Well done, you’re considering a holiday in Europe’s safest, friendliest, most
exuberant tourist destination!
Much has happened in the past few years and old perceptions of the North have
had to be rewritten, there’s no doubt that Belfast’s dynamic nightlife, with
its club scene, modern bars, traditional pubs and gourmet restaurants, nas huge
appeal for the 18-35 age group
A measure of the city’s renewal has been me increase in hotel room numbers:
they’ve trebled in just five years. And according to a UN report, Northern Ireland
has the second lowest crime rate in the developed world, only Japan is safer
for tourists to visit.
Beyond the cities you’re immediately off the beaten track and into green countryside,
with farms and villages linked by small roads winding between thorn hedges.
Watch the signposts or you may land back in the village you left five minutes
ago. Even a hamlet can have half a dozen ways in and out.
Size-wise Northern Ireland is small. Establish a base - hotel, cottage, anywhere,
your choice - and you can visit all the places in this guide on easy day trips.
For sheer variety of landscape, the country feels bigger than it is. Mountains,
glens, an inland sea, peaty moors, everything’s packed neatly together.
Cycle routes and waymarked walks have opened up enchanting rural and coastal
areas and getting around by bike or on foot are smart ways to slow down, make
new friends and offload the overload. Keep the plan flexible.
Schedules can slip, especially when you get talking. That may be the moment
when the relaxation you promised yourself starts to happen
In legend the Giant’s Causeway was the work of Finn McCool, a giant who
commanded the king of Ireland’s armies. He took a fancy to a lady giant from
Staffa, an island in the Hebrides, and built the Causeway to bring her to
live with him in Ulster.
It’s the most famous sight in Ireland but the true star is surely the beautiful
north Antrim coast itself, the most dramatic and colourful stretch of coast
in Europe. These huge cliffs of red sandstone, white chalk, black basalt and
blue clay, some with topknots of sea pinks, march east to Fair Head, Ireland's
cornerstone, an eerie tableland where kestrels hover. Inhabited by giants,
ghosts and more than one banshee wailing through the sea mist, the region
is steeped in myth and legend.