What better way to spend your free time than to explore our beautiful countryside? We’ve been chatting in the office about some of our favourite places to visit during the holidays and here they are!
The Dark Hedges, Ballymoney
The Dark Hedges will be instantly recognisable to fans of Game of Thrones. Whether you watch the TV show or not, they are definitely worth a visit. Planted in the 18th century, the Stuart family intended for the avenue of beech trees to impress guests to their home. 300 years on and they still leave quite an impression.
You can park nearby, although the area can get very busy, so be prepared to wait for the perfect photo. Lisa from our Belfast office was lucky enough to get this tourist-free shot of the Hedges last autumn. http://ccght.org/darkhedges/
Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge, Ballintoy
Carrick-A-Rede Bridge is one of our most famous tourist destinations. It was originally constructed in 1755 to connect a fisherman’s cottage to the cliffs on the mainland. The salmon fishermen of the area erected the bridge, which is suspended 100ft above sea level.The views are breath-taking on a clear day.
Due to the popularity of the bridge, a new timed ticketing system has been introduced during busy periods, so it’s advisable to book in advance. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/carrick-a-rede
Silent Valley Reservoir, near Kilkeel
As Belfast grew, so did the demand for water. A large reservoir was needed to supply Belfast’s water demands. The Silent Valley site was chosen for the cleanliness of water in the Mournes, as well as the high rainfall! Work commenced on the reservoir in 1923 and took 10 years to complete. Over 1,000 men worked on the project. Sadly, 9 of them died.
The view of the Mournes is truly stunning. Lisa took the photo on an Easter camping trip to nearby Kilbroney Forest. www.niwater.com/silent-valley/
Ardboe Cross Ruins, Cookstown
Ardboe High Cross is Northern Ireland’s tallest high cross and dates back to the 9th or 10th century. It’s the only remaining part of a 6th century monastery established by Saint Colman. Standing tall on the edge of Lough Neagh, the cross depicts Old and New Testament scenes. The views in the area are stunning and, on a clear day, you can see as far as the International Airport on the other side of the Lough.
Marble Arch Caves, Florencecourt
Located near Enniskillen, the caves are part of the Marble Arch Geopark. The caves were formed over thousands of years and include limestone features such as stalactites. This subterranean world was first surveyed in 1895 by French cave explorer, Edouard Alfred Martel and a young Irish scientist named Lyster Jameson. Having expanded into Co. Cavan, the Marble Arch Geopark was the first cross-border geopark anywhere in the world. www.marblearchcavesgeopark.com/
Happy driving, from Dash Hound – the young driver’s best friend!