Wonders of Northern Ireland
Although one of the best-known landmarks of Northern Ireland is the amazing Giant’s Causeway, there are numerous other amazing monuments.
The most amazing wonders of Northern Ireland are:
- Early Christian monuments – remnants of ancient monasteries, churches, and cemeteries contain unique values – such as stone sculptures combining pagan and Christian symbols.
- Megaliths – numerous stone circles and dolmens.
- Country houses – Northern Ireland is rich with diverse and magnificent country houses, including such amazing structure as Gosford Castle – a unique example of Norman architecture style revival. Castles in Northern Ireland were built comparatively late and many country houses were fortified or were built similar to medieval castles. Thus there is not easy to draw a line between true medieval castles and country houses.
Map with the described wonders of Northern Ireland
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Top 25 wonders of Northern Ireland
Area of outstanding natural beauty, with some 40,000 interlocking basalt columns. Tops of these columns form natural stepping stones leading into the sea.
Dunkerry Grand Cave
One of the most impressive sea caves in Ireland, approximately 30 m high and 27 m wide, with an unknown depth.
The best preserved ancient fortification – a drystone ringwall.
The Linford Barrows
Mysterious earthworks of unknown age. Two circular mounds (13 and 16 m diameter) that are surrounded by a deep ditch and higher outer bank – similar to large stamps pressed in the earth.
One of the best preserved medieval structures in Ireland, constructed in 1177 by Normans, since 1210 – English castle. Castle has not been abandoned and as a result, represents a valuable monument of architecture and history. For the most part, surrounded by water.
Massive stately home, built in Scottish Baronial style in 1862 – 1870 on a hill above Belfast. The building resembles a medieval castle.
Exquisite castle, built on the site of an older castle in 1636 in Jacobean style, rebuilt in the late 18th century in Palladian style.
Magnificent castle ruins on a promontory, overlooking the sea, accessible via a bridge. Currently visible structures built in the early 16th century. Abandoned as the sea is washing out the cliff. Ghost stories.
The Palm House of Belfast Botanic Gardens
One of the oldest curvilinear cast iron glasshouses in the world, built in 1840. The plant house contains many unique plants including 400 years old Xanthorrhoea from Australia.
Derry Walled City
The best preserved walled city in Ireland, the last walls built around the city in Western Europe (1613 – 1619). The walls are 1.5 km long, and 4 – 12 m tall, the whole city can be walked on walls. The city has preserved its planning since the 17th century.
Ruins of a very old castle that rises above the sea on a promontory. Saint Patrick visited the castle in the 5th century AD, and important historical events have taken place here also in later times. Demolished in the 1650ies.
Tiveragh Hill and Lurigethan Hill
Two legendary fairy sites, still revered by locals and considered to have frequent supernatural sightings.
First time mentioned in written sources in 1124, when the existing cathedral was repaired and enlarged. Since then it has been destroyed and rebuilt numerous times, nowadays the oldest parts are from the 13th century. Contains medieval crosses.
Antrim Round Tower and Antrim Bullaun Stone
Remnants of the ancient monastic settlement. The round tower was built around the 10th century AD and served as a bell tower and fortification. It is 28 m tall. Burned and abandoned in 1147.
Four holy wells, a sacred site since at least the 3rd century AD. Covered with buildings – current structures are from the 17th century.
Luxurious hotel building, constructed in the middle of the 19th century.
Established in 558 and developed as a center of knowledge, a center of missionary trips to other areas of Northern Europe. Not active as abbey anymore.
Stately home, built in the 18th century in the Georgian style. Now – government residence.
Devenish Island monastery
Interesting site of an early Christian monastery. Contains a 30 m tall Romanesque round tower from the 12th century and ruins from the 6th century.
Large country house, built in the rare Norman Revival style. Built in 1819 – 1850s. House has some 150 rooms.
White Island stone carvings
Unique Medieval stone carvings in the ruins of the Romanesque church. These carvings were made sometimes around 800 – 1000 AD. Amazing representation of the transition from pagan beliefs to Christianity.
Layde Church (The Layd)
Ruins of a church. Church was last built here in the 17th century, but the site has a very long history. Two Celtic crosses – including Cross Na Nagan – pagan holestone "Christianised" into Celtic cross. Ghost stories.
Belfast Grand Opera House
This beautiful theater house was constructed in 1895 in the Oriental style.
Late medieval fortification, the best preserved so-called "Bawns and Flanker Towers". Built in 1609, consists of a quadrangular fortified enclosure with three round towers.
In this compact guide, Rick Steves and Pat O’Connor offer their best travel tips on Northern Ireland, including Belfast, Portrush, the Antrim Coast, Derry, and County Donegal. Visit the Ulster Museum in Belfast, tour the Dunluce Castle or Giant’s Causeway along the Antrim Coast, or peruse Derry’s political murals. You’ll get firsthand advice on the best sights, eating, sleeping, and nightlife, and the maps and self-guided tours will ensure you make the most of your experience.
This revised guide presents top-class walking routes in Northern Ireland. From rugged mountain peaks to spectacular coastal scenery, from challenging hill walks to shorter woodland and waterside excursions, there is something for everyone.