Exploring Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland

As I grow older, I have become slightly obsessed with beautiful landscapes.

I want to see it, breathe it in, feel it on my skin. Of course, I will be the first to admit that I am not a particularly outdoorsy person, yet my admiration for green hills, wild waterfalls and steep mountains can hardly be contained. As a Norwegian, I used to believe that no landscape could be compared to the wild mountains of Western Norway (especially Luster and Sognefjorden for those of you who are locals). Then I stumbled my way across the Scottish Highlands, and quickly decided that Isle of Skye, Glencoe, and Oban might just be the most beautiful places on earth. I was quite content with that.

However, that all changed when I set out to conquer the coast of Northern Ireland.

Carrickfergus Castle

We left a still sleepy Belfast at 9 in the morning, and our first stop of the day turned out to be the nearby Carrickfergus Castle. The castle was built in 1177 by John de Courcy, an Anglo-Norman Knight who had conquered Ulster a few months prior to the construction. If you push your way past all the people who are eagerly trying to sell you Game of Thrones t-shirts, you will find that the castle is both tranquil and immensly beautiful. Cleverly located in the harbour, almost fully surrounded by Carrickfergus Bay, the castle looks like it is floating in the middle of the sea. While Carrickfergus Castle might not be one of Northern Ireland’s most famous landmarks, it is most definitely worth a visit.

Northern Ireland

 

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland

 

From Carrickfergus Castle we had a 2 hours drive until we reached our next stop. I spent the entire journey catching up on sleep (why do I feel as if I am ALWAYS catching up on sleep these days?!), but the coastal route is supposedly incredibly beautiful so it might be worth it to stay awake…

Carrick-a-Rede

We finally reached our next destination – a wonderful area in Antrim with the rather impossible name of Carrick-a-Rede (try to remember that after a few drinks). The area is home to the famous rope bridge that links the mainland to the incredibly small island of Carrickarede. You can either pay 6 pounds to cross it – or you can run around and get lost on all the wonderful paths. Whatever you choose, the view will be magnificent.

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland

After leaving Carrick-a-Rede behind, I surely thought that nothing could ever beat that spectacular view. However, the universe once again decided to prove me wrong, and we pulled up close to our last stop of the day: Giant’s Causeway.

Giant’s Causeway is a Unesco World Heritage Site, and it is supposedly caused by a volcanic eruption (if you’re a scientist), if you are, however, more of a dreamer you will find that the Causeway was originally created by the Irish giant Finn McCool. While experiencing some trouble with the Scottish giant Benandonner, McCool, in a fit of anger, grabbed pieces of the Antrim coast and threw it into the water – thereby creating Giant’s Causeway.

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland

However, Giant’s Causeway is so much more than just another natural wonder (as if that wasn’t already enough…). Grab some good shoes, and set out with the sole purpose of getting lost on the many beautiful paths of the Causeway…

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland is incredibly beautiful, isn’t it? I’m still a wee bit overwhelmed by all the beauty, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be back soon to do some more exploring…

Christina
Writer
Christina Sunneklep (b.1992) is a rather snap-happy Norwegian travel blogger. For the past few years, she's been winging it in Rome - now she's doing her best to conquer Glasgow, Scotland.

Need to get in touch? CHRISTINA@CAVAFORLUNCH.COM

49 Comments

  1. anne riley September 13, 2016

    looks beautiful, hunny xx

    Reply
  2. verushka September 13, 2016

    Northern Ireland is very beautiful. I did a similair tour many moons ago and this brought back loads of memories.Several Bollywood movies are filmed in Northern Ireland for the gorgeous greenery.

    Reply
    • Christina September 13, 2016

      I’m still slightly overwhelmed of all the beautiful scenery! When it comes to filming, I have only ever heard of Game of Thrones etc., so I honestly didn’t know they filmed Bollywood movies there?! How cool!

      Reply
  3. Gabi September 13, 2016

    Now, this is a place my kids would definitely adore seeing. The eldest would be amazed by the remains after the volcanic eruption. The little one would go crazy about the story of Finn McCool. Your pictures do incredible justice to the place. Stunning, really.

    Reply
    • Christina September 13, 2016

      I’m so glad to hear, Gabi! Honestly, I agree with you that Northern Ireland might actually suit most kinds of travelers – no matter if they are going solo or with a family, there’s simply so much beautiful nature and exciting myths!

      Reply
  4. Reiselykke September 13, 2016

    Such beautiful scenery!
    Looks like a wonderful day outdoors :)

    / Mette

    Reply
  5. Marianne - Glimt av verden September 13, 2016

    Enig, det er så fint på nordkysten av Nord-Irland! Både Carrick-a-Rede og ikke minst Giant’s Causeway er definitivt steder som er vel verdt et besøk. Da jeg var der (på bursdagen min for to år siden, hurra) var det overskyet, regnbyger og sur vind, men det var flott likevel.

    Reply
    • Christina September 14, 2016

      Åh, det høres ut som et herlig sted å feire bursdag på! Vi tok alt som en dagstur, og vi stoppet også innom Bushmills Distillery på veien til Giant’s Causeway. Jeg er ikke akkurat noen stor fan av whisky, men det var en veldig hyggelig opplevelse allikevel! Og jeg tror faktisk at nordkysten er like fin i regnvær – kanskje til og med litt mer mystisk? :)

      Reply
  6. John Rodgers September 14, 2016

    This was a great trip and I love the photos. I think the two things I would enjoy most are the rope bridge, Did you go across it? The second would be the causeway built by McCool. I love all of the Unesco sites I have visited and this is another I would love to go too. Thanks for the great information.

    Reply
    • Christina September 14, 2016

      Hello John!
      I did not cross it (unfortunately, I find heights to be a wee bit challenging), but I honestly didn’t feel as if I missed out on it – the view is spectacular from the mainland! You definitely ought to go, it’s such an amazing place! :)

      Reply
  7. Rashmi and Chalukya September 14, 2016

    We had been on the same route as you last December and
    the surreal landscape of Northern Ireland has left a nondelible mark on our minds. Norway is a dream we hope to visit it sooner and we are pretty sure it isn’t anyway less than a fantasy land :) Awe-inspiring captures!

    Reply
    • Christina September 14, 2016

      I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one to fall for Northern Ireland! It’s nothing less than amazing! I really hope you make it to Norway someday soon, and please let me know if you need any tips/suggestions, I’d be happy to help xx

      Reply
  8. Sumti Bhadani September 14, 2016

    Ireland is really a beautiful place. I was in Europe last year but was not able to make it there. Its in my bucket list :)

    Reply
    • Christina September 15, 2016

      You should definitely go, it’s absolutely stunning xx

      Reply
  9. GlobetrotterElisa September 14, 2016

    Åhh, så fantastisk! I sommer fikk jeg endelig besøkt Skottland, så nå gjenstår blant annet Nord Irland. Er så enig med deg – jo eldre man blir, jo mer opptatt av nydelig landskap blir man!

    Reply
    • Christina September 15, 2016

      Åh, hvis du likte Skottland, så kommer du garantert til å elske Nord Irland. Naturen er enda villere :)

      Reply
  10. Punita Malhotra September 15, 2016

    I have yet to visit Ireland and Giant’s Causeway, in particular seems very intriguing. You mentioned in your post that it seemed to be the most beautiful place on earth! And could well be…beauty lies all all around us, waiting to be discovered.

    Reply
    • Christina September 16, 2016

      Very true, Punita! I couldn’t agree more! xx

      Reply
  11. Ami September 16, 2016

    Beautiful place – green, fresh and lovely. That castle looks really interesting too. Are we allowed to go in? I wonder how it is from inside.

    Reply
    • Christina September 16, 2016

      You can pay to enter the castle, but it is sadly enough closed Sunday mornings (which is when I visited), but I would have love to see it from the inside! xx

      Reply
  12. Jenn September 16, 2016

    Hey, I am a scientist and I definitely prefer the giant story about Giant’s Causeway. It is always magical to think about all the myths that have grown out of places as magical as these…

    Reply
    • Christina September 16, 2016

      I couldn’t agree more, Jenn! xx

      Reply
  13. Blair Villanueva September 16, 2016

    Indeed such a unique beauty. I’m imagining someone having a pre-wedding shoot with this background. It will be lovely :)

    For Urban Women

    Reply
    • Christina September 17, 2016

      Oh yes, that sounds absolutely stunning xx

      Reply
  14. Martina September 17, 2016

    Fantastic piece!
    I’ve been to the Republic of Ireland, but never to Northern Ireland. I would love to visit though! Natural landscapes are so beautiful over there and I feel all your photos really convey that! I remember crossing through the Irish countryside and seeing enormous green fields with tons of sheep populating them, that’s a picture that will always remain stuck in my mind.

    Reply
    • Christina September 17, 2016

      Thank you for your kind words, Martina! You should definitely consider a visit to Northern Ireland, everything is simply breathtakingly beautiful xx

      Reply
  15. Bella WW September 17, 2016

    Wow, Northern Ireland is definitely worth seeing! I love those cliffs that drop straight into the deep waters. Oh, and the castle seems to be really mysterious.

    Reply
    • Christina September 17, 2016

      I couldn’t agree more, Bella! Definitely a beautiful and mysterious place xx

      Reply
  16. Thuymi September 18, 2016

    Oh wow Northern Ireland looks amazing, especially through your pictures. Giant’s Causeway looks amazing! Great list of things to see if we get there!

    http://www.AdventureFaktory.com

    Reply
    • Christina September 18, 2016

      You should definitely check it out, it’s well worth the visit :)

      Reply
  17. Chantae September 18, 2016

    How incredibly beautiful — I can see how Northern Ireland is a top contender with Norway for lush landscapes. Giant’s Causeway looks pretty surreal — like a geologist’s dream!!! Can’t wait to visit some day. LOL at the titanic picture :D

    Reply
    • Christina September 18, 2016

      It definitely is! :) Haha, we just couldn’t go to Northern Ireland and NOT do a Titanic photo xx

      Reply
  18. sophie nadeau September 18, 2016

    Wow! Ireland is one place I’ve always wanted to go.. but not managed to make it to (yet)! Stunning photos- I imagine that Giant’s Causeway is even more impressive in real life!

    Reply
    • Christina September 18, 2016

      It’s incredibly impressive! Definitely worth the visit xx

      Reply
  19. Joanna September 18, 2016

    I have a lot of friends that have visited Ireland recently and told me how beautiful it was. For me, it’s hard to believe that there are more beautiful landscapes other than the ones in Norway. I was astonished by its beautiful when I visited. I guess we all say the same about our home countries :)

    Reply
    • Christina September 19, 2016

      Yes, I reckon we all favor our home countries – but I’m still glad that we can explore new favourites and new “homes” along the way xx

      Reply
  20. Shane September 19, 2016

    Wow, Ireland is absolutely breathtaking. All of the castles and landscapes make it look straight from a fairy tale. Bummed I didn’t make it there while traveling Europe but will have to one day soon!

    Reply
    • Christina September 19, 2016

      Yes, you definitely have to go back! It’s absolutely stunning! xx

      Reply
  21. Subhadrika Sen September 19, 2016

    I have been in Manchester for a year and it was always on my list to go to Northern Island, But alas, I could not cause of visa issues. but hope I get to see this beautiful place one day. Its so tempting and had been on my list for a long time.

    Reply
    • Christina September 19, 2016

      Oh no, what a bummer! Hopefully you’ll be able to go soon, fingers crossed! :)

      Reply
  22. Tamshuk September 19, 2016

    I agree Northern Ireland has some stunningly beautiful landscapes which shows in these lovely pictures. I haven’t been to that part of the world yet but someday I hope to. Seems like you had a lot of fun exploring the place. Keep exploring more such lovely outdoors :)

    Reply
    • Christina September 22, 2016

      Thank you for your lovely comment, Tamshuk! I hope you get to visit someday xx

      Reply
  23. Ana September 19, 2016

    The landscape of Northern Ireland looks breathtaking! It reminds me of ‘Game of Thrones’ background! Looks like you had an amazing time on your trip!

    Reply
    • Christina September 22, 2016

      I wouldn’t be surprised if some of it has actually been used in Game of Thrones, I know they film a lot of it in Antrim xx

      Reply
  24. Therie March 24, 2017

    Breathtaking landscapes! It’s like the land of fairy tales!

    Reply

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