Updated On: December 01, 2023 by Nuala Davies
If you’re seeking some information to inform your next trip to Northern Ireland, you’ve come to the right place. Northern Ireland travel is currently seeing a huge boom from the Republic of Ireland. In 2022 trips from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland surged by a whopping 52.6%.
Perhaps a by-product of the current cost of living crisis? The current economic situation might mean it is currently much more economical and accessible for Irish and Northern Irish families to travel within the island, opposed to travelling abroad.
Or maybe these statistics are the result of an influx of International travel post pandemic? With an increase in global travel since COVID 19, this increase of people crossing the border between the North and the South of Ireland may be journeying from much further abroad.
Regardless of who is travelling and where they are coming from, we thought it would be helpful to break down the top attractions within Northern Ireland and the distance at which they are accessible from the Republic Of Ireland.
So in terms of Northern Ireland travel, where should you go, what should you see and how far away is it?
Table of Contents
Top 10 Attractions: Northern Ireland Travel From ROI
Let’s break down some of the options of destinations with their distance calculated from Dublin. This information can inform you which trips might be best as a day trip and which might be a weekend away.
Close To The Border: Five Destinations With A Short Travel Time From Dublin
- Slieve Gullion Forest Park (100 km)
Amidst the picturesque Cooley Peninsula in County Armagh, Northern Ireland, lies Slieve Gullion Forest Park. In terms of Northern Ireland travel, this is a haven for nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers. Renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, rich biodiversity, and captivating historical heritage, the park offers a captivating blend of natural wonders and cultural treasures.
Bring the dog and a picnic and enjoy the surrounding nature.
- Cranfield Beach (132 km)
Cranfield Beach is a haven for beach lovers, swimmers, and water sports enthusiasts. This beach lies along the scenic Carlingford Lough in County Down, Northern Ireland. Its expansive stretch of golden sand, stretching for over a mile, provides ample space for relaxation and recreation.
- Enniskillen Castle (161 km)
In County Fermanagh Enniskillen Castle stands as a proud testament to the region’s rich history and heritage. Its captivating architecture makes it a must-visit destination for any travellers seeking to delve into some of Northern Ireland’s history.
Visitors can embark on a guided tour of the castle’s many chambers, each whispering tales of battles fought, nobles who ruled, and the people who shaped the region’s legacy.
- Marble Arch Caves (162 km)
Deep within the Cuilcagh Mountain in Northern Ireland lies a hidden world of underground rivers, cascading waterfalls, and awe-inspiring caverns – the Marble Arch Caves. This natural wonder is a must-visit destination for any traveller seeking an unforgettable subterranean adventure.
A visit to the Marble Arch Caves is not just a cave tour; it is an immersive experience that transports you to a hidden world beneath the surface. Join the bats and the fogs in the caves to get a glimpse into the power of nature, the intricate beauty of rock formations and the resilience of life in the darkest of environments.
- Belleek Pottery & Visitor Centre (196 km)
Belleek Pottery, a renowned manufacturer of fine bone china that has captivated the world for over 160 years. Established in 1880, Belleek is steeped in history and tradition, with its exquisite handcrafted pieces embodying the very essence of Irish craftsmanship and artistry.
Visitors can embark on a guided tour of the factory, observing the various stages of production and gaining insights into the rich history of the company.
Northern Ireland Travel: Five Destinations Further Afield From The Border Of The Republic Of Ireland
- Dunluce Castle (259 km From Dublin)
Perched precariously on the edge of a dramatic cliff top overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Dunluce Castle stands. Shrouded in myths and legends, the castle’s ruins offer a glimpse into a world of medieval intrigue, power struggles, and daring escapes.
A trip around the castle fires up the imagination and overlooks stunning views of Portrush in the distance.
- Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge (261 km)
This is one for the daredevils! High above the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean, the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge offers a thrilling and unforgettable experience for those seeking an adrenaline rush amidst stunning natural beauty. Whilst on the bridge, you stand suspended 30 meters above the sea.
This bridge connects the mainland of Northern Ireland to the tiny Carrick-a-Rede Island, providing intrepid adventurers with a unique perspective of the rugged coastline.
- The Giants Causeway (262 km)
Probably the most world renowned landmark within the Northern Ireland travel circuit, the Giant’s Causeway is an absolute beauty to behold. This UNESCO World Heritage Site comprises over 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, forming an intricate honeycomb pattern that stretches along the shoreline.
Formed by Finn McCool or volcanic eruption? We let you decide. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or simply seeking a breathtaking experience, the Giant’s Causeway is a must-visit destination in Northern Ireland. It’s a place where myth and reality intertwine, where nature’s artistry unfolds in grand style, and where the echoes of ancient legends linger in the windswept landscape.
- Rathlin Island (266 km)
This quaint little island of Rathlin stands as a tranquil sanctuary amidst the rugged beauty of Northern Ireland’s northern coast. Standing off the coast of County Antrim, this remote island offers a captivating blend of natural wonders, historical treasures, and a unique cultural heritage. Take the boat from Ballycastle and enjoy the views!
- Fanad Head Lighthouse (278 km)
Atop the rugged headland of Fanad Peninsula in County Donegal, Ireland, Fanad Head Lighthouse stands as a steadfast sentinel, guiding mariners through the treacherous waters of the Wild Atlantic Way.
Its towering whitewashed walls and distinctive red roof have become iconic landmarks, symbolising the resilience and beauty of the Irish coastline.
As you can see there are a wide variety of options to choose from. Northern Ireland is full of landmarks, attractions and interesting places for you to explore that are both close to the border and further away.
Northern Ireland Travel: The Economic Impact
- The most popular activities for visitors to Northern Ireland include sightseeing, visiting historical sites, and enjoying outdoor activities.
- The most popular tourist destinations in Northern Ireland include Belfast, the Giant’s Causeway, and the Causeway Coast.
When considering where to travel in Northern Ireland, you might want to watch this video for some tips on budget friendly options.
Considering these facts, it’s clear to see that travel and tourism within Northern Ireland is essential for economics and growth.
Whether you’re choosing Northern Ireland travel for affordability as you already live on the island of Ireland, or you are journeying up North from farther afield there are many options for you to contemplate when choosing NI.
From forests to giants, pottery to lighthouses, castles and beaches, there are so many Northern Ireland travel attractions that are fun for all the family.
Additional Resources: Tourism Northern Ireland Performance Statistics