IN NORTHERN IRELAND
Getting to Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is easy to get to and its compactness means it is easy to get around. Three main airports service frequent, scheduled flights from the UK, Europe, USA and beyond and several smaller airports and private venues are capable of handling charter flights, private jets and helicopter transfers.
Excellent fast ferry links to England and Scotland, good roads and trains connections to major centres will take you where you want to go with minimum fuss….
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Our great city blossomed from very humble beginnings… It started out as a small hamlet with fertile land along the mouth of the Lagan. Soon, marauders and pirates realised our lough was deep and our shores were safe from the north Atlantic storms. The perfect haven for repairing sea ravaged ships. From these early stages the industrious locals developed a boat building trade. And the rest is our history.
So what’s Belfast like today? Well, it’s packed with history, culture, exciting events, great food, super shopping…you might even spot a ship or two. You’ll also find some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet.
Only in Belfast can you trace the Titanic story to its source, discover the passion and pride of those who designed and built her and relive the excitement of the Titanic era when the city was at the height of its powers.
Now you can relive the Titanic story as never before, at the world’s largest Titanic visitor experience, Titanic Belfast.
Now this iconic location has been weaved into the fabric of the rich Giro d’Italia history – the 2014 Grande Partenza started at Titanic Belfast and the world of cycling is still talking about it. The Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia will continue this link and the venue will serve as a perfect start/finish venue to the ride.
Did you know?
– Belfast’s Sirocco Works invented air conditioning and the Royal Victoria Hospital became the first building in the world to be fitted with air conditioning.
– Mary McAleese of Ireland is not the only state president to have been born in Belfast – Chaim Herzog, Israel’s first president was the son of a Belfast rabbi.
– Milk of Magnesia was invented in Belfast, as were the pneumatic tyre and the tractor.
– London’s Sloane Square and Sloanies are named after County Down born and Belfast educated Sir Hans Sloane, the man responsible for first creating milk chocolate.
– Shorts Aircraft Factory pioneered Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) aircrafts in the 50’s when Sir James Martin invented the aircraft ejector seat.
– Belfast poet William Drennan first coined the expression “The Emerald Isle” in 1796.
– A tunnel, which carries the river Farset under High Street and into the River Lagan, is so big it can accommodate a double decker bus.
– The unbeaten record for hammering the most rivets in a working shift was set by James Moir at Harland & Wolff shipyard. He slammed 11,209 red-hot rivets into metal plates of a warship in nine hours in June 1918.
– Joseph Black, son of a Belfast wine merchant discovered carbon dioxide and his principles were used by James Watt to develop the steam engine.
– Belfast poet Michael Longley in 2000 and 2001 won four top literary prizes, something never before achieved by any living poet in the British Isles. (Prizes included: Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, TS Eliot Award, Hawthornden Award and a Whitbread Award.)
– The “Holy Land” of Belfast is so named after a devout Christian developer gave the names of Damascus, Carmel, Jerusalem and Palestine to the streets he built.
– Professor Sir Frank Pantridge invented the portable defibrillator, which saves thousands of lives each year.
Belfast’s Crown Bar was the first pub ever owned by the National Trust.
The Mourne Mountains in County Down are famous for a lot of things. Challenging climbs, gentle slopes and crystalline lakes.
Rising highest above its siblings at around 850 metres, Slieve Donard is the tallest peak. Yes, it’s a tough climb, but the views out over Murlough Bay and the small town of Newcastle are worth the effort.
The National Trust own 1,300 acres of the mountains including parts of Slieve Donard and Slieve Commedagh and the Water Comission own the area inside the boundary of the magnificent 22 mile Mourne Wall with the rest tended by local farmers still using the land for agriculture.
There are 6 peaks over 700 meters with Donard the highest at 849m and the range is crisscrossed with a multitude tracks and paths that would take years to explore fully. Rivers, lakes and reservoirs litter the area and dams have been build over the last century ensuring that the Mournes are not only a beautiful place to visit but also essential as the main water supply to the Northern Ireland capital, Belfast.
Stunning views and excellent trails is it any wonder the Mournes Mountains are one of the best locations in the United Kingdom and Ireland to go cycling? With over 50km of purpose built mountain bike trails currently under construction in both Rostrevor and Castlewellen, The Mournes will have some of the best trails the United Kingdom has ever seen.
Rostrevor hosted the Mountain Biking for the World Police & Fire Games in August 2013. With 30km of cross-country trails and 2 purpose built downhill trails being built Rostrevor will certainly be a sought after destination for Mountain Biking in Ireland.
Castlewellen will cater for some great user friendly, all ability trails. These trails will lap the huge, scenic Lake in the local forest park. Perfect for family cycles and family days out.
With construction well underway in both locations the Mournes will offer a huge selection for off road and road cyclists alike.
Both Rostrevor and Castlewellen are only tipping the surface for cycling in the area. Cyclist’s eye’s will certainly be opened when they visit the Mourne Mountains. The Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia will be very proud to show this spectacular area off to cyclists from around the world.
Link – http://www.visitmournemountains.co.uk
Designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Strangford Lough is Northern Ireland’s first marine nature reserve and is the British Isles’ largest inlet, internationally renowned for its marine, plant and wildlife.
Tour along the Ards Peninsula and enjoy the combination of stunning scenery and picturesque villages and towns. Seafood is the speciality of the region and the fishing fleet of Portavogie keeps many of the local seafood restaurants well supplied with the very best quality of turbot, plaice, langoustine and brill, providing a real taste of the region.
Steeped in Christian heritage sites, the area forms part of the Saint Patrick’s driving trail – indeed the area to the south east of the Lough around Downpatrick is commonly known as Saint Patrick’s Country due to is close links with the saint and is known the world over as the burial place of Saint Patrick.
Link – http://www.visitstrangfordlough.co.uk