Northern Ireland is a constituent country of the UK, located on the island of Ireland. The country is characterised by a beautiful seaside and wild landscapes which feature impressive cities, towns and cultural attractions.
Northern Ireland is one of the nations forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Although for many years the region was unsafe to visit, due to civil unrest between Irish separatists and authorities, today, Northern Ireland welcomes tourists. The political situation in the country has been increasingly stable since the 1998 Good Friday Agreement (Belfast Agreement) and the cease fire of the Irish Republican Army (IRA). The territory of modern Northern Ireland is a part of the historical province of Ulster.
According to the British newspaper The Guardian, the capital of Northern Ireland, Belfast, is the fourth most attractive city in Europe for a holiday break and is still becoming a more popular destination for tourists, with hotels, shops, bars and restaurants cropping up all the time. Many monuments dating from the Victorian and Edwardian epochs also add to the city’s appeal. The second largest town of Northern Ireland, Derry (Londonderry) boasts gable-wall murals by the Bogside Artists; the Tower Museum; the 1187 Guildhall building, which displays Ireland’s finest examples of stained glass windows; St Columb’s Cathedral and St Augustine’s Church. The Anglican and Catholic cathedrals of St Patrick are the most significant landmarks of Armagh, a significant religious centre of the country. The smaller towns of Lisburn and Newry are also popular as shopping destinations.
Northern Ireland is known predominantly for its incomparable countryside. The country’s scenic coastline has typical northern features, with no idyllic golden beaches but dramatic rocky cliffs. The Causeway Coastline of the country showcases Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage site and National Nature Rerserve which features a group of gigantic basalt cubes and columns resembling stairs, which, according to a legend were created by a giant named Finn MacCoul. Other attractions of the coastal region include the Carrick-a-Rede, a rope bridge stretching between land and island, and such impressive historical sites as the Carrickfergus Castle, Old Bushmill’s Distillery and Dunluce Castle.
Another attraction of Northern Ireland are the Mourne Mountains, which are not particularly high, but ideal for hikers, cyclists and rock climbers. The hills of Scotland and England can also be seen from atop this mountain range. The National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (NAAONB) has rated the Mourne Mountians as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and soon the region might be turned into a national park, which would be the first one in Northern Ireland. The country is also ideal for sport fishing, or angling, due to the presence of many lakes, rivers and the sea, as well as for golf, which has always been popular, locally and internationally, with many courses ranked among the best in the world.