Friday, March 16, 2012

friday fun finds: top 10 places to visit in northern ireland (guest post by janmary)

hi and welcome to my world! i’m a blogger from northern ireland and it was lovely to meet nellie and chach in atlanta at the sits blog conference last october.i design jewelry and love to take photos (with my canon dslr or with my iphone). 


the top 10 i am sharing with you today, in honor of st patrick's day tomorrow, are the places i would take you to visit if you came over to northern ireland for a wee visit.

titanic quarter in belfast

this year it is 100 years since the launch and sinking of the titanic. finally belfast, where the famous/infamous ship was built, will have our own museum. the area was neglected for many years, so some of the original buildings remain and are being restored. can’t wait to see them all finished in time for the huge commemoration and festival next month (april 2012).

giants causeway
one of the natural wonders of the world, scientists can tell us how all these hexagonal rocks were formed, but the myth of how finn maccool tricked a scottish giant is much more interesting! our kids love clambering over the rocks, and i love taking photos of them (the kids or the rocks, i don’t mind!)


carrick-a-rede rope bridge
yes ….. a rope bridge……not great if you have a fear of heights, but it links a small island to the mainland with some wonderful views. it is possible to opt not to cross over, and you can just watch the other poor soul instead, but it isn’t *too* dangerous, and lots of fun!


dunluce castle
another great story behind this destination, but this is the true story how the kitchens of the castle fell into the sea during a ferocious storm in 1643. apparently there were a number of guests being served dinner at the time, and food was still served and the guests not told of the disaster at the time for fear of alarming them!
white rocks beach
from dunluce castle you can see this stretch of beautiful soft golden sand stretching all the way to portrush. our kids love coming here to slide down the huge sand dunes. the water is icy cold – most use wetsuits to swim/surf/body board. i prefer to stay dry on the beach!


mussenden temple
this unusual “folly” was built by a bishop as his library and reading room. It is perched dramatically on the cliff overlooking the atlantic ocean with portstewart strand in one direction and downhill strand in the other.
dark hedges
shhhhh…..going to share my favorite road in all of northern ireland, but let’s keep it to ourselves, ok? it is a tiny road in the middle of nowhere, with the most amazing avenue of 200 year old trees.
ballintoy
a simple white church, which can be seen from miles away, indicates you are close to ballitoy. there is a small village on the main road, but drive down past the church and an incredibly narrow and twisty road with a number of hair-pin bends takes you down to a small harbor, cafĂ©, rock pools and beach. the “game of thrones” recreated a medieval village and harbor here last summer for filming.

an ulster fry
you shouldn’t really come to northern ireland without experiencing a genuine ulster fry. the main components may vary, but here is what i would include:
bacon, sausage, potato bread, soda bread, fried egg, (optional extras – mushroom, tomato black pudding or white pudding, baked beans)

our holiday cottage!
for the last few years we have been house swapping, and if you are interested in visiting our wee country then you can check out our home exchange listing here.



there you have it, my top 10 recommendations for your visit to northern ireland. so……when are you coming over?!!!

and remember, everyone is irish on st patrick’s day.

For more of my life and photos here in n ireland, please visit my blog www.janmary.com


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