Explore Northern Ireland’s past right through to the present day, our museums, interpretative centres and historical sites are second to none and our castles are our crowning glory! Northern Ireland is steeped in history – not only is it the birthplace of Titanic, home to the patron Saint of Ireland and the world famous Giant’s Causeway, it is also jam packed with historic hidden gems and sites waiting to be explored. Check out our must-see guide to some of our most historic places to visit.
The Walled City
2013 certainly is the year to pay a visit to Derry-Londonderry as it has the title of 2013 UK City of Culture. No visit to the Maiden City is complete without taking a walk along the historic walls. The Walls, which celebrate their 400th year anniversary in 2013 are approximately 1.5km in circumference, form a walkway around the inner city and provide a unique promenade to view the layout of the original town which still preserves its Renaissance Style street plan to this day.
Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre
The brand new Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre opened in the summer of 2012 and has been an excellent addition to the world famous site. Visitor’s can explore the stunning new Visitor Centre before taking those giant’s steps on the world famous stones! The new visitor centre which fits seamlessly into the surrounding landscape is filled ancient history & lots of interactive information on the area’s abundant myths, rich history and unique geology.
St. Patrick Centre
The Saint Patrick Centre is the only Exhibition in the World about Ireland’s Patron Saint. Located in Downpatrick in Co. Down the centre explores the legacy of Saint Patrick and his life. If you wish to find out more about the patron saint why not explore the St Patrick’s Trail, the trail can start and finish at any one of the sites along the way which have been identified as having some connection to St Patrick’s life, mission or legacy.
Come face to face with dinosaurs, meet an Egyptian Mummy and see modern masterpieces with a visit to the Ulster Museum in Belfast. As Northern Ireland’s treasure house of the past and present, the museum is home to a rich collection of art, history and natural sciences and free to all visitors. From Ireland to the South Pacific, ancient relics to hands on activities, the museum offers something for everyone from the simply curious to the enthusiast.
Ulster Folk and Transport Museum
Step back in Time this midterm at the Ulster American Folk Park. Immerse yourself in the world famous story of Irish emigration at the museum that brings it to life. Follow the emigrant trail as you journey from the thatched cottages of Ulster, on board a full scale emigrant sailing ship leading to the log cabins of the American Frontier. Meet an array of costumed characters on your way with traditional crafts to show, tales to tell and food to share.
Explore our historic Castles
When it comes to Castles in Northern Ireland – we have some of the finest on the island! The earliest are from Norman times, but fortified homes continued to be built well into the 17th century. Centuries of war, siege and expansion, have left a well-preserved legacy which is still there to be explored! Make 2013 the year that you discover some of our historic places & spaces. Here’s a selection of some our finest Castles.
Dunluce Castle is located dramatically close to a headland that plunges straight into the sea, along the stunning North Antrim coast. There is archaeological evidence of a village that surrounded the castle which was destroyed by fire in 1641.
For more than 800 years, Carrickfergus Castle has been an imposing monument on the Northern Ireland landscape whether it is approached by land, sea or air. Originally built in 1177 this Norman castle has been altered throughout the centuries. The castle now houses historical and other displays as well as cannons from the 17th Century to the 19th Century. You’ll find the castle situated in the beautiful coastal town of Carrickfergus in Co. Antrim, on the northern shore of Belfast Lough.
Enniskillen Castle, situated beside the River Erne in County Fermanagh, was built almost 600 years ago by Gaelic Maguires. Guarding one of the few passes into Ulster, it was strategically important throughout its history. In the 17th century it became an English garrison fort and later served as part of a military barracks. This historic site houses two museums, Fermanagh County Museum and The Inniskillings Museum.
Northern Ireland is steeped in history – you can find out more about our historic sites, castle and monuments here: discovernorthernireland.com/castles/ . Make the most of your historic journey in Northern Ireland with a short break, you’ll find great offers on accommodation with many hotels stating from only £49 per room.