A month in Ireland


Lucas Ayde

2,552 posts

135 months

Monday 7th June
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agent006 said:
We did the Giants Causeway. Disappointing, and wouldn't really recommend it. It's nowhere near as spectacular as you'd imagine and it's very busy. Certainly don't pay the parking charges, park at the little town next door and walk east along the coast path to it. A nice walk and will save you £30.
Got to agree - the Giant's Causeway is a bit underwhelming given all the publicity it gets. I've been there quite a few times as it's within afternoon-out range from where I grew up and was a good place for a Sunday aternoon trip when I was a kid ... until they built the bloody visitors centre and then started charging a fortune for the car park (it was free when I was a lad and later only a couple of quid when they first started marshalling it). I guess with all the tourists they see an opportunuty to rake in the cash and the visitor centre cost a bundle to build (and had a lot of political corruption shenanigans around it).

It is worth seeing though if you are already in the area and the views along that strech of coast are very scenic on a sunny day. There's a distillery in the town of Bushmills nearby which I think does tours too.

21st Century Man

35,786 posts

215 months

Monday 7th June
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21st Century Man said:
We're also looking at NI now, and into the republic if we can...

...will probably commit to some bookings this week
Ferry booked, we'll have three weeks.

I'll keep an eye on this thread for ideas.

Quite excited, we've not been to Ireland before smile


244 posts

113 months

Tuesday 29th June
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Live in NI now and i gotta agree Giants Causeway feels a bit ripoff but hey you are on holiday so c'mon if it costs it costs.

Some suggestions as a blow in' living here, of things that entertain my wife, kids and I, top to bottom as best i can recall.

1) Benone Beach - much less travelled than neighbouring Portstewart, oh and you can drive onto it for free. From Downhill end to Malligan point and back a solid 10 mile beach walk. See Dan at https://longlinesurfschool.co.uk/ who will set you up with a surfing lesson here or only a few miles along the road he can schedule a SUP lesson on the River Roe, slower pace and if you aren't entirely garbage you could almost stay dry.

2) On your way home/past try Fish and Chips in Chequers in the little village of Articlave https://chequersfastfood.com/articlave-store.html

3) Portstewart Strand. Great Blue flag beach and another you can drive onto, saving any faff with lugging kit - it costs as fiver unless you are NT members. Glorious but bloody busy on a hot day. Fantastic on a blustery day for a walk. Wander all the way back into Portstewart for a lunch and an ice cream at Morellis

4) If you have time for something semi fancy try dinner at Harrys Shack on Portstewart Strand. Nice food if busy and hard to book https://www.facebook.com/HarrysShack/

5) https://www.freedivenorthernireland.com/ These guys are brilliant. In Portrush. Again you can do a few things, paddleboard exploring of caves, snorkelling or freediving. They took me and my kids for a snorkelling cave exploration. £50/head but was the treat of the year. Ran by a very friendly German fella. Great experience.

6) http://www.distillersarms.com/ Tartine in Bushmills, lovely restuarant.

7) Further down the coast have a gander through the woods then afternoon tea here. https://www.hastingshotels.com/ballygally-castle/.

8) Moving in land a bit, nice walks in this forest park. https://discovernorthernireland.com/things-to-do/g...

9) Hitting Belfast now. Park in the Castle carpark its a 40-45 min walk to the top of the Cavehill aka Napoleans nose. Stop in the Castle on the way down for tea and scones, comedically poor service, like i mean proper rotten but actually entertaining....kinda adds to the charm, I haven't been in for a year but you can have a pint in the basement bar too. https://walkni.com/walks/cave-hill-country-park/

10) Just round the coast from Belfast hit Helensbay/Crawfordsburn. You can park here and walk along the coast to Bangor and back. If you are the sort for it, it is becoming a haven for open air swimming so expect lots of middle class ladies of a certain age in Dryrobes during the week. Pop into the https://www.theoldinn.com/ for lunch/dinner/a stay afterwards. If the weather is crap its gloriously cosy, warm and atmospheric bar and restuarant. If the weather is nice having a chilled white in the gardens is also lovely.

11) Moving south, but still in NI, Castlewellan Forest Park. try your hand at Electric Mountain Biking (for hire) or just go for a walk round the lake and trails here. https://www.onegreatadventure.com/

12) National Trust. Castle Ward for decent walks, a nice house tour and poor to middling NT food concession with rubbish service but often has jazz weekends and stuff on so still worth the trip. https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/castle-ward combine a trip to this with a relaxed chill out on a beach a few miles away at Kilclief, just outside Strangford. Not much by way of a walk but a lovely beach for a swim or paddle https://www.google.com/maps/place/Kilclief,+Downpa...

finish your day with food in Strangford itself. Try Littlewolf for fish and chips https://www.littlewolfstrangford.com/ or the lobsterpot or the cuan for something sit in.

13) 12) above could be combined with a quick crossing on the ferry to Portaferry from Strangford. Then drive back up the coast to Mount Stewart. A better NT location than Castle Ward for food but much shorter walk. House tour is the main deal here https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/mount-stewart

14) Slieve Donard - Proper walking boot territory. If you are fit you can do it from the carpark


and back in under 5 hours. We last climbed it in April. We hit a blizzard on the way up, blue skies at the top, blizzard on the way down and it was pissing rain by the time we got in the car. Plenty decent food places around the base but also if you have kids in tow expect to have your wallet reamed for a disgusting high calories count sundae here on the promenade


15) Rostrevor - Less severe than Slieve Donard but as long a walks, also mountain biking. Nice campsite/caravan park at the base and you could easily do a day or two exploring here.


16) A little further in country Silent Valley/Slieve Binnian https://walkni.com/mourne-mountains/slieve-binnian... Again a walk that takes us with kids guts of a day. Can be combined with Slieve Donard if you are a proper outdoorist.

17) Back cross-country to Enniskillen

Great NT sites locally https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/castle-coole & https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/florence-court

We stay in the KillyHevlin which is a lovely wee hotel on the side of Lough Erne https://www.killyhevlin.com/. Ring and negotiate, we do!

17b) MarbleArch Caves https://www.marblearchcavesgeopark.com/. Not much walk but a gander underground to an ancient geological oddity. It is meant to have boat trips but in the decade plus of visiting the water has always been too high or too low to get us in but the guided walking tour is still worthwhile. Again a thing to do for a few hours and just outside Enniskillen.

18) Last one Cuilcagh - Boardwalk trail. About a 3 hour structured walk just outside Enniskillen https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g1... Last done by us into the face of a blizzard in January...it got so bad that my kids even ate the rich teas in my rucksack! Glorious in summer

Other random things to do

- Have a pint in the Crown Liquor Saloon in Belfast, try and get a booth. Been yonks since i have been so i am not sure if they still do oysters etc for Breakfast.
- St Georges Market for a couple of hours wandering around central Belfast.
- Cathedral Quarter for the trendier end of towns bars and a nice atmosphere.
- Titanic Museum - m'eh....we do museums poorly here but you might aswell. Id include it in a walk about town as you can cross the Lagan and get to it from the City centre easily enough.
- https://visitbelfast.com/partners/botanic-gardens/ Botannic Gardens in Belfast and a short wander (200yds) up the hill to the Ulster Museum https://www.nmni.com/Home.aspx. You are in "Stranmillis" here with a few decent eateries within a stones throw.
- Let's Go Hydro - https://letsgohydro.com/ About 10 mins drive from central Belfast. This is an outdoor water park. You can hire wetsuits etc. They have a floating inflatable climbing park for kids to fool around on for a few hours and the other side of the resevoir has a cable wakeboarding park so kids and parents both entertained.

Edited by cavey76 on Tuesday 29th June 23:38

Edited by cavey76 on Wednesday 30th June 09:55

21st Century Man

35,786 posts

215 months

Wednesday 30th June
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Wow! What an amazing helpful post. Many thanks cavey. Brilliant! We will be sure to take in several of your suggestions.



Original Poster:

5,011 posts

194 months

Thursday 1st July
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Sadly, we have decided against booking to travel to Ireland this September. I don't want to be stuck with an unused ferry ticket if the covid situation worsens and we can't travel.

Instead we have decided to do a month in northern England instead: York; the east coast seaside towns (we fancy visiting all those places that used to enter teams on Its a Knockout in the '70's hehe ); then a week in Northumberland; a week in the Lakes; and then Blackpool and Liverpool.