Is a trip to our North Coast part of your Summer 2012 plans, if not, shame on you as the glorious Causeway Coast will be the centre of all the action this Season.
The eyes of the world were recently focussed upon Portrush for the Irish Open and if you are a golf fan, you will be in paradise, but if golf isn’t your thing, there is so much more to keep all ages entertained, from the very young, to the very old – the coastal towns of Portrush, Portstewart, Bushmills and Ballycastle are bursting with events and activities so let us guide you through some of the must sees and dos.
I know it’s a bit of a cliche, but it really is true that no visit to the north coast would be complete without a visit to The Giants Causeway. From the legends of Finn Mc Cool to today’s visitors, the Giants Causeway has amazed tourists and sight-seers alike for thousands of years. The Causeway comprises of around 40,000 interlocking basalt columns that according to science was the result of an ancient volcanic eruption, and according to legend was down to Finn McCool building the walkway to reach Scotland to take on his nemisis Benandonner. Whichever you tend to believe, the Causeway is visually stunning and unlike anything else in the world. And the GIANT attraction has just welcomed the launch of the brand new multi-million pounds interactive visitor centre, restaurant and souvenir shop. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/giants-causeway
So sticking with the tried and tested, another of Northern Ireland’s iconic landmarks can be found straddling the Causeway Coast, Carrick-a-Rede Rope bridge has reduced many brave men and women to quiverring wrecks, but will you count yourself among them this Summer, or will you stride confidently along the 20 metre path which hangs precariously 98 feet above rocks jutting from the sea. The rope bridge offers unparalleled bird wathching opportunities and views of Rathlin and the Scottish isles. Carrick-a-Rede which is just outside Ballintoy in County Antrim attracts over 200,000 annually and is open throughout the year. A small fee is charged for each crossing. www.discovernorthernireland.com
Are you brave enough to take on the Carrick-a-rede Challenge?
Moving slightly more inland, a stop-off at the world-famous Bushmills Distillery should be on all itineraries during North Coast visits. Take a tour this summer and find out where the famous Irish Whiskey originated. Tours start in the Mixing Room before moving into the Fermentation Hall where the magic really starts to happen as Yeast is added to the mix to produce the alcohol. View the infamous Copper Pot Stills in the Distillery before moving into the Cask Room which is laden from floor to ceiling with maturing Bushmills. Stop by the souvenir shop and on-site restaurant to make a real day of it. – you can even create your own personalised bottle to take home! http://www.bushmills.com
Ok so lets mix it up a bit, if your’e seeking adventure this Summer, the North Coast is just the spot. Portrush and Portstewart and the various coastal beaches are a surfers paradise, with huge waves and spectacular swells and breaks, there is a location suitable for all skill levels, from the complete novice to the surfing pro. The North Coast Watersports Centre leads a range of water-based activities including surfing, body-boarding, sea kayaking, surf kayaking, wind surfing, sub aqua and sea angling, and if your missing some vital gear, check out the range available at Troggs Surf Outlet in Portrush.
You know how dependable the summer weather is in Northern Ireland? Well if on the off-chance there is a little rain, don’t let it dampen your spirits as there is plenty of opportunity to enjoy watersports indoors at Waterworld Portrush. Northern Ireland premiere family indoor adventure centre, Waterworld has it all, with thrilling giant slides and the main feature – a Pirates Cove has everything to keep the young and young at heart amused for hours. The centre is also home a to a ten pin bowling alley and children’s indoor play centre, so perfect for those lazy holidays. www.discovernorthernireland.com
No visit to Portrush would be truly complete without a stop-off at Barrys Amusements. The highlight of many a holiday on the North Coast for many years, Barrys has a range of attractions that will be a hit with the thrill-seekers, and also for those that enjoy the gentler side fair-ground ride. For the adventurous type, try Freak Out, The Experience and The Looping Star, and new for 2012 The SRV, or if you prefer to stay closer to the ground, The Cyclone, The infamous Ghost Train and Barry’s Dodgems will provide hours of laughter and enjoyment. www.barrysamusements.com
A Portrush Icon – will you take a dip this summer?
Getting away from the hustle and bustle and bright neon lights, the North Coast has some amazing beaches, perfect for a quiet stroll or for some r & r (rest and relaxation to you and me). Take in the beautiful Portballintrae, enjoy Portrush’s East Strand, the spectacular White Rocks or heading further west, Castlerock is a truly magical beauty spot with breath-taking views across the coast of both the Scottish Isles on a clear day, and the Inishowen Peninsula.
Have a few hours to spare, then a train ride from Coleraine to Derry-Londonderry is the perfect way to view the coastline without the hassle of driving. Passing through some of the most remarkable country-side, the journey which lasts approx. 50 minutes passes through Castlerock, and Bellarena and passes underneath Mussenden temple in one of the worlds most iconic natural tunnels. City of Derry airport can also be seen from the train so you might just catch a glimpse of an arriving or departing jet… Get your tickets now at www.translink.co.uk
Take the train this summer and explore Northern Ireland’s North Coast
What better way to spend a summer evening than with a trip to the theatre. The Riverside Theatre located on the University of Ulster campus in Coleraine has a packed programme of shows and performances this summer while holiday-makers seeking that authentic Northern Ireland theatre experience can stop by Portrush Town Hall which has a summer-long schedule of great comedies guaranteed to leave your sides sore with laughter.
A series of world-class events will light up the North Coast over the summer months from poetry to pop, motorsport to traditional music there is an event suited to everyone. Check out www.ni2012.com for all the latest event information and plan your itinerary today.