I never knew there existed a country called Northern Ireland; all I knew was Ireland only. When I started my stint in the UK, I figured out that I have 3 countries to visit inside one country (pretty dumb) and one of them was Northern Ireland. Soon the whole geography was clear to me and I started reading about it to make a visit someday.
At first I was not too kicked about visiting it but Northern Ireland (NI) was a complete surprise package. Firstly to clarify the geography, NI is a country or province in United Kingdom. The capital city is Belfast.
Now the history bit. It was formed in 1921 after it partitioned from southern Ireland which is today ‘Ireland’ with it capital city as Dublin. Ireland has been the hotbed of political and social turmoil. Two prominent groups ‘The Unionists’ who formed the NI and The Nationalists who largely formed the ‘Republic of Ireland’ were the two major groups which were instrumental in forming these two countries.
NI has a war torn past, vibes of which are clearly evident across the country when you visit its cities like Londonderry or Belfast. War memorials galore, murals depicting various important freedom fighters and war heroes, walled cities, ruined citadels are a common sight across NI.
What stole my heart in NI was its breath-taking rugged coastline. Green and blue crystal waters, white and golden beaches with many ruined castles, beautiful port cities makes NI a ‘honeymoon forever’ destination.
My suggestion would be to browse through the counties and plan your trip. County Antrim would be hands down the most impressive area to explore, housing The Giants Causeway which is listed in UNESCO as well. Belfast should not be missed for its importance as a capital city, fabulous old Irish pubs, romantic alleys and impressive street art.
Best time to visit would be summers like any other European country. I visited around March-April and the weather was really yummy with mild showers.
What to buy would be hands down Irish whiskey, chocolates, knitwear and if you are a soccer fan, you can collect loads of souvenirs.
My short trip of a week would certainly be one of the best in UK, dreamy and romantic, and full of surprises that this small country offers incessantly.
READY TO EXPLORE?
Northern Ireland is a picturesque country, less touristy but full of surprises. Whether its culture or nature, you will find your area of interest here.
Browse through this blog to check out some interesting write-ups and candid pictures from my various trips across Northern Ireland.