Attractions in Antrim Northern IrelandSubmitted by fatlad on Tue, 08/02/2016 - 20:47
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
119a White Park Road, Ballintoy
The rope bridge is situated at Larrybane near Ballycastle and you will be able to enjoy walking along the beautiful coastal path, which is open all year, with birds flying all around you and admire the stunning views over the sea to the Scottish coast.
This famous walkway, which crosses a 30m deep and 20m wide chasm to the tiny Carrick Island, is not for the feint hearted and it requires a certain amount of courage to cross over the Atlantic chasm on this amazing rope bridge.
Originally the rope bridge was a practical link allowing fishermen access to Carrick Island so they could catch salmon as they migrated west around the island.
The bridge is now a seasonal challenge for the intrepid visitor and, if you are bold enough to cross without thinking too much about the sea swirling below, you will qualify for a commemorative certificate.
Then, of course, there is only the small matter of returning to the mainland!
Whether you enjoy a challenge or watching your friends’ bravado, then Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is the place for you.
Flat footwear is recommended for comfort and safety.
Guided tours are available by prior arrangement for groups of 15 or more people.
Facilities include: refreshments, disabled access, viewing platform, picnic area.
Dogs are welcome on leads but are not permitted to cross the bridge.
Opening times: (weather permitting)
4th March-28th May: 10-6pm daily
29th May-3rd September: 10-7pm daily
4th September-31st October: 10-6pm daily
Last bridge crossing 45 minutes before closing.
Admission price to the Rope Bridge
Adult: £2.50 Child: £1.30 Family: £6.30 Group: £1.90
Belfast Castle is situated on the slopes of the Cave Hill and this familiar landmark overlooks the city of Belfast on a site some 400 feet above sea level.
The Castle was built in the late 12th century by the Normans and the history is truly amazing.
Visitors will be able to relax, after exploring the Castle and grounds and dine in The Cellar Restaurant which is renowned for its excellent wide ranging menu, using fresh local produce, to create a varied choice of dishes which are served by friendly staff.
Wedding Receptions, conferences, dinners and other functions are all catered for in a choice of elegant rooms which have been named to commemorate historical figures associated with Belfast Castle over the years.
This is a wonderful place to visit and no-one could fail to enjoy the experience of touring inside this magnificent Castle and grounds.
Admission is free to the Castle and it is open daily.
Please contact for further information.
Belfast City Hall
Belfast City Hall image
This magnificent historical building dominates Donegall Square in Belfast and is one of the grandest buildings in the city centre and is described as an Edwardian masterpiece, although construction on the building actually began in 1898, in response to Queen Victoria's visit in 1849 when she gave it city status.
The building stands in public gardens, covering around 1.5 acres, and is built in Classical Renaisance style in Portland stone around a quadrangular courtyard.
Visitors enter via the stone port-cochère into the marble-lined Octogan Vestibule, where there is a marble memorial of Frederick Robert Chichester, Earl of Belfast (1827-1853). On the south-east side of the vestibule are two stunning stained glass windows, memorials to the officers, NCOs and men of the North Irish Horse regiment who died in both world wars.
A grand staircase in Carrara, Pavonazzo and Brescia marbles leads up from the vestibule. An elaborate domed ceiling is above you, and seven stained glass windows, including one emblazoned with the Belfast coat of arms, and portraits of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra on either side.
The Principal Landing and Dome is also decorated in marble, with four main arches leading up to the drum of the dome. This is decorated with signs of the zodiac, plus the ship and the bell from the city's coat of arms. On this level there is also a mural by Belfast artist John Luke, commissioned to mark the 1951 Festival of Britain.
The Visitors' Galleries, in carved oak, look onto The Council Chamber which is also decorated with wood panelling and stained glass windows, plus two chairs used by King George V and Queen Mary at the opening of the first Parliament of Northern Ireland in the Council Chamber at City Hall on 22 June, 1921.
The 120-foot Great Hall has a vaulted ceiling and windows that depict three monarchs that have visited the city - King William III, Queen Victoria and King Edward VII. The hall was nearly destroyed during a German air raid in 1941, but fortunately the windows had already been removed for safe-keeping and reinstalled at a later date.
There are also ornate reception rooms and an east staircase with several memorials and statues and there is a gift shop for visitors.
Outside is the Garden of Remembrance, with a cenotaph, and the public gardens are a popular place to relax in the summer sun.
Civil wedding ceremonies take place here and the Last Night of the Proms takes place outside every summer.
Admission is free and guided tours of the City Hall are conducted:
June – September Monday – Friday
11.00am, 2.00pm, 3.00pm
October – May Monday – Friday
and each tour lasts approximately 3/4hour
(There are no tours on Bank and Public Holidays)
Access facilities include; ramps front and rear, access by lift to all floors (the main passenger lift has voice enunciation and embossed lift controls), adapted toilets, automatic door openers on main access routes, induction loop system at Reception and in main rooms and the friendly staff are trained in Sign Language (BSL).
Special Group Tours may be booked in advance by telephone, please contact for any further information.
Botanic Avenue, College Park
The Belfast Botanic Gardens is situated in a thriving and attractive area of South Belfast and is a joy to visit with its unique glasshouses, tropical plants, outdoor plantings and mature trees.
The Palm House is one of the earliest examples of a curvilinear and cast iron glasshouse. Its construction was initiated by the Belfast Botanical and Horticultural Society in the 1830s.
The two wings were completed in 1840, and were built by Richard Turner of Dublin, who later built the Great Palm House at Kew Gardens.
The Palm House has acquired a reputation for excellent plant collections and the cool wing houses all year round displays of colour and scent using plants such as geranium, fuchsia, begonia and bulb displays.
The stove wing and dome area contain a range of temperate and tropical plants with particular emphasis on species of economic value.
The gardens contain the Tropical Ravine, Rose Gardens and fine herbacious borders and other horticultural features in the gardens include an arboretum, a small alpine garden and ornamental flower beds.
Admission is free and opening times are:
April - September:
Monday - Friday 10.00-12.00 & 13.00-17.00
Saturday & Sunday 14.00-17.00
October - March:
Monday - Friday 10.00-12.00 & 13.00-16.00
Saturday & Sunday 14.00-16.00
Public Holidays - as Saturday & Sunday
The Botanic Gardens are popular with residents, students and tourists and events such as musical concerts, lifestyle festivals and illuminated evenings are held.
Please contact for further information.
Grand Opera House
Great Victoria Street
This late Victorian masterpiece was designed by leading theatre architect, Frank Matcham, and opened in 1895.
The lavish interior is a glorious and unique combination of the Victorian architects, painters and craftsmen of that era.
The Grand Opera House was restored in 1980 and is the premier theatre of Northern Ireland, bringing world class entertainment for your enjoyment and pleasure.
Ideally situated close to the bus/coach/train station and taxi rank, the theatre also has wheelchair access.
Whatever your favourite choice is, musicals, opera, ballet, comedy, concerts, theatre and pantomine you will find them all here.
During the interval have a drink in the bar overlooking the pavement of one of Belfast's liveliest thoroughfares.
This magnificent theatre was UK Winner of Barclays/TMA Most Welcoming Theatre Award and is well worth visiting.
Tours are available, which last approximately 90 minutes, where you will be able to see the complex workings of this magnificent building and experience life from the other side of the curtain.
Please contact for details of forthcoming productions and further information.
Queen's University Belfast
For more than 150 years, Queen’s has combined innovation and excellence in teaching and research with its role of serving the local community.
As a leading university, and the premier research university in Ireland, it is an institution with a world-class academic reputation of which Northern Ireland can be justly proud.
Making people feel at home is a marvellous characteristic of the citizens of Belfast, and Queen’s enthusiastically embraces this attribute by playing a pivotal role in the life of Northern Ireland through its contribution to the professions, the arts and culture, social development and economic prosperity.
Belfast Festival at Queen's 2006 will reach its 44th anniversary this year and with each passing year it has become the largest festival of its kind in Ireland and brings the very best of International art to Belfast as well as international attention to the city's dynamic arts practitioners.
The Festival covers all art forms including theatre, comedy, classical music, dance, literature, jazz, visual arts, folk music and popular music, attracting over 50,000 visitors.
Please contact for further information about Queen's.
Saint George’s Retail Market
12-20 East Bridge Street
Saint George’s Market is located opposite Belfast's Waterfront Hall and the Hilton Hotel in Oxford Street, which runs parallel to the River Lagan.
From the rear of Belfast City Hall walk eastwards down May Street for a short while, cross over Victoria Street and the market is directly in front of you.
Saint George's Market is one of Belfast’s oldest attractions, built between 1890 and 1896, and is one of the best markets in the UK and Ireland.
It has been voted one of the top five UK markets in 2006 by the National Association of British Market Authorities, 3rd Best Food Market in the UK in Observer’s Waitrose Food Awards 2004 and has also won the Supreme Award for Contribution to Food in Ireland 2002 by the Irish Food Writers Guild.
Following its £4.5m refurbishment in 1997, this charming Victorian building offers one of the most vibrant and colorful events in Belfast and is home to some of the finest fresh produce this country has to offer.
St George's Market is now also a prime venue for; craft and antique markets, exhibitions, concerts, boxing events and fashion shows, with something to suit everyone, it is an experience not to be missed.
The Friday Market dates back to 1604 and opens at 6.00am every week and runs until approximately 1.00pm.
There are 248 market stalls selling a variety of products from apples to books and antiques to shark meat. It is this assorted mix that attracts thousands of visitors every week. The fish section alone contains 23 fish stalls and holds the reputation for being the leading retail fish market on the island of Ireland.
The City Food & Garden Market takes place in St George's every Saturday from 9.00am until 3.00pm. Visitors can enjoy the best food, tastes and smells brought by local producers including: fish landed at Portavogie, pork from Cookstown, beef from Armagh, venison and pheasant in season and local organic vegetables.
As well as these local delicacies, the market also offers a huge range of continental and speciality foods such as: wild boar, tapas, cheeses, cured meats, teas and coffees from around the world, caribbean delights and delicious French pastries and crepes.
The Saturday market also has a number of quality flower stalls, including some of Northern Ireland's leading florists.
You can sample the products or simply relax with a coffee and a newspaper whilst listening to some of the best local musicians as they play live.
In addition to the large stallage area the market also contains six retail outlets and one of Belfast’s best restaurants, , which is situated on the first floor mezzanine area and is accessed via the Oxford Street entrance. It is open 12.00 noon to 1.00am daily.
There is a free market shuttle-bus running every 20 minutes between the City Centre (outside Boots the Chemist, Donegall Place or HMV, Castle Place) and the market, which depart at 8am on Friday and every 20 minutes thereafter. Buses depart from 9.00am on Saturday and every 20 minutes thereafter
Please contact for any further information.
The Odyssey Trust Company
2 Queen's Quay
This is a state of the art venue for major league sports and live entertainment and is home to the Harp Lager Belfast Giants.
Odyssey Arena is a purpose build venue which can seat up to 10,000 people.
The venue is designed to be a multifunctional venue offering the opportunity to host concerts, run sports events or exhibitions.
The arena has an international standard 200m hydraulic running track and its floor can be frozen to give an ice-floor which can be used for ice hockey or other sporting events.
Situated in the heart of Belfast it has 140 amazing interactive exhibits which offers visitors of all ages hours of fantastic fun and enjoyment.
Northern Ireland’s first large format cinema, has arrived at Odyssey, the Sheridan IMAX Cinema, which is capable of screening 2D and 3D films.
The IMAX experience offers the most advanced and compelling film experiences in the world and features include a screen taller than four double-decker buses and a six channel surround sound system which is outputted on over forty speakers.
The 373 tiered seating auditorium ensures everyone has a complete view of the screen and there is wheelchair access.
The crystal clear images fill the viewer’s peripheral vision creating the impression of being at the centre of the on-screen action whether climbing the world’s tallest mountains, exploring it’s deepest oceans or travelling through space.
Films are both entertaining and educational and this is a unique venue for educational group trips, clubs and society trips, corporate events or corporate and family fun days.
There are special group rates available and brochures are available upon request.
A visit to this venue will always be remembered with joy.
Please contact for further information on forthcoming events, or visit the website to find out the latest news.
Ulster Museum image
The Ulster Museum is home to an amazing range of collections of fine and decorative arts, from Irish, British and International paintings and sculptures to stunning displays of ceramics, glass and silver, together with International touring shows.
The staff are friendly and will ensure that you enjoy a wonderful experience during your visit where you will be able to discover the richness of the heritage of the North of Ireland and its people from as far back as the end of the Ice Age.
In the sciences galleries you will be able to explore the diversity of the natural history of the island, its geology, animals and plants.
There are permanent galleries and temporary exhibitions to explore and the Museum has lots of family trails and activities to interest children as well as year-round workshops, weekend events and holiday activities. Everything to ensure that you enjoy a fascinating voyage of discovery during your visit.
Admission to the Museum is free.
All family activities are free and most of the adult events are also free.
Facilities include a cafe, shop, Bureau de Change, family/baby care room, access and facilities for visitors with disabilities and portable loop systems for hearing-impaired visitors
Guide dogs are welcome.
Please contact for further information.
The Ulster Museum is closed until Spring 2009 for major redevelopment.
Giants Causeway and Visitor Centre
44 Causeway Road
Northern Ireland's No.1 attraction is the Giants Causeway, where you can step into the footprints of the 'Giant' himself, Finn MacCool.
Situated on the Antrim coast road the Giants Causeway is one of the wonders of the natural world. The spectacular rock formation is made from thousands of columns of basalt rock when, approximately 60 million years ago, underground volcanic explosions forced the molten basalt to the surface which, as it cooled and contracted, formed into the polygonal columns that are found in the area today. The columns form cliffs and irregular surfaces and the formation extends beneath the sea.
There is a Visitor and Information Centre offering information on both the natural history of the Giants causeway with interpretive displays, AV theatre and general tourist information.
The coastal scenery in this area is some of the most beautiful and awe inspiring that you are likely to find anywhere and the majestic cliffs and inaccessible bays combine with myth and legend and give inspiration to many.
Amongst this breathtaking landscape you will find isolated ruins, kelp walls and shoreline fields bearing testament to the hard life that farmers, fishermen and their families endured in the past and dotted around the coast you'll find small sheltered harbours and slipways, fishermen's cottages and rock formations that you will never forget.
National Trust shop and tea room
Minibus service is provided at a small charge to take visitors to the Causeway Stones
Open for walking all year round
There is an admission charge to the car park and audio visual.
Specialist guided tours operate June - August and booking is necessary.
Tours are also available out of season and booking is essential.
Please contact by telephone for further information and tour prices.
Old Bushmills Distillery
2 Distillery Road
The Old Bushmills' Distillery is located on the edge of Bushmill Town and is the oldest licensed whiskey distillery in the world, having received its distillery charter in 1608 AD.
The Distillery can be visited on any day of the week but to see the factory in full action, Monday to Thursday is best.
It really is worth taking advantage of the one hour guided tour when you can learn the craft and skills of making an Irish Single Malt whiskey.
Make the discovery of the secrets of the special water from St.Columb's Rill, the malted Irish barley, triple distillation in copper stills and ageing for long years in oak casks and enjoy a complimentary glass of the finished product.
The Town of Bushmill is located not far from the Giant's Causeway and Dunluce Castle.
Please contact for further details.
Carrickfergus Castle is a perfectly preserved Norman castle and is probably the earliest stone castle in all Ireland, built by John de Courcy, after the Norman invasion of Ireland in the 12th century it first appeared in the official English records in 1210 when the notorious King John laid siege to it and took control of what was then Ulster's premier strategic garrison.
The walls of the castle are a metre thick with several impressive defence features; arrow slits, twin portcullises and a "murder hole" which was used for raining boiling tar down on stranded enemies below.
The castle is the main attraction in Carrickfergus, situated on the sea front overlooking Belfast Lough, and there is an exhibition showing the history of the castle in the Keep, at the centre of the castle, showing intimate details of medieval life, including the contents of huge feasts and clothes worn during the period.
A room is laid out as a banqueting hall, where private groups can come and party, and on the top floor there's an enormous chessboard and a chest of medieval clothes which you can dress up in!
Carrickfergus Castle is a striking feature of the landscape from land, sea and air and greets all visitors with its strength and menace.
The Castle represents over 800 years of military might as it was besieged in turn by the Scots, Irish, English and French, the Castle saw action right up to World War II.
Visitors can relax in the cafe or purchase some memorabilia in the gift shop after enjoying the tour.
Wheelchair access is limited.
Children under 16 cannot be admitted unless they are accompanied by an adult.
Please contact for details of opening times and admission prices, or visit the website.
Red Curfew Tower
Corner of Mill Street
Centre of Cushendall
The red sandstone Curfew Tower stands in the centre of Cushendall and was built by Francis Turnley in 1817, as
"a place of confinement for idlers and rioters"
Francis Turnley, landlord of the village, was born at Richmond Lodge, County Down in 1765, his father was also Francis, and his mother was Catherine Black, a member of a wealthy family.
A position was obtained for him by his father in the East India Company and he went to China in 1796 where he amassed a great fortune of £70,000.
On his return, he bought two estates, one of which included the village of Cushendall and the Curfew Tower is perhaps the best known Turnley landmark.
Elaborate and eccentric instructions were laid down for its operation and Dan McBride, an army pensioner, was given the job of permanent garrison and was armed with one musket, a bayonet, a brace of pistols and a pike thirteen feet long.
On each side of the Tower were projecting windows which had openings for pouring molten lead on unsuspecting attackers below.
The Curfew Tower is now owned by the pop band, KLF, who recently opened it up to artists who sometimes reside in the building.
Glenarm Castle is the ancestral home of the McDonnell's, Earls of Antrim and former Lords of the Isles and Glens, and is presently inhabited by the 15th Earl of Antrim who opens his castle to the public annually.
Nestled beside the village of Glenarm, on the picturesque Antrim Coast, overlooking the Irish Sea and the Mull of Kintyre, the castle is open for public tours.
The Barbican Gate of Glenarm Castle is a favourite site for visitors who stop on the Castle Street Bridge to photograph or sketch the turrets and battlements of this portcullised tower.
The Castle Gardens with their famous yew circle is open to visitors from May - September.
The Walled Garden is set among an avenue of ancient lime trees and this secluded 17th Century garden offers four and a half acres of tranquil beauty, an ornamental herb garden, serpentine hedgerows, water garden and cascading flowers with more pleasant surprises in the Victorian Glasshouse and historical 'bothies'.
Glenarm Castle Estate spans the glen and has been designated an 'Area of Special Scientific Interest' and has adopted an environmentally friendly policy to ensure the safety of the glen's natural resources and wildness.
The estate is home to Aberdeen Angus cattle and grey-faced sheep and, as you travel down the glen from the open moorlands of the Antrim Plateau, you will see a haven of wildlife with wild foxes, pheasants and rabbits.
Open Days for Corporate Entertainment, 4 x 4 Off-Road Driving, Fishing and Shooting are available.
Glenarm provide quality shooting, pheasant, duck and partridge, for corporate guns. Snipe and woodcock is also available the day before or after, the driven day and Glenarm Glen is ideal for presenting quality high birds, ranging from 150-350 bird days.
In order to secure shooting for the season ahead booking ten months in advance is recommended.
Please contact for further information, or visit the website.