The ancient kingdom of Ulster, now known as Northern Ireland, has played host to Gaelic kings, to scores of Irish clans and marauding Vikings in its time. The historic land of St Patrick is brought to life by its legendary tales of giants and faeries. Every inch of its lush landscapes can bear witness to a mythical story, a mysterious event or a factual heroic deed from days gone past.

The appeal of Northern Ireland lies in the warmth and humour of its people, in its beautiful scenery, its historic forts and castles and the enduring, omnipresent legacy of Celtic Christianity. This is a small country whose sights are all within a short, scenic drive of each other along mostly rural roads, where the only traffic jams are caused by flocks of sheep and cattle lazily meandering into your path.

To the southeast lies some of the loveliest landscapes in all of Ireland. The splendour of the Kingdoms of Down was officially recognised when it was declared an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Here you can enjoy miles of spectacular coastline, seaside resorts, charming fishing villages, inviting loughs, impenetrable forests and the imposing mountains of Mourne.

To the north, the dramatic Antrim coastline overwhelms with its soaring cliffs, some of the UK’s very best beaches and the magnificent glacier-carved Glens of Antrim. Unusual rock formations are something of a Northern Irish speciality, for here too you will find the famous Giant’s Causeway, a world-famous attraction that is built on legends. It is said to be the highway built by the giant Finn McCool, to bring his lady love to Ulster from an island in the Hebrides. Whatever its status in the past, today it is a World Heritage Site and the mysterious geometric forms of its thousands of basalt columns are an inspiring sight to behold, snaking away to the horizon.

The historic walled city of Londonderry, or Derry, perches in the northwest boasting a city full of poets, storytellers, musicians and revellers. Northern Ireland’s centre of culture and creativity certainly knows how to show its visitors a good time.

The city of Belfast awaits across the Sperrins. Surrounded by hills and harbouring plenty of fascinating industrial history and heritage, such as old linen and corn mills, Belfast is at once a reminder of the past and the embodiment of the contemporary promise of Northern Ireland. Belfast’s role in fomenting the Industrial Revolution transformed what once was a small 17th-century village into the robust, vibrant metropolis that it is today. Belfast is home to a third of the country’s population, some wonderful architecture and plenty of opportunities to live, eat and sleep very well.

With its green hills, rivers and lakes, mountains and spectacular coastline, Northern Ireland is the perfect setting for outdoor activities, yet it also offers plenty of entertainment and fun in its towns and cities. Sip a pint of the black stuff and kick back to enjoy the craic.


Northern Ireland is cloudier and cooler than England, due to the mountains and hills that provide its delightful scenery.

July is the warmest month with temperatures averaging around 18 degrees Celsius (64 degrees Fahrenheit). The highest temperatures will be found inland, away from the Atlantic. Rainfall is more frequent in the mountains of Sperrin, Antrim and Mourne, and snow can be expected here in the winter months of December to February, when average temperatures drop as low as 4 degrees Celsius (39 degrees Fahrenheit)

Passport Visa

Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, which is in the process of leaving the EU. You need a valid passport to enter the United Kingdom, though EU nationals may – for the time being, at least – gain entry holding only a valid national ID card. You may need a visa to stay in the country for more than six months. You are advised to hold return tickets in order to avoid delays. Please check rules around visa requirements before you travel, as they may change regularly.


English is the official language, though it is spoken overlaid by a variety of regional accents.


There are no particular safety issues in Northern Ireland, rural areas especially being among the most gentle and hospitable in the UK, though the usual precautions against crime should be taken in the cities.

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