would love this city. Not too big, lively, and with much to offer. Originally set up not far from the famous Titanic Belfast Museum (a museum describing the history of the famous Titanic, film, you can even visit it with a computer… the entrance is 20 euros/pers.). We quickly left for the city center.

Visit the Titanic Belfast Museum in the capital of Northern Ireland

Very lively, many murals – urban paintings – (republicans and opponents), of course pubs and restaurants. The city hall, in the center, can be visited for free (check the hours for guided tours). On the way back we discover the Saint-Geoges’s covered market, super market (unfortunately forbidden for dogs) in which we find food coming from all countries and local crafts.

Explore the streets of Belfast and find beautiful walls artworks

A little further down, the wonderful Botanical Garden which houses a greenhouse of cactus, a palm grove, a rose garden … and where we met our first European “métisse” (mixed-race people), Nicole (see the article about Nicole – in french). Not far away is the Queen’s University, a beautiful building in southern Belfast.

Walk into the beautiful botanical garden in the south of belfast, northern ireland capital

Visit the huge Queen's University very close to the botanical garden

In the evening, lots of pubs

Regardind us, we have chosen for the aesthetic side, The Perch (quite expensive, but a beautiful roof top and recommended by Nicole) and the Crown Liquor Saloon, a must. A Victorian pub, classified as an historic monument. Very classy, ​​with its woodwork and gilding. We ended up closing (2h) in a more festive pub, in the angle between these 2 bars. Live music, everyone dances, the floor sticks, in short, atmosphere guaranteed.

Before leaving Belfast, we went to Cave Hill which offers a panoramic view of the whole city. It’s worth a visit, especially when you can say “ah do you recognize this neighborhood, this is …”. In short, do not forget the capital of Northern Ireland.

2 – The hike between Giant Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede bridge

You would like to discover this incredible geological phenomenon of Giant Causeway? And find the best plans to make the 16 km walk that connects this site to the famous Carrick-a-rede bridge (famous places in the Game of Thrones serie). We dedicate an article to this long but easy walk that is worth the trip: the Giant Causeway walk.

Discover the famous Giant Causeway and its strange geological phenomenon

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3 – Learn everythings about Bushmills Whiskey production

After having been disapointed in Dingle (the distillery was closed when we were there), we decide to visit the Bushmills Whiskey Distillery. And really, we are delighted.

  • 8 € per person
  • the visit lasts between 30mins and 1h with a final tasting of the 3 years old Whiskey and another of your choice (5, 8, 10 and 16 years)

Observe the bottling process and all information about bushmills whisky production

We move from the cereal selection step to the decantation process. Visiting the room housing huge copper stills and the bottling process. Not forgetting the very clear demonstration of what does the “angel’s share” represent. Great time. The visit is only available in English.

Taste the flavour of different bushmills whisky at the bushmills distilley in northern ireland

4 – Understand Ireland at Derry / Londonderry

Derry or Londonderry is the 2nd largest city in Northern Ireland after Belfast. It is therefore part of the United Kingdom but even. Despite the pound sterling, we still feel in Ireland, especially in Derry, a city marked by its history painted on the walls. Indeed, throughout the city, there are paintings on the buildings which express all the complexity of the situation of Ireland. Between the Unionists, pro “United Kingdom” and the Nationalists who wanted Northern Ireland to be independent.

understand Northern Ireland story while watching its murals

Even his name evokes this fractured story. You will find Derry or Londonderry on signs and/or guides. It is the same city, but the independentists continue to use Derry.

The city is also interesting for its murals, it is the last city of Ireland that was able to keep its murals intact (after some reconstructions of course). This is 1.5km of “barricade” around the old town, more than 8 meters high by 9 meters thick (max per location). There are 4 old doors and 3 new ones. We visited it during a very gray day, but the visit remains interesting. Yhere are also several museums, galleries and cathedral to visit.

Walk along the 1.5km of fortification around the old Derry town in northern ireland

5 – Game of Thrones filmling locations

Fans of Game of Thrones, you won’t be disappointed in conquering Northern Ireland’s landscapes. In addition to all its charms, you will find here in Northern Ireland many places consecrated in this cult series. Personally this is not what we came for, but it’s always fun to find places you already know. Here are the spots we visited.

In the Antrim County:
  • First of all, Larrybane Bay (the Stormlands), very close to the Carrick-a-Rede Bridge mentioned above.
  • The Ballintoy Harbor, the Iron Islands filming location.
  • Not far from here, the Murlough Bay which represents the Bay of the Serfs in the 7 crowns kingdom.

discover the larrybane bay close to the famous carrick-a-rede bridge

Discover this game of thrones filming location in Ballintoy harbour
In the Down County:
  • You wish you could visit the Stark’s castel? So meet you in Winterfell! Indeed, just 1h in the south of Belfast you’ll find the Winterfell filming location in Castel Ward.

You want some more, do not worry, Northern Ireland understood that these places are interesting for many fans. So there are many tours offering the visit of various mythical filming locations of Game of Thrones in Northern Ireland. You can also do it on your own (which we always recommend), many blogs have made detailed articles on this subject ex: Itinerary of Game of Thrones filming locations

And what do you think of Southern Ireland?

Dublin, Galway, Cork, Dingle, Killarney… you’ll find here our article about Southern Ireland.

To get immersed in the Irish culture, you’ll find here our 100% Irish playlist on our Youtube channel.

Have a good trip in Leprechauns’ country!

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