Northern Ireland - Abbey Travel, Ireland

Northern Ireland


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Welcome to Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland

Once forming the ancient kingdom of Ulster, Northern Ireland has been home to Gaelic kings, ancient Irish clans and seafaring Vikings. It is the Land of St Patrick and the giant Finn McCool, and is steeped in myths and legends of a mysterious and heroic past. Its appeal encompasses beautiful scenery, historic forts and castles and a rich legacy of Celtic Christianity, as well as the Ulster people who are welcoming and genuine, with an impetuous sense of humour. Another attraction is the small size of the country - its sights are all within a short, scenic drive of each other along mostly rural roads whose only traffic jams are caused by flocks of sheep and cattle crossings.

To the south east lies some of Ireland's loveliest landscapes in the Kingdoms of Down, an area recognised worldwide as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty - it combines miles of spectacular coastline with fishing villages, seaside resorts, loughs, forests and the Mountains of Mourne. To the north is the dramatic Antrim coastline with its soaring cliffs, unblemished beaches and the magnificent glacier-carved Glens of Antrim. Among the unusual rock formations glimpsed from the coastal road, none is stranger or more memorable than the famous Giant's Causeway, the legendary tourist attraction that is fabled to be the highway built by giant Finn McCool, to bring his lady love to Ulster from an island in the Hebrides. This World Heritage Site is a mass of thousands of basalt columns tightly packed together to form stepping stones leading from the foot of the cliffs into the sea.

The gateway to the northwest is the historic walled city of Londonderry, or Derry, a city that encompasses poets, storytellers, music and festivals, and is a centre of culture and creativity. Across the Sperrins is the city of Belfast, surrounded by hills and a wealth of industrial sites, such as old linen and corn mills that are a reminder of Northern Ireland's industrial heritage. Belfast played a significant role in the Industrial Revolution and the development of its manufacturing businesses quickly turned the 17th-century village into a robust metropolis that today is home to a third of the country's population and some wonderful architecture.

With its green hills, rivers and lakes, mountains and spectacular coastline, Northern Ireland is the perfect setting for most outdoor activities, while in the towns and villages visitors will undoubtedly be invited to join in the 'craic' or good fun, centred on a traditional Irish music session and a pint or two of the black stuff.

Information & Facts


Northern Ireland is cloudier and cooler than England, because of the hilly nature of the terrain and the proximity to the Atlantic. July is the warmest month with temperatures averaging around 64ºF (18ºC). The highest temperatures occur inland and rainfall is more frequent in the mountains of Sperrin, Antrim and Mourne, as is snow.

English is the official language, though visitors will be astonished by the variety of regional accents.

The currency is the pound (GBP), which is divided into 100 pence. ATMs are available in all towns and Visa, MasterCard and American Express are widely accepted; visitors with other cards should check with their credit card companies in advance. Foreign currency can be exchanged at bureaux de change and large hotels, however better exchange rates are likely to be found at banks. Travellers cheques are accepted in all areas frequented by tourists; they are best taken in Pounds Sterling to avoid additional charges.

Local time in the United Kingdom is GMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).
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