Territory

Wonders of Northern Ireland

Giant’s Causeway
Giant’s Causeway. / Stefan Klopp, Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

WorldBlue  Highlights

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 – unique example of Norman architecture style revival. Castles in Northern Ireland were built comparatively late and many country houses were fortified of 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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WorldViolet Top 25 wonders of Northern Ireland

Geological wonders

Giant’s Causeway

County Antrim

Area of outstanding natural beauty, with some 40,000 interlocking basalt columns. Tops of these columns form natural stepping stones leading into the sea.

Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland
Dunkerry Grand Cave

County Antrim

One of the most impressive sea caves in Ireland, approximately 30 m high and 27 m wide, depth unknown.

Archaeological wonders

Altagore Cashel

County Antrim

The best preserved ancient fortification – drystone ringwall.

Altagore Cashel
The Linford Barrows

County Antrim

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 earth.

Architecture wonders

Carrickfergus Castle

County Antrim

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.

Carrickfergus Castle, Northern Ireland
Belfast Castle

County Antrim

Massive stately home, built in Scottish Baronial style in 1862 – 1870 in a hill above Belfast. The building resembles a medieval castle.

Belfast Castle
Glenarm Castle

County Antrim

Exquisite castle, built in the site of older castle in 1636 in Jacobean style, rebuilt in the late 18th century in Palladian style.

Glenarm Castle
Dunluce Castle

County Antrim

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.

Dunluce Castle
The Palm House of Belfast Botanic Gardens

County Antrim

One of the oldest curvilinear cast iron glasshouses in the world, built in 1840. Plant house contains many unique plants including 400 years old Xanthorrhoea from Australia.

The Palm House of Belfast Botanic Gardens
Derry Walled City

County Derry

The best preserved walled city in Ireland, the last walls built around the city in Western Europe (1613 – 1619). Walls are 1.5 km long, 4 – 12 m tall, the whole city can be walked on walls. The city has preserved its planning since the 17th century.

Derry City from walls
Dunseverick Castle

County Antrim

Ruins of a very old castle that rises above the sea on a promontory. Saint Patrick visited the castle in the 5th century AD, important historical events have taken place here also in later times. Demolished in the 1650ies.

Dunseverick Castle
Tiveragh Hill and Lurigethan Hill

County Antrim

Two legendary fairy sites, still revered by locals and considered to have frequent supernatural sightings.

Lurigethan Hill
Down Cathedral

County Down

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.

Down Cathedral
Antrim Round Tower and Antrim Bullaun Stone

County Antrim

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.

Antrim Round Tower
Struell Wells

County Down

Four holy wells, a sacred site since at least 3rd century AD. Covered with buildings – current structures are from the 17th century.

Merchant Hotel

County Antrim

Luxurious hotel building, constructed in the middle of the 19th century.

Merchant Hotel in Belfast
Bangor Abbey

County Down

Established in 558 and developed as centre of knowledge, center of missionary trips to other areas of Northern Europe. Not active as abbey anymore.

Bangor Abbey
Hillsborough Castle

County Antrim

Stately home, built in the 18th century in Georgian style. Now – government residence.

Hillsborough Castle
Devenish Island monastery

County Fermanagh

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.

Devenish Island monastery, round tower
Gosford Castle

County Armagh

Large country house, built in the rare Norman Revival style. Built in 1819 – 1850s. House has some 150 rooms.

White Island stone carvings

County Fermanagh

Unique Medieval stone carvings in the ruins of Romanesque church. These carvings were made sometimes around 800 – 1000 AD. Amazing representation of transition from pagan beliefs to Christianity.

Layde Church (The Layd)

County Antrim

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

County Antrim

This beautiful theater house was constructed in 1895 in Oriental style.

Belfast Grand Opera House
Dalway’s Bawn

County Antrim

Late medieval fortification, the best preserved so called "Bawns and Flanker Towers". Built in 1609, consists of quadrangular fortified enclosure with three round towers.

WorldYellow Recommended books

Rick Steves Snapshot Northern Ireland


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.

Northern Ireland: A Walking Guide


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.


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