Newstalk
Newstalk

16.37 15 Mar 2019


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Newstalk has been on the road all this week discovering the hidden delights of Northern Ireland.

We have been broadcasting from locations right across the North to get a taste for the stunning locations on offer - from the breathtaking beauty of Lough Erne to the unforgettable Titanic Belfast experience.

To celebrate, we've put together a guided tour of some of our favourite hidden gems to get you ready for your next adventure off the beaten track in Northern Ireland.

Tollymore Forest Park, County Down

An absolute must-see for any would-be adventurer, Tollymore Forest Park covers an area of almost 630 hectares at the foot of the Mourne Mountains.

Scattered with curiosities, both natural and artificial, the park is known for its garden follies - quirky structures including gothic style gate piers, bridges, grottos and caves, some of which date back to the early 1700s.

The beautiful forest will be familiar to fans of HBO's Game of Thrones as the location where we first met the fearsome White Walkers, and its panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the sea live long in the memory.

Hillsborough Castle and Gardens Northern Ireland Hillsborough Castle and Gardens

Hillsborough Castle, County down

The 250-year-old Hillsborough Castle has seen its fair share of history since it was built in 1770s - and it is due to open as a year round attraction on July 1st.

The Queen of England's official residence in Northern Ireland expects to welcome around 200,000 visitors a year when its £20m (€22.4m) makeover is complete.

The jewel in the crown of this beautiful estate is its four-acre walled gardens which are bursting with colour, woodlands and wandering waterways.

Peace Maze Castlewellan Forest Park Northern Ireland The Peace Maze at Castlewellan Forest Park

 

The Peace Maze, County Down

The Peace Maze is settled within the picturesque surrounds of Castlewellan Forest Park, which features scenic walking routes and 27km of mountain bike trails and one of Northern Ireland's most famous lakes.

Arguably the parks key attraction is the Peace Maze - one of the largest permanent hedge mazes in the world.

Planted in 2000 to represent Northern Ireland's path to a peaceful future, visitors can attempt to find their way to the peace bell at the centre of the maze.

C.S. Lewis Square Aslan at C.S. Lewis Square

On the Trail of C.S. Lewis in Belfast

Next up is a visit to Northern Ireland's capital city of Belfast - where Narnia author C.S Lewis spent the first ten years of his childhood.

It was during these formative years that the world-renowned author began to dream up his fantastical stories and today, you can follow in his footsteps through the east of the city.

Start your tour at C.S. Lewis Square where seven sculptures, created by Irish artist Maurice Harron and based on characters from the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, are on display.

Blackhead Lightkeepers House Northern Ireland Blackhead Lightkeepers House

Blackhead Lightkeeper’s House, County Antrim

Just half-an-hour from Belfast, you can bed down for the night at Blackhead Lightkeeper's House.

Situated right on the Causeway Coastal Route and set on the edge of a majestic cliff overlooking Belfast Lough, this gem is the perfect base to explore the surrounding area.

Visitors can follow the dramatic coastline by walking the Blackhead Path which takes you past caves and coves towards Victorian seaside resort of Whitehead.

Gobbins Cliff Path Northern Ireland The Gobbins Cliff Path

The Gobbins, County Antrim

Next up is a two-and-a-half hour guided walk along the dramatic Gobbins Coastal Path.

Originally opened in the early 1900s the path has been recently restored to offer visitors a chance to experience first-hand the coarse beauty of the Northern Irish coast.

Be prepared to navigate suspension bridges, tunnels and pathways on this unique experience with dramatic views.

Rathlin Island Northern Ireland Rathlin Island off the coast of County Antrim in Northern Ireland

Rathlin Island, County Antrim

No trip to Northern Ireland is complete without a visit to the rugged Rathlin Island.

Visitors who make the 9.5km voyage from the town of Ballycastle can expect to see a wealth of beautiful birdlife - including the island's famous colony of puffins.

Those who walk, bike or bus their way across the island can make their way to Mill Bay where some of the resident seals may be basking on the beach.

White Island, County Fermanagh

White Island is settled in the beautiful surrounds of Castle Archdale Bay, just off the east shore of Lower Lough Erne.

The island is home to the ruins of a 12th Century church with a fine Romanesque doorway and eight archaic carved stone figures which are carved into the walls.

Amazingly, the figures were used as building stones when the church was first constructed, meaning they pre-date the church itself.

Discover Northern Ireland - say hello to more.

Discover Northern Ireland


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