Ireland is known as the Emerald Aisle for its sheer beauty and its rolling green hills, it is a country that has few big cities and has stayed true to its agricultural roots. Once outside Dublin, Cork and Kerry the highways and byways are a joy to cycle or walk, and if you are prepared to go a little off the beaten track there is some glorious countryside to be seen. Northern Ireland is often overlooked by tourists who flood to the south of the country, but this is a real shame as some of the best landscapes in the whole of Ireland can be found in the counties of the north, and here we explore some of the great scenic walks that you can enjoy in Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland’s smallest city is Armagh and is the county town of the County of Armagh. It is a highly religious part of Northern Ireland and the seat of the Bishops of Armagh, who are the Primates of All Ireland. The small town has some wonderful landmarks to see not least two stunning cathedrals, but bizarrely both are named after the patron saint of Ireland, St Patrick. One of the must-see attractions of Armagh is Navan Fort and it a simply delightful stroll out into the countryside. You can start your journey at the Navan Centre, and take the trail to the fort, and from there you have spectacular views of the city and the beautiful landscape all around.
There is nothing like a bracing stroll along the beach to wake you up and upon traveling to Portrush you can take advantage of the glorious Whiterocks Beach. As well as the golden sands and the crashing waves, the views from the beach are quite incredible. There are fantastic natural phenomena all around to take in, including the amazing sea stacks, the tall white cliffs complete with a majestic chalk arch. And in the distance the grey ruin of Dunluce Castle seems to haunt the surrounding area.
This scenic walk is a bit trickier than the two we have already explored and taking a trip up to the fantastic but daunting Mourne Mountains should be taken with care. Hare’s Gap is a stunning trek into some of the wildest country that exists in Northern Ireland. It follows the valley between the hills and gives the trekker glorious panoramic views that are simply stunning. The majestic mountain pass was forged by glaciers that cut through the landscape like a knife through butter. One of the greatest attractions of this walk is the famous Mourne Wall as well as a multitude of other wonderful natural phenomena.
Other great treks that you should attempt whilst in Northern Ireland are Cave Hill in Belfast, Kilbroney Forest Park, Rathlin Island, Slemish Mountain, Downhill Strand, Cuilcagh Way, and of course the world famous Giant’s Causeway which consists of nearly forty thousand basalt columns and is a world UNESCO Heritage Site.