There’s a lot to see in Northern Ireland. Taking it all in is an ongoing adventure I force my boyfriend into exploring alongside me at least once a month (bless him – he secretly likes going though). I love cruising around with the radio on knowing I’m going somewhere to just roam about and take photos and be in nature in Ireland. I’ve said it before, it’s soul fuel for me!
We have ticked plenty of charming places off the list at this stage and yet there’s still so many to see. We have gone to MOST of the big touristy destinations. The one lacking being the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge (a couple posts back though you’ll see we were in the village where it’s located which is a VERY worth a visit).
This past weekend my original idea was something pretty close to Belfast. So we picked the Bangor area. We stayed in a little seaside B&B there last December and really enjoyed our time but didn’t explore the surroundings which is something a little different and definitely not as popular. There’s some seriously cool homes out that way that I enjoyed pointing at and imagining life in. I also felt particularly lucky that I saw at least twenty gorgeous dogs throughout the day. Not joking when I say I got even luckier with eight of them being sausage dogs!!! One of my absolute favourite breeds.
Places in/near Bangor
Helen’s Bay – We drove along Helen’s Bay on the main road right by it and it was pretty! But it’s also apparently a lovely beach to walk. I’ll have to go back.
Bangor Harbour – Right in the town and extending outwards, there’s a walking path for yourself and your favourite furry companion, a playground for kids, and if head into the town centre, some really great bars and restaurants.
Crawfordsburn Village – A very classy unique little village composed of a main street that’s lined with some of the nicest cars I’ve seen. If you’ve been to Cape Cod I’d compare Crawfordsburn as the small scale Chatham of Northern Ireland except no ocean. It’s tiny and there’s not much to do but it’s really really pretty and totally unlike any place I’ve seen in all of Ireland. I wish I had taken a photo of it but give it a Google if you’re interested!
Crawfordsburn Country Park – We came here kind of by accident. While driving I spotted a little sign where it looked like people were going for walks and I suggested we go there on our way back. When trying to find it, Google Maps took us here and we rolled with it. And I’m so glad we did because the foliage in the forest was spectacular. It made for some colourful shots. However, I don’t believe my Canon or even iPhone could do the vibrancy justice. It was so bright and beautiful!
So, if you like day trips and you’re in NI maybe seeking somewhere a little different, here ya go! (:
Let me know on Instagram where some of your favourite lesser known spots are!
Thanks to my lovely followers for NI suggestions. Without your suggestions I wouldn’t have stumbled upon some really lovely places.
Basically, one person suggested the Gobbins. So I gave it a quick Google and thought ‘yeah looks great’ and we got in the car in the afternoon and went. To our surprise, it’s a three and half hour intense hike along the cliffs that require boots and helmets and bus to and fro the information centre. Do your research, guys!! However, and ever-so fortunately, the woman at the information desk directed me to a few more casual spots that my flip flops could handle.
Twenty minutes away from the Gobbins is Portmuck Harbour. A pretty little place hidden at the bottom of a very teeny tiny narrow Irish road that opens into a parking lot set right near the sea. There’s some stairs that lead up to a point where you can grab some nice photo ops. I love some of these photos so much and will probably cherish them forever. I had a really great day.
Skenaghan Point – Brown’s Bay Beach
And the second spot only less than ten minutes away is Skenaghan Point, Browns Bay in Islandmagee. It actually is right near the actual Gobbins walking path. One day I will do the Gobbins! But it certainly wasn’t that day in that new ASOS top. We went up a little path to the right of the water and you could stay on path but somehow we veered off into a field of sheep who scurried away from us as we walked up towards the cliff’s end. Stunning views and a lovely little walk. One of those spots that makes me go, “Ahhh I love this country.”
So! Those are two spots I hadn’t heard of, no one suggested, and no tourists really seem to go. Hope you enjoy if you visit!
Another Botanic Gardens visited and this time just a short walk from my new home! Well I’ve been twice now but the first time I didn’t photograph too much and really soaked up the moment with company! David and I went a bit Instagram mad this time. The Belfast Botanic Gardens are much, much smaller than Dublin’s. However, they’re just as beautiful! If you like one, you’ll like the other. If you like gardens or plants or any nature at all, you might appreciate them.
There’s one main building, the Palm House and then the Tropical Ravine (very steamy) which is a minute’s walk away. They’re so nice to walk around.
My good friend from university David came to visit me and this was on his Belfast to-do list. He’s very good to photograph with because he’s big into his social media and is extremely creative! I’m always impressed by his posts.
Tropical Ravine House
We also went to the Ulster Museum which is beside the Tropical Ravine in Botanic Park and admired it’s many displays until we got hungry enough to leave and head over to Town Square for some lunch. Town Square is a fabulous spot as well whether it’s for a coffee, a cocktail or a full on meal. We got a killer day of sunshine since Ireland’s currently facing another heat wave. Something the Irish can’t handle is heat!! Despite breaking a serious sweat, it was a lovely afternoon! (:
Check out David: @dvidmaguire on Instagram and Twitter. He also has a beautiful Dublin Instagram: @DublinMyDarling.
Have you been?