The Selfish Guide to Northern Ireland
[This is a separate guide from the one for our Game of Thrones tour in Northern Ireland and Croatia but there is overlap between the two.]
After having such a wonderful time in the Republic of Ireland during our Selfish Year, Mr. Selfish and I decided to spend some time in Northern Ireland as well. Although we flew in and out of Dublin, we still spent a good amount of time in Northern Ireland proper.
We visited Belfast, the northern coast around Portrush, and Londonderry. Here was our itinerary:
[Disclaimer: Mr. Selfish and I primarily planned our stops in Northern Ireland as a part of our Game of Thrones tour. However, even if you are not into having a GoT nerd fest, you can still visit these sights, because they were all beautiful in their own right.]
On Our Way to Belfast
Similarly to our trip in the Republic, Mr. Selfish and I rented a car for the time we spent in Northern Ireland.
During our drive between Dublin and Belfast, we stopped at Tollymore Forest Park. It was a park with an untouched forest and tons of quaint old bridges.
Next, Castle Ward and its grounds were quite pretty. Although we showed up a bit late, it was nice to just stroll around.
Finally, Mr. Selfish and I stopped at Mourne Seafood Bar for a fabulous lunch of fish and chips and seafood chowder. I highly recommend it!
One Night in Belfast
Mr. Selfish and I admittedly didn’t spend that much time in Belfast, but we did truly enjoy St. George’s Market, especially that Belly Busters breakfast sandwich!
The Hilton Belfast was adequate and had a good location.
Along the Northern Coast
After leaving Belfast, the real beauty of Northern Ireland started to show itself. The northern coast was absolutely stunning, and certainly rivaled our drive around the Dingle Peninsula (which was magnificent).
Of course, the biggest attraction on the northern coast is Giant’s Causeway. It deserves all of the hype that surrounds it. If it hadn’t been raining, Mr. Selfish and I would have spent the entire day there hiking.
Unfortunately, the renowned Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge was closed due to strong winds when we were visiting. Based on word of mouth and reputation, I definitely would have gone there if we could have.
Right next to the Bridge is Ballintoy Harbor, which is definitely worth a visit. It was stormy and brooding while we were there, but it was still beautiful.
Mr. Selfish and I did manage to take a short hike near Murlough Bay, which was striking the day we were there.
A little inland from the coast is the Dark Hedges, which is a row of trees planted by a Northern Ireland family over a century ago. Even if you are not a GoT fan, they looked pretty epic.
Lastly, Mr. Selfish and I did some brief hiking in Castlerock near Mussenden Temple and Downhill Beach. It was lovely, and I wish we had had more time to explore Downhill House.
Mr. Selfish and I were happy to visit Northern Ireland – even though the weather was a bit damp and cold while we were there. We figured it was payback for the fabulous weather we enjoyed in the Republic of Ireland. In any case, Northern Ireland is definitely worth a visit!
Here is our Google map for Northern Ireland:
[Disclaimer: This was our personal Google map for Northern Ireland. It is possible that not all of the pins are accurate since we did not visit all of them.]