Things To See and Do
- Scenic Discovery I -- Giant’s Causeway Coast and Antrim Glens
One of the 8 Wonders of the World…thousands of hexagonal volcanic rocks… Finn McCool…historic steam train…walks and hikes…Bushmills Distillery visit & tour (get a bottle of Bushmills personalized with your name on the label) …Dunluce Castle (see where the kitchen fell into the Atlantic)…Carrick-a-Rede fishermen’s Cable Bridge across open water to Carrick Island…Cushendall & Cushendun in the nearby Glens of Antrim designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
- Scenic Discovery II -- Belfast Sights and Shops Including the New Titanic Centre
Treat yourself to some of the best shopping in the UK… sample the brew in historic pubs… visit the Titanic Centre, with fascinating displays in a stunning building in the city’s Titanic Quarter. Or try the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum which shows life in the 18th century “up close and personal” plus historic planes, trains, ships and cars (including the Delorean automobile); see Belfast Castle, with panoramic views from high above the Belfast Lough on Cave Hill (site of the Shirley Maclaine movie about a true love story involving a WWII American military plane crash, “Closing the Ring”)… or roam the area of the sectarian murals remembering more troubled times.
- Scenic Discovery III -- Historic City of Derry/Londonderry and Lough Foyle
Take a trip back in time. This city is the best example of a European walled city remaining virtually unchanged since it was built in the 17th Century. You can walk on the top of the wall and look down into the Bogside, itself the scene of modern Irish history. Visit the Tower Museum to see the remnants of Spanish Armada ships sunk off the coast in their desperate attempt to sail home after disaster. Pick up a wireless City Digital Tour Guide at the Tourist Info Centre (44 Foyle St, 7126-7284) to guide you around the town at your own speed. Visit Browns Restaurant in Bonds Hill and Browns in Town Strand Road for amzing fine dining.
- Scenic Discovery IV -- Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum
From Flax-to-Fabric museum exhibition (free) tells the story of the Irish linen industry with live demonstrations of hand spinning and handloom weaving, as well as displaying examples of historic linen costumes and furnishings. The Museum Shop sells quality linen and craft goods. Café serves homemade comestibles. Note: a range of Irish linen damask table linen is on sale in the Linen Centre Museum Shop –with a flax flower design, it includes cloths, napkins and runners produced by the skilled Centre artisans (available nowhere else in the world.)
- Scenic Discovery V -- Rathlin Island – Ferry from Picturesque Ballycastle
Sail to the northernmost point in N.I… the only inhabited offshore island in N.I…. Known to the Romans and site of the first Viking landing, this six mile-by-one mile Island is now home to seals plus tens of thousands of seabirds and has been named a Special Conservation Area. Features an RSPB Bird Centre, pub, restaurant, mini bus tours, bike hire and easy walks along spectacular cliffs with vistas of Scotland in the distance. Great fun. Ferry operates March-October, costs about £21 for 2 pedestrians return (round trip) and can be booked by calling 02820769299.
- Scenic Discovery VI -- Slemish Mountain and St. Patrick’s Trail
Visit the 1400’ high volcanic plug where St Patrick tended swine as young slave in the fifth century…climbable path to the top in good weather (and good boots)…breathtaking views across most of N.I.…return through Broughshane, the Royal Horticultural Society award-winning Best Mid-Size Garden Village for fireside lunch in the Thatch. Continue your return through Cullybackey for a quick stop at the ancestral home of the 21st US President, Chester A. Arthur.
- Scenic Discovery VII -- Lough Neagh Boat Tour
The largest inland body of water in Ireland, Lough Neagh has history and drama. Coney Island and Rams Island have hosted 1000 years of monks, nobles and bandits. Public boat tours available on Sundays and Thursdays from Easter to October. Directly on your return route is the Bellaghy Bawn, original home of Northern Ireland’s Nobel Prize winning Seamus Heaney and now featuring an exhibition of his manuscripts and books.
- Scenic Discovery VIII -- Sperrin Mountains Tours and Hikes
Savor the rugged natural beauty of this dramatic mountainous area…choose up to four primary scenic driving routes around and through … or enjoy a myriad of way-marked hiking trails up and down valleys or over the crests of mountains…9000 years of civilization has left megalith tombs, standing stones, stone circles and alignments plus more “modern”18th century castles often perched on and near the picturesque Rivers Roe, Moyola and Bann.
- Scenic Discovery IX -- Mussenden Temple, Downhill Beach and 50 Mile
Roam the ruins of the 18th century mansion of the so very eccentric Bishop of Londonderry…with circular temple/library perched precariously on the cliff edge over the Atlantic Ocean which hosted the Bishop’s secret trysts… then drive out onto the nearby Downhill Beach and cruise for miles to Benone Beach… then you can drive right up to the top of Binevenagh Mountain for a most spectacular view across Lough Foyle to Donegal in the west and back along the rugged North Coast to the east … return via Castlerock where you can visit the 300 year old thatched roof Hezlett House (one of the oldest in N.I.) for a feel of life in the 17th century.
- Scenic Discovery X -- Foyle Ferry to Rustic Donegal in the Republic of Ireland
Travel (a quick 10 minutes) across the mouth of Lough Foyle from Magilligan Point to Greencastle, Donegal in the Republic of Ireland…take the scenic drive down the Lough back into Northern Irelands second biggest city, Derry/Londonderry and explore the Historic Walled City. Ferry operates all year, no booking necessary and costs about £20 for a car and 2 pax one way.