View Full Version : Northern Ireland. Day trip from Belfast
2nd Sep 2011, 20:36
I have two days in NI later in the month and am looking for a full day drive for one day, starting and finishing at BHD (George Best Airport), and about a half day for the next, starting at BHD and finishing at BFS (Aldergrove) about 1500.
Places I know I want to go to are Giant's Causeway, Bushmills (adjacent anyway), and Portstewart. A friend has suggested Enniskillen but she's from there and therefore biased!
I've been to Belfast city centre so that's of no interest this time, I'm more interested in scenery and picturesque villages.
Suggestions appreciated, and if anyone has any control over the weather, give me a couple of nice sunny days, please!
2nd Sep 2011, 21:09
If you fancy a good days driving head across the border to Donegal and head down towards the Galway area, good scenery and reasonably quiet roads but not great quality,little motorway, just one lane each way,but if the weather is good you wll have great views and clean fresh air at least,go to [url]www.failteireland and for a detailed map of the area, this time of year the roads will be quiet but some or all of the tourist spots may be closed.hope you enjoy your visit.
Ok, you have three main areas to visit...the North Coast, the Mournes and the Fermanagh Lakes. If you have one full and one half day, I think you'll only get two done, so that choice is down to yourself.
The Mournes you could do in a half day from Belfast...to Newcastle is only about 45 minutes, and then another hour will get you into the mountains and out again. Stunning scenery, and some nice spots to stop for lunch or coffee. You could always come back via Moira or Hillsborough...two nice small towns.
The North Coast is amongst the most beautiful places I've ever seen, and I say that as someone who has travelled quite a bit. If you get sunshine, it is unbeatable. From Belfast head to Larne, then stick to the coast the whole way up to Castlerock or even Londonderry. That's a good three or four hour drive (if done at an enjoyable pace), with another more direct run back to Belfast of about an hour and a half. Try to catch a tour of the distillery in Bushmills, spend some time at the Giants Causeway, walk across the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge, and have an ice-cream at Morelli's in Portstewart!
The Lakes are a personal favourite of mine, but it's a two hour drive there...and that's before you start touring. Some great things to see (the old flying boat base at Castle Archdale, the Marble Arch caves, Belleek Pottery, Enniskillen town itself), but it's maybe better suited for when you have a few more days...
Oh, and if you like golf, just come for a week! Two of the top five links courses anywhere (Royal County Down and Royal Portrush).
It's a great wee place...and us locals are generally pretty friendly. For a wee while we didn't get on with each other that well, but we always liked visitors :ok: But we're all friends now anyway! :p
Bang Or West
2nd Sep 2011, 23:30
Head to Larne? Jesus man, I'd sooner recommend a visit to Mogadishu or Luanda....
I didn't say stop in Larne! It's just a good starting point...
4th Sep 2011, 09:22
Thank you all for the ideas. The North Coast itinerary is definitely on the agenda, and then I'll most likely do the Mournes. Just need to look on the map. I don't want to end up spending the entire time in the car, given the likely speeds I'll do in order to enjoy the drive, I don't really want to cover more than 200 miles a day, to allow time to stop and stroll.
I'd rather spend the entire time in Ulster - I've been to the Republic and this is a trip to the north nad I'd rather stay there, although it is tempting to cross and go down to Galway.
Of course if the weather is crap it all becomes a bit academic, I might stay in the hotel with a good book!
If the weather is unkind, you can still spend a good couple of days in Belfast. Some nice restaurants now, and the city centre is all pretty compact and walkable. The museum is worth a visit, and you can get a bus tour round the sights. Also, weather on the North Coast is often better than in Belfast!
Feel free to PM me for any specific questions and enjoy!
6th Sep 2011, 12:49
If you want to stay in Ulster your best bet is Donegal. Stunning regardless of where you are in the county.
From the Rosses and Gaeltacht in the North to surfing on the West and to hometown of Rory Gallagher in Ballyshannon in the south of the county.
Throw in a climb up mount Errigal slap bang in the middle of the county and you have yourself a great weekend.
Enniskillen's good...take the boat trip to Devinish Island,
or a flight from St. Angelo airport over the lakes...beautiful approach with the round tower on short finals.
Also, Marble Arch Caves are worth a trip - no special equipment required!
Marble Arch Caves European Global Geopark (http://www.marblearchcavesgeopark.com/)
As previously mentioned, the carrickarede rope bridge, the giants causeway and the bushmills factory all worth a look, as is the coast drive from the giants causeway to Belfast.
7th Sep 2011, 16:07
Hope you enjoy your stay weather very bad this year. Miss Middle East where I lived for ten wonderful years. Happy motoring. Ameera. ex cabin crew.
14th Sep 2011, 19:27
How was your trip? Did you take any advice?
15th Sep 2011, 23:18
I haven't been yet, will be going this weekend and will publish results (the publishable bits anyway!).
19th Sep 2011, 16:30
A pint of Guiness in the Harbour Bar Portrush, just one though, you`re driving!!
30th Sep 2011, 06:19
Thank you all for the suggestions. I had a lovely two days and packed in a lot.
Started with dinner at Wine and Co. in Holywood and was just able to walk back to my hotel after a bottle of Oz red enjoyed in memory of my late friend.
Day 1 : Headed towards Londonderry on the M2/A6 then on the small roads up to Limavady, then Magilligan Point where I had lunch, (and made a very expensive 'phone call to SA as I didn't realise until too late that my UK O2 'phone had picked up the ROI network from across the water so costing about 40p a minute instead of about 10) then to Coleraine, Portstewart, Portrush, stopped at tearoom and Dunluce Castle and had a look round the area, then Bushmills, the Causeway, then Ballycastle and down the coast to Larne and back to Holywood.
Day 2: Downpatrick, Newcastle, Kilkeel then up through the mountains towards Hilltown and then headed North to Aldergrove.
Weather was good, scenery stunning, good roads, civilised drivers, lovely polite helpful people everywhere (except the oriental gentleman at the service station refreshment area who was too mean to give me a second small pot of milk for my tea.) I did a bit of walking but time was short so spent more time at the wheel then I would have liked but it means a lot to see next time. What a beautiful part of the world it is.
24th Oct 2011, 17:05
I see your Day 1 was almost the reverse of the same trip myself and wife did a couple of years ago. Starting in Derry this time wending our way up the coast, visiting Coleraine where my wife did her masters, and lived in an area with red white and blue paving stones! Then to Portstewart/Portrush where I learned of rowdy parties she attended that occasionally required a visit from the RUC. She seemed a quiet lady when I met her!
Then onto the causeway and rope bridge both of which which were choc a bloc because it was a bank holiday in the Republic.
It's a nice trip.