Belfast City (Beal Feirste) is the capital of Northern Ireland and is located in County Antrim. The city offers easy access with a choice of two airports. Located in the city at Belfast Lough is Belfast Harbour Airport, Belfast International Airport is 12 miles west of the city. At Belfast Port, harbour ferries arrive from Scotland and the U.K. History and politics play a major role in the fabric of Belfast, where the culture that has evolved here is different than other parts of Northern Ireland. It is rich in a diversity of cultures in art, music, dance, sports, shopping, attractions and historical sites. Once you are in Belfast, take advantage of what it has to offer, with a city tour bus or Black Taxi tours.
- City Hall is located on Donegall Square. It dominates the area with its magnificent architecture of classical renaissance style with fine Portland stone exterior and Italian marble interior. It was completed in 1903.
- Ulster Museum is noted for its Irish antiquities, Ulster history and displays of art, The Early Ireland Gallery (10,000 BC to 1,500 BC), and treasures from the Armada shipwreck, Girona.
- Linen Hall Library, located on Donegal Square, was established in 1788. It houses an Irish collection of over 20,000 volumes and a Robert Burns collection.
- Crown Liquor Saloon is the most famous pub in Belfast. The building is of Victorian architecture, with the outside covered in thousands of colorful tiles. The inside décor has stained and painted glass, carved oak screens and mahogany furniture.
- Grand Opera House offers a variety of musical programs.
- The Botanic Gardens, the rose gardens and herbaceous borders were established in 1920. Two greenhouses dominate the gardens. The Palm House has a conservatory containing tropical plants like coffee, sugar, and banana plants. The Tropical Ravine has a high walkway that provides a great viewpoint.
- Queen's University dates from 1849 and offers a Visitor Center with historical exhibitions. The architecture is something to be noted.
- St. Anne's Cathedral, an Anglican Church, was built between 1899 and 1927. It incorporates part of the original building. There are beautiful mosaics within the church.
- The Golden Mile has restaurants, galleries, entertainment venues, and pubs.
- Culturlann Macadam O'Fiaich, on the Falls Road, is Belfast's main Irish language arts center. There are many murals painted on the buildings that depict the plight of Irish Catholics from An Gorta Mor to the 21st Century.
- Fernhill House: The People's Museum tells the history of the Protestants in the Shankill District. The murals painted on the buildings depict their story over the past 30 years.
- Belfast Zoo houses 40 endangered species of animals. It has won national and international acclaim for rare animal breeding.
- Belfast Castle was built in 1870 and was the former home of the Donegall family. It offers a spectacular view of the city. There is a heritage center, antique shop, and children's play area on the premise.
County Clare, steeped in history, offers beautiful seascapes, landscapes, lakes, cliffs, caves and music. There is a multitude of activities to enjoy indoors and out. Here we have highlighted The Burren, The Cliffs of Moher, and Bunratty Castle and Folk Park.
The Burren in Irish, bhoireann meaning "stony place", is over 500 square miles of karstic limestone. It is in the northwest corner of County Clare. The area is a haven for botanists and ecologists because of the unique flora and rock. The ground surface is a floor of gray rock with long parallel grooves, known as grykes. Rainwater seeps through the porous rocks to the underground caves and lakes that swell with overflow, appearing in full lakes that disappear after the rain. There is an amazing variety of flora with Arctic, Alpine, and Mediterranean plants growing in spring and summer. It has an amazing range of color in the flowers, ferns and mosses.
You can walk your way to the discovery of ancient civilization on a 26-mile sign posted "Burren Way" from Ballyvaughn to Liscannor. There are stone dolmens, ring forts, churches, crannogs, monasteries, and holy wells. The Burren has over 60 Stone Age burial monuments and 400 Iron Age ring forts.
Alwee Caves were discovered in the 1940's. There are caverns, underground waterfalls, stalagmite and stalactite formations and remains of brown bears, which have been extinct in Ireland for thousands of years. The caves are open for guided tours.
Doolin is a very small port village where you can catch a ferry to the Aran Islands. It is famous for the quality of traditional music played in sessions at the three pubs.
The Cliffs of Moher just south of Doolin, are one of the most spectacular sights of The Burren. These majestic cliffs rise more than 700 feet above the wind swept Atlantic Ocean. They stretch five miles along the west coast of Clare from Hag's Head to just beyond O'Brien's Tower. Composed of shale and sandstone, the cliff's ledges make ideal roosting homes for birds. One of the best views can be enjoyed from O'Brien's Tower, built in the early 1800's. On a clear day you can see as far as the Mountains of Kerry, Connemara and the Aran Islands. There are marked paths along the the cliffs to explore. Make sure to dress tightly, it is perpetually windy. You are also subject to weather conditions that change rapidly. Also be cautious around the edges of the cliffs. A visitor center with a café is located near the parking lot. The best time to enjoy the cliffs is early morning or early evening, when the tour buses aren't as prevalent.
Bunratty Castle and Folk Park is one of the most complete and authentic 15th century medieval castles in Ireland. It has a long and bloody history. The castle is a combination of earlier Norman castles and the later Gaelic Tower Houses. It is furnished with a fine collection of medieval furniture, artwork and ornate carvings. Tours are available during the day. A four-course Medieval Banquet and entertainment with performers in traditional costume is offered in the evenings. Please book reservations far in advance.
The Folk Park is a reconstructed 19th century village with a variety of buildings, including a school, thatched cottages, grocery store, craft shop, coffee shop, pub, and agricultural machinery on display. The Folk Park is a living museum where animals are tended to and bread is baked. Country style meals are served and entertainment is offered, with story telling, music, dance, and story telling.
Abbey Street, Sligo, Sligo
Sligo Abbey was founded in 1252 or 1253 for the Dominicans by Maurice Fitzgerald, 2nd Baron of Offaly, who was also founder of the town. Having escaped the ravages suffered by the now destroyed Sligo Castle in the 13th and 14th centuries, the Friary was accidentally burned in 1414, but was rebuilt two years later by Friar Bryan MacDonagh with assistance from Pope John XXIII.
In 1568 O'Conor Sligo made a petition to Queen Elizabeth not to dissolve the Friary
Thoor Ballylee Castle
Thoor Ballylee Castle is a four storey tower dating back to the 16th century, beautifully situated beside a stream. There was much to enchant William Butler Yeats on his first visit to Ballylee in 1885: the old square castle, the little river and the legend of a most beautiful local woman 'Mary Hynes, the Shining Flower of Ballylee.
Concealed beneath a five thousand year old bog near Ballycastle in Co Mayo is a remarkable pattern of walled fields and corrals which indicate the existence of an ancient, ordered tribe who farmed this area before the bog was formed.
The beautiful visitor centre on the site interprets this phenomenon with a series of imaginative displays and an audio visual presentation. Featured also at the centre is the geology of the area, wild flora and history of the bog development.
Connemara National Park
Covering some 2,957 hectares of scenic mountains, expanses of bogs, heaths, grasslands and woodlands, Connemara National Park is a sight to behold. It's located near Letterfrack in County Galway.
Cahir Castle is one of Ireland's largest and best preserved castles situated on a rocky island on the river Suir. The castle's attractions include an excellent audio-visual show called "Partly Hidden and Partly Revealed" (English/French/German/Italian). The show informs visitors of all the main sites of the area. There are also several exhibitions.
Doolin Cave, also known as 'Poll an Ionain', is located in the Burren region of County Clare. Discovered in 1952 it consists of about 6 miles (roughly 10.5km) of passage. The main feature of the cave is 'The Great Stalactite'.
Millstreet Country Park
Millstreet Country Park is made up of over five hundred acres, of lakes, waterfalls, streams, wetlands, walks, picnic area, moorlands, arboretum, herb rich meadows, ornamental gardens, archaeological sites, native deer, birds and wildlife. Treat yourself to a visit, you'll find yourself coming back again and again.
Audio Visual Presentation: One of the features is an audio visual presentation that takes you back through the ages, the evolution of the landscape from the pre-ice age.
Saint Patricks Purgatory
Lough Derg, Pettigoe, Donegal
Pettigo is a village where the border separating the Republic of Ireland from Northern Ireland runs. It is a handsome village and is the main centre for pilgrims visiting Lough Derg.
Turn left in the village and follow the signs to Lough Derg.
The island on this south-east Donegal lake has received pilgrims from all over Europe since early Christian times. Known as St. Patrick's, as he reputedly, did penance here.
College Hill, Armagh, Armagh
Armagh Planetarium which was established in 1967 illustrates the story of space exploration and explains the mysteries of the night sky.
The aim of the Planetarium is to explain the mysteries of the universe in ways which are fun, interesting and entertaining. Beneath its large white dome the audience can relax in the comfort of first class airline seats and gaze upwards as beautiful images of stars, planets and galaxies glide past their vision.
Donaghmore, Portlaoise, Laois
Donaghmore Museum, is an old workhouse, built as a result of the Great Famine. About 1,200 people were doomed to be paupers and forced to take refuge there.
It has been restored by Avonmore and now houses an agricultural museum. The kitchen, dormitories and waiting hall have all been restored and the museum is open to the public during the summer months.