The breakaway list- Explore your own County- Ulster

Ok so we know that galavanters in Northern Ireland will have a lot more freedom than us restricted folk in the south but we have decided to give you a run down of the top 4 or 5 spots to visit in every County. This week, we are exploring Ulster. You can use this breakaway list when we can travel to other counties too! Are you ready to explore your own County? Here we go….

County Antrim

Games of thrones Country and some of the most spectacular coastal destinations in Ireland. If you are lucky enough to live here, there is so much to see.

  • Walk in the footsteps of giants: Take a walk along the world heritage site of the Giants Causeway and admire the absolute beauty of the coast. If you don’t want to pay the fee, just walk over the visitor centre, down the wooden stairs and off you go.
  • Become a beach bum. Spend an afternoon walking one of the many beaches on the Antrim Coast. We have visited White Rocks beach and Ballycastle beach. For a list of all the beaches just click here.
  • Visit the dark hedges: If you are a GOT fan then get this one on the bucket list. With international travel set to be down this year, you won’t have to tackle the usual crowds.
  • Step back in time at Kinbane Castle: Affording amazing views over towards Raithlin Island, this is the perfect spot to get lost in years gone by.

County Armagh

The smallest County in Northern Ireland, also known as the Orchard County. It may be small but there is plenty to do.

  • Climb Slieve Gullion: Start at the the Slieve Gullion forest park carpark or drive up to the look out point and start your hike from there. The views from here are amazing on a good day!
  • People watch on the Mall: Grab a coffee in one of nearby cafes in Armagh town, or pack a picnic and spend an afternoon people watching in the Mall.
  • Lough Gall Country Park: Take the lakeside, Orchard, Bridle or Brambly route around this family friendly park. You can also go fishing here.
  • Palace Demesne and Public Park: Take a stroll around this historic site just outside Armagh town centre. You can take a tour in Summer months or just read up on your history before you go!

County Cavan

My favourite County in Ireland- ok so I am a bit biased! The County of 365 lakes. We can’t wait to go back galavanting this summer. I’m sure my family will be enjoying all of these spots during the next few weeks.

  • Castle Saunderson: Perfect for an afternoon stroll among the woods that open out to the mighty Castle. There are story boards along the way to tell you all about the history of the Castle.
  • Killykeen Park: Pretty fancy Cabu Cabins are now resident in this forest park. A perfect spot for fishing and Kayaking or just a beautiful walk along the lake.
  • Turbet Island: A beautiful walk along the river erne in Belturbet. The Artist Jackie O’Neill was commissioned to provide beautiful images along the path.
  • Cavan Geo Park: The Cavan Burren has been hailed as an area of outstanding beauty. The perfect place to get away from it all on a walk. There are numerous sites to visit across the Geopark, from waterfalls and abbeys to mountains boardwalks and forests trails.

County Donegal

If I could I’d build a wall around aul Donegal. Hopefully not as we are looking forward to visiting again this summer. Here are our top spots for the natives of Donegal to get reacquainted with

  • Climb Errigal: Preferably on a good day so that you get the most of the views. We did this climb back in 2018 and there was a great big cloud blocking our view- we hope to get it done in summer 2021 again.
  • Visit Glenveagh National Park: Take the 3.5km walk along the lake to visit Glenveagh Castle, admire their beautiful walled gardens and trek up to the look out point. We visited twice before and can’t wait to visit again. The history of the Castle and its owners its particularly sad, so if monies allow- definitely take the castle tour.
  • Get blown away at the Slieve League Cliffs: The tallest sea cliffs in Ireland are definitely worth a visit. The scenery up here will blow you away- just don’t do the cliff walk on a blustery day!
  • Go North to Malin head: Because you can’t get any further North on the mainland of Ireland. Marvel at Banba’s crown, check out the Eíre sign and just enjoy the spectacular surroundings at the tip of Ireland.

County Down

Home to the highest mountain in Ulster, where the mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea. This County has so much natural beauty, and some great days out!

  • Climb Slieve Donard: Its not an easy climb (coming from someone who isn’t particularly fit that is) but the views are outstanding all the way up. Reach the Mourne Wall and you are nearly there! (The last bit is the worst!)
  • Be loud in the Silent Valley: This resevoir is possibly the prettiest I have ever seen. God I wish I lived in Co Down. There are a number of walking and cycling routes here for every level of fitness.
  • Castle Ward: Over looking Stranford Lough, this beautiful mansion house is set among 32 kms of trails just dying to be explored.
  • Castlewellan forest park and peace maze: We just want to go here for the maze. Full stop. Explore One of Northern Ireland’s most famous lakes, a stunning Victorian Castle, incredible panoramic views, scenic walking trails, 27km of Mountain Bike Trails and so much more.

County Fermanagh

Home of beautiful Upper and Lower Lough Erne and so many great days out. Here are our top picks:

  • The Cuilcagh Legnabrocky trail: A long walk but a very rewarding one. Climb the stairway to heaven and take in the epic scenery over County Fermanagh.
  • Visit Florencecourt estate: Just down the road from the Legnabrocky trail is this beautiful 18th century home. You can enjoy glorious walks around the grounds which include a pretty walled garden, holiday cottage, sawmill and ice-house.
  • Lord over Crom estate: Right on the Monaghan and Cavan border is Crom estate and park. There is a pretty epic new Castle in this estate but the The Old Castle and Yew Trees lie at the heart of these beautiful grounds.
  • Drive up to Carnmore viewpoint: Hailed as a great spot for walking, mountain biking and fishing. The viewpoint looks down over Carnmore lough and the surrounding countryside.

County Derry

A County filled with history, famous musicians, political figures and of course- Derry Girls! We took a trip to Derry City in 2018 and we will definitely be back. Here are our top picks

  • Explore the city: Do a tour of the city wall (trust me the money is worth it), do a tour of the city murals, walk across the peace bridge and learn all about this famous Irish city.
  • Take a walk on Downhill strand: Park the car on the beach and take a stroll on this beautiful strand. If the wallet allows, check out the Mussenden Temple and Downhill Demesne. (I swear I should have shares in the national trust at this stage).
  • Visit Springhill House: Explore beautiful walled gardens and trails through the parkland. This is known as one of the prettiest houses in all of Ulster.
  • Get lost at Ness Country Park: This Country Park is 55 hectares of mixed woodland along with open parkland which extends along both sides of the Burntollet River. There are over 7km of stunning woodland and riverside walks including a magnificent waterfall walk.

County Monaghan

There is a special place in my heart for County Monaghan. I worked here for a number of years and I grew up getting lost in Rossmore park. These are our top picks.

  • Visit the giants at Rossmore Park: Situated just outside Monaghan town, this beautiful park is full of surprises.  Explore the Nature Trail, Lakes Trail, Castle Trail and there is a new family cycle trail coming in 2021.
  • Take it all in at Castle Leslie: The beautiful village of Glaslough should be on everyones bucket list for a day out. You may not have the coin to spend a night at the Castle but you can still enjoy the beautiful parklands that surround it. Take a walk around the lake and imagine what it would be like to live like a king.
  • Lough Muckno: We travelled here in 2017 for a beautiful day of exploring. Read all about it here. There is a kids playground, walking trails and the remnants of Castle Hope.
  • Laragh Tin Church: St. Peter’s of historic Laragh village is literally built on a rock, in a beautiful woodland setting amongst the ferns and ivy. This is the perfect setting for an adventure drive with the kids or just for a leisurely walk around beautiful Laragh.

Phew! That was a long list of places to visit within the Counties of Ulster. If you are from any of these counties- get out there Galavanting! If you’re not, start making plans to visit.

Remember to sign up to our newsletter to get the blog direct to your mailbox every week. You can sign up here.

Stay in your own County, spend in your own County and happy Galavanting! xxx

About the author

Leave a Reply