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Self Drive Itinerary for Northern Ireland

Colombo, Sri Lanka
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Self Drive Itinerary for Northern Ireland

we hope to visit Northern irealnd for about 6-7 days in July and are looking for ideas on where we should start and where we should go. We will be flying in from England. Any suggestions please?

North Coast, N...
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1. Re: Self Drive Itinerary for Northern Ireland

Very much depends on what you want to include. In 7 days, you could rush around and cover most of NI. Or you could go at a more leisurely pace and still see a lot. To help, can I ask a couple of questions:

1. Have you any "must sees"

2. Are you wanting to focus on NI only or include any time in RoI e.g. a day trip to Dublin or including Donegal?

3. Have you any special interests e.g. if you would like to hike, you should include the Mountains of Mourne, do you like museums etc

4. Is your party all adults or does it include kids?

One suggestion could be:

2 nights Belfast

1 night north coast (could easily spend 2 here)

1 night Derry

2 nights Enniskillen or 1 night Enniskillen, 1 in Belfast for return flight

This covers a lot but doesn't include the scenic mountains of mourne.

Have a look at at these websites for ideas and we can help from there. But please note, your dates are key - we have the Twelfth of July parades on 12th and 13th is also a public holiday so this could affect the itinerary a bit. Also, July is peak holiday season here for locals so you will need to book accommodation ASAP!!!

However, with a car you will have flexibility - nowhere is more than a 2 hour drive (each way) so that might help with accommodation but may mean more driving.

http://www.discovernorthernireland.com/

http://www.gotobelfast.com/

http://www.causewaycoastandglens.com/

http://www.northcoastni.com/

http://www.derryvisitor.com/

http://www.fermanaghlakelands.com/

Edited: 12 June 2011, 11:12
Chepstow, United...
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2. Re: Self Drive Itinerary for Northern Ireland

We have just done exactly what you intend doing - but we took our car across on the ferry and started at Belfast. We had a lovely week but we'd have done more walking if the weather hadn't been quite so "moist".

What we did:

Day 1 Belfast, docks and Titanic Exhibition.

Day 2 Took the east coastal road up to the Giant's Causeway, then across Lough Foyle on the ferry. B&B at Redcastle.

As others have commented, it all depends what sort of things you like doing best.

Days 3 & 4 Up around the north and NW coast including Malin Head. Down to Donegal Town. 2 nights B&B in the fabulous Solis Lough Esk Castle Hotel (We got a really good B&B special offer thru Travel Zoo - it's not the sort of hotel we'd normally stay in.) Did visit to Slieve League (the highest marine cliffs in Europe). Had a really good meal in The Olde Castle Bar in Donegal Town one night.

Day 5 Across to the middle (ish) to Omagh where we stayed a night with relatives. Looked around that area.

Day 6 & 7 Back to Dublin. loads to see and do there.

Colombo, Sri Lanka
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3. Re: Self Drive Itinerary for Northern Ireland

Thank you very much for you suggestions. I dont really have any must sees as I do not know much about Northern Ireland other than the Giant;s Causeway which sounds impressive. We definitely dont want to rush around - prefer to take it at a leisurely pace.

Although we would love to drive down to RoI we have an issue with the visa. We have valid visas for the UK but would need another for RoI - am not sure how to set about this as we dont have a Embassy in my country ( Sri Lanka). Our party is all adults, not particulary fond of museums! Hikes yes - but not too strenuous. The Mountain of Mourne sounds interesting - are the hikes doable by fairly fit but nearing 60s adults?

Chepstow, United...
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4. Re: Self Drive Itinerary for Northern Ireland

That's interesting...

Once we got into Northern Ireland we found NO official border crossings into the Republic of Ireland! We thought that there would be some sort of road checks somewhere but we never came across any. The only way we could tell when we were in the RoI was that the road signs changed to the Gaelic language and were in kilometres rather than miles. Oh, and the white line down the side of the road changes from white to yellow!

I suspect that you could drive around from NI back and forth to and from the RoI during your week and nobody would be any the wiser... but to avoid any "diplomatic incidents" why not contact the Sri Lanka Consulate in Dublin and ask them whether you'd be allowed to drive into RoI while on your tour?

http://sri-lanka.visahq.com/embassy/Ireland/

Groomsport, United...
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5. Re: Self Drive Itinerary for Northern Ireland

one of the alternative `routes' is to drive down the Ards peninsula....

stop off in Bangor and Donaghadee (some great eateries in both) make you way down the coast past ballywalter and end up at Portaferry...(There's a seal sanctuary if you're interested). Take the car across on the short ferry ride (5mns) and have lunch in Strangford (interesting little village) and then either make you way back towards Comber (there's a wildlife centre `Castle Espie' near Comber) or head south towards Newcastle and the Mountains of Mourne. You can drive up to the `Silent Valley' reservoir (small cafe) and then walk around there if you don't want anything too strenuous.

Another route down to Portaferry is via Greyabbey along the shores of Strangford Lough.

Take your time and enjoy the scnerey

When you've decided on your main route, come back for suggestions on what to see

Belfast, United...
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6. Re: Self Drive Itinerary for Northern Ireland

Whilst there are no regular checks on the border that does not mean that you should cross, if you do not have the right to cross. I was on a bus from Belfast to Dublin last year when the bus was pulled in by the Garda (police) just inside the Republic and the passengers were asked to produce ID. A lady sitting close to me who appeared to be from Africa, possibly Nigeria, was unable to satisfy the Guards and was escorted off the bus to be taken to Dundalk Garda Station.

Edited: 12 June 2011, 13:48
North Coast, N...
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7. Re: Self Drive Itinerary for Northern Ireland

For more informtion on the Mournes/County Down area...

www.discovernorthernireland.com/mournes/

http://www.walkni.com

This website is good for giving you ideas of walking. You could click on the short walk section and then County Down for ideas around the Mournes (Newcastle). Lots of options here - scroll down for all the details. You could walk the short bloody bridge trail or even up to Hare's Gap (but you might decide not to continue up Slieve Donard depending on how fit you are) or just walk along the Mourne coastal walk and drive around to see the scenery. You would need decent walking/hiking boots though for Hare's Gap.

as Cat says, Silent Valley is a pretty area.

For your information, Newcastle is about one hour's drive from Belfast so you could do this as a day trip from Belfast. Probably a long day but you will have long daylight hours in July so it maybe makes more sense than booking into different accommodation.

Stick to NI if you haven't got a visa for RoI - there will be enough to keep you busy here!

Colombo, Sri Lanka
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8. Re: Self Drive Itinerary for Northern Ireland

Thank you for all those suggestions. I have now applied for the RoI visa as well - I discovered that not only can you apply for it through the Hon. Consul in Colombo there is also no visa fee involved. Very nice!

Groomsport, United...
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9. Re: Self Drive Itinerary for Northern Ireland

I live in the North and I'd suggest staying in the South at any period in July as it's marching season here (bigots on parade) and it's not a pleasant place to be in July.

Actually, most months are terrible. If not all.

Lisburn, United...
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10. Re: Self Drive Itinerary for Northern Ireland

I think you could safely ignore post #9, since it's complete nonsense.