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Valentine's Day romantic breaks: We met at Portstewart Strand. We've been inseparable ever since

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Romantic walks: Portstewart Strand. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

Romantic walks: Portstewart Strand. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

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Northern Ireland Tourist Board

Lower Lough Erne in the Fermanagh Lakeslands is renowned for being one of the most beautiful places in the UK and Ireland so a trip to the area and Lusty Beg Island is sure to put lovers in a relaxed mood.  It's one of the most dramatic natural landscapes in Northern Ireland and is a beauty place to explore for a day or for a short break. Formed by a deep glacial trough with extensive open waters, offshore islands and the bold escarpment of the Magho Cliffs to the south, it stretches for 20 miles from Enniskillen to Rosscor.

Lower Lough Erne in the Fermanagh Lakeslands is renowned for being one of the most beautiful places in the UK and Ireland so a trip to the area and Lusty Beg Island is sure to put lovers in a relaxed mood. It's one of the most dramatic natural landscapes in Northern Ireland and is a beauty place to explore for a day or for a short break. Formed by a deep glacial trough with extensive open waters, offshore islands and the bold escarpment of the Magho Cliffs to the south, it stretches for 20 miles from Enniskillen to Rosscor.

Northern Ireland Tourist Board

Giant's Causeway, Co Antrim. Where better than to watch the sun go down arm-in-arm with the one you love that at the world famous Giant's Causeway in Co Antrim? It's also been called the fourth natural wonder of the world. It's 40,000 interlocking polygonal basalt columns - the result of an ancient volcanic eruption - reminds us all of the natural beauty that we are spoilt with in Northern Ireland. A perfect day for lovers of all ages any time of the year.

Giant's Causeway, Co Antrim. Where better than to watch the sun go down arm-in-arm with the one you love that at the world famous Giant's Causeway in Co Antrim? It's also been called the fourth natural wonder of the world. It's 40,000 interlocking polygonal basalt columns - the result of an ancient volcanic eruption - reminds us all of the natural beauty that we are spoilt with in Northern Ireland. A perfect day for lovers of all ages any time of the year.

Cat Deely, wife of comedian Patrick Kielty, recently tweeted her lover of the Mourne Mountains.The Mournes, a granite mountain range located in Co Down in the south-east of Northern Ireland, are among the most famous of the mountains on the island of Ireland. The surrounding area is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is proposed as the first National Park in Northern Ireland. The Mountains of Mourne are partly owned by the National Trust and see a large number of visitors every year. The highest mountain is Slieve Donard.

Cat Deely, wife of comedian Patrick Kielty, recently tweeted her lover of the Mourne Mountains.The Mournes, a granite mountain range located in Co Down in the south-east of Northern Ireland, are among the most famous of the mountains on the island of Ireland. The surrounding area is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is proposed as the first National Park in Northern Ireland. The Mountains of Mourne are partly owned by the National Trust and see a large number of visitors every year. The highest mountain is Slieve Donard.

Northern Ireland Tourist Board

The Waterfront in Co Fermanagh is a comfortable and welcoming 'other worldly' bar and restaurant that is a culinary destination and a luxurious getaway spot. It appeals to lovers who want to combine stunning natural scenary and great food. With spectacular views of the shores of Lough Erne, it's a great place to unwind and enjoy some fine wines.

The Waterfront in Co Fermanagh is a comfortable and welcoming 'other worldly' bar and restaurant that is a culinary destination and a luxurious getaway spot. It appeals to lovers who want to combine stunning natural scenary and great food. With spectacular views of the shores of Lough Erne, it's a great place to unwind and enjoy some fine wines.

Mussenden Temple, Co Antrim. There cannot be a more wild and dramatic place in Northern Ireland than the landscape park of Downhill and Mussenden Temple. It's now become one of the most truly spectacular wedding venue in Northern Ireland. It was created from the romantic vision of Frederick Hervey, Earl of Bristol and Bishop of Derry, he created an elegant mansion at Downhill, which now lies in ruins. On the nearby clifftop the Earl Bishop built the circular Mussenden Temple as his library, modelled on the Temple of Vesta at Tivoli.

Mussenden Temple, Co Antrim. There cannot be a more wild and dramatic place in Northern Ireland than the landscape park of Downhill and Mussenden Temple. It's now become one of the most truly spectacular wedding venue in Northern Ireland. It was created from the romantic vision of Frederick Hervey, Earl of Bristol and Bishop of Derry, he created an elegant mansion at Downhill, which now lies in ruins. On the nearby clifftop the Earl Bishop built the circular Mussenden Temple as his library, modelled on the Temple of Vesta at Tivoli.

Northern Ireland Tourist Board

Majestic Scrabo Tower in Newtownards, Co Down is one of Northern Ireland's best known landmarks and is also popular with lovers - just ask Christine Bleakley and her fiancee Frank Lampard. Overlooking Strangford Lough and the whole of North Down, the Tower provides visitors with some of the finest views in the country. There is also an exhibition detailing the history of the Tower and surrounding countryside as well as a 12 minute audio-visual show. The paths through Killynether Wood and around the disused sandstone quarries all offer the opportunity for quiet countryside enjoyment.

Majestic Scrabo Tower in Newtownards, Co Down is one of Northern Ireland's best known landmarks and is also popular with lovers - just ask Christine Bleakley and her fiancee Frank Lampard. Overlooking Strangford Lough and the whole of North Down, the Tower provides visitors with some of the finest views in the country. There is also an exhibition detailing the history of the Tower and surrounding countryside as well as a 12 minute audio-visual show. The paths through Killynether Wood and around the disused sandstone quarries all offer the opportunity for quiet countryside enjoyment.

Northern Ireland Tourist Board

Lough Neagh offers a unique chance for lovers of all ages to enjoy it in a variety of ways - from shoreside walks, to sailing, canoeing or cycling. With an area of 392 square kilometres (151 sq mi), it is the largest lake on the Island of Ireland and the 15th largest freshwater lake within the European Union and is ranked 31st in the list of largest lakes of Europe. Located twenty miles (30 km) to the west of Belfast, it is approximately twenty miles (30 km) long and nine miles (15 km) wide. It is very shallow around the margins and the average depth in the main body of the lake is about 9 m (30 ft); although at its deepest the lough is about 25 metres (80 ft) deep.

Lough Neagh offers a unique chance for lovers of all ages to enjoy it in a variety of ways - from shoreside walks, to sailing, canoeing or cycling. With an area of 392 square kilometres (151 sq mi), it is the largest lake on the Island of Ireland and the 15th largest freshwater lake within the European Union and is ranked 31st in the list of largest lakes of Europe. Located twenty miles (30 km) to the west of Belfast, it is approximately twenty miles (30 km) long and nine miles (15 km) wide. It is very shallow around the margins and the average depth in the main body of the lake is about 9 m (30 ft); although at its deepest the lough is about 25 metres (80 ft) deep.

Lusty Beg Island, Co Fermanagh. Set in the heart of the Fermanagh Lakelands, Lusty Beg offers spa breaks, stunning natural beauty and self-catering accommodation in one glorious spot. It's fast becoming a popular destination for weddings as well.

Lusty Beg Island, Co Fermanagh. Set in the heart of the Fermanagh Lakelands, Lusty Beg offers spa breaks, stunning natural beauty and self-catering accommodation in one glorious spot. It's fast becoming a popular destination for weddings as well.

Strangford Lough off Co Down is separated from the Irish Sea by the Ards Peninsula. It is a popular tourist attraction noted for its fishing and the picturesque villages and townships which border its waters. These include Portaferry on the Ards Peninsula which is connected to Strangford across the Lough by a small car ferry. Both Portaferry and Strangford offer great restaurants, bars with entertainment and coffee shops for couples to enjoy on a day out or short break.

Strangford Lough off Co Down is separated from the Irish Sea by the Ards Peninsula. It is a popular tourist attraction noted for its fishing and the picturesque villages and townships which border its waters. These include Portaferry on the Ards Peninsula which is connected to Strangford across the Lough by a small car ferry. Both Portaferry and Strangford offer great restaurants, bars with entertainment and coffee shops for couples to enjoy on a day out or short break.

Northern Ireland Tourist Board

This beautiful avenue of beech trees in Stranocum, Co Antrim was planted by the Stuart family in the eighteenth century. For fans of the HBO's epic series Game of Thrones, it has become a cultural Mecca as it representing the King's Road in the popular series.
It was intended as a compelling landscape feature to impress visitors as they approached the entrance to their Georgian mansion, Gracehill House. 
Two centuries later, the trees remain a magnificent sight and have become one of the most photographed natural phenomena in Northern Ireland.

This beautiful avenue of beech trees in Stranocum, Co Antrim was planted by the Stuart family in the eighteenth century. For fans of the HBO's epic series Game of Thrones, it has become a cultural Mecca as it representing the King's Road in the popular series. It was intended as a compelling landscape feature to impress visitors as they approached the entrance to their Georgian mansion, Gracehill House. Two centuries later, the trees remain a magnificent sight and have become one of the most photographed natural phenomena in Northern Ireland.

Cushendun stands on an elevated beach at the outflow of the Glendun and Glencorp valleys. The area has lots of bars, quaint craft shops and tea rooms to enjoy and leading man Liam Neeson has been known to visit when he's home. The name in Irish is Cois an Duine, meaning Foot of the Dun, identifying the village's location at the mouth of the River Dun. The pretty village was designed by Clough William Ellis in 1912 at the request of Ronald John McNeill, Baron Cushendun. The picturesque Cornish appearance was deliberate, to please the Baron's Penzance-born wife, Maud. Ellis designed a village square with seven houses which are today run as craft shops and tea rooms. After Maud's death in 1925, Ellis designed a row of whitewashed, quaint cottages in her memory. Baron Cushendun also commissioned neo-Georgian Glenmona House with all the mock pomposity of eighteenth century architecture.

Cushendun stands on an elevated beach at the outflow of the Glendun and Glencorp valleys. The area has lots of bars, quaint craft shops and tea rooms to enjoy and leading man Liam Neeson has been known to visit when he's home. The name in Irish is Cois an Duine, meaning Foot of the Dun, identifying the village's location at the mouth of the River Dun. The pretty village was designed by Clough William Ellis in 1912 at the request of Ronald John McNeill, Baron Cushendun. The picturesque Cornish appearance was deliberate, to please the Baron's Penzance-born wife, Maud. Ellis designed a village square with seven houses which are today run as craft shops and tea rooms. After Maud's death in 1925, Ellis designed a row of whitewashed, quaint cottages in her memory. Baron Cushendun also commissioned neo-Georgian Glenmona House with all the mock pomposity of eighteenth century architecture.

Northern Ireland Tourist Board

A walk around the walls in Londonderry reveals a splendid city crammed full of history, heritage, interest and a vibrant cultural scene. The Maiden City is a brilliant place to visit for a short break for couples who like history, great music and food in a city that is easily to walk around.

A walk around the walls in Londonderry reveals a splendid city crammed full of history, heritage, interest and a vibrant cultural scene. The Maiden City is a brilliant place to visit for a short break for couples who like history, great music and food in a city that is easily to walk around.

The Sperrins Region is located in the centre of Northern Ireland, stretching from the western shoreline of Lough Neagh in County Tyrone to the southern portions of County Londonderry. The distinctive glaciated landscape of the Sperrins constitutes one of the most idyllic geographical areas of rural Ireland and has many waymarked ways and cycle routes.

The Sperrins Region is located in the centre of Northern Ireland, stretching from the western shoreline of Lough Neagh in County Tyrone to the southern portions of County Londonderry. The distinctive glaciated landscape of the Sperrins constitutes one of the most idyllic geographical areas of rural Ireland and has many waymarked ways and cycle routes.

Northern Ireland Tourist Board

Mourne Mountains or Mournes, are a well-loved rugged area of stunning hills and scenic views that is perfect for lovers who want to get away from the rest of the crowd. The granite mountain range located in County Down in the south-east of Northern Ireland, are among the most famous of the mountains on the island of Ireland. The surrounding area is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is proposed as the first National Park in Northern Ireland. The Mountains of Mourne are partly owned by the National Trust and see a large number of visitors every year. The highest mountain is Slieve Donard at 849 metres (2,786 ft).

Mourne Mountains or Mournes, are a well-loved rugged area of stunning hills and scenic views that is perfect for lovers who want to get away from the rest of the crowd. The granite mountain range located in County Down in the south-east of Northern Ireland, are among the most famous of the mountains on the island of Ireland. The surrounding area is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is proposed as the first National Park in Northern Ireland. The Mountains of Mourne are partly owned by the National Trust and see a large number of visitors every year. The highest mountain is Slieve Donard at 849 metres (2,786 ft).

Northern Ireland Tourist Board

The Gortin Glen Forest Park in County Tyrone lies six miles north of Omagh, and is a gateway to the wild Sperrin Mountains to the east

The Gortin Glen Forest Park in County Tyrone lies six miles north of Omagh, and is a gateway to the wild Sperrin Mountains to the east

Northern Ireland Tourist Board

Where else would a king treat his queen than the majestic Belfast Castle? Good food, beautiful historical architecture and park land can be enjoyed by visitors. It's set on the slopes of Cavehill Country Park in a prominent position 400 feet above sea level. Its location provides unobstructed views of the city and Belfast Lough. A castle has existed on the site since the late 12th Century but the current building was completed in 1870 by the 2nd Marquess of Donegall, and was designed by Charles Lanyon.

Where else would a king treat his queen than the majestic Belfast Castle? Good food, beautiful historical architecture and park land can be enjoyed by visitors. It's set on the slopes of Cavehill Country Park in a prominent position 400 feet above sea level. Its location provides unobstructed views of the city and Belfast Lough. A castle has existed on the site since the late 12th Century but the current building was completed in 1870 by the 2nd Marquess of Donegall, and was designed by Charles Lanyon.

Northern Ireland Tourist Board

Dunluce Castle, Co Antrim. This medieval castle is still truly stunning and gives visitors one of the best views of the coastline. Lovers can watch the waves rol in and make wishes in the well. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.

Dunluce Castle, Co Antrim. This medieval castle is still truly stunning and gives visitors one of the best views of the coastline. Lovers can watch the waves rol in and make wishes in the well. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.

Love and chocolate often go hand and hand and the Culloden Hotel in Holywood, Co Down is giving couples, (and those happy singletons) a chance to combine the two with its Chocolate Afternoon Tea available from February 9 -15.

Love and chocolate often go hand and hand and the Culloden Hotel in Holywood, Co Down is giving couples, (and those happy singletons) a chance to combine the two with its Chocolate Afternoon Tea available from February 9 -15.

If your other half is a Game of Thrones fan then delight them with a Winterfell experience at the Valentine's Game of Thrones Archery Experience in Castleward, Downpatrick in Castleward, Downpatrick from February 14-15.

If your other half is a Game of Thrones fan then delight them with a Winterfell experience at the Valentine's Game of Thrones Archery Experience in Castleward, Downpatrick in Castleward, Downpatrick from February 14-15.

A spectacular night of entertainment is planned for the St Valentine's weekend special event a the Cabaret Supper Club in Belfast's AM:PM with a two course dinner and burlesque show with plenty of glitz glamour.

A spectacular night of entertainment is planned for the St Valentine's weekend special event a the Cabaret Supper Club in Belfast's AM:PM with a two course dinner and burlesque show with plenty of glitz glamour.

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Romantic walks: Portstewart Strand. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

Everyone remembers where they were when they met "The One".

Whether it was a stroll across Portstewart strand, a relaxing afternoon at Castle Ward, or even a terrifying walk across Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, the memory of the moment when you met the love of your life never fades.

Sara O'Neill (33) is a stylist and illustrator

She lives in Portstewart with her fiance, surfer Al Mennie, and their dog Blyton. She says:

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Sara O'Neill with her fiancé Al Mennie

Sara O'Neill with her fiancé Al Mennie

Sara O'Neill with her fiancé Al Mennie

"I'm from Portrush originally and Al lives here, too, but I moved to Belfast about 15 years ago to go to university and that's when he arrived, so we didn't know each other at all at first.

"I moved back to Portrush about 18 months ago and, around this time last year, I had gone for a walk on Portstewart Strand.

"I was walking on the beach and one of my business cards had come out of my bag. They're quite distinctive as they have one of my illustrations of Marie Antoinette on them. The card had fallen into a puddle and the puddle had frozen and Al came upon it and took a photo. At this point, we still hadn't met, he just liked the image.

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"Around the same time, I bumped into the sports reporter Graham Little and got chatting. Graham mentioned Al and a couple of days later, I sent him a friend request on Facebook. We started chatting and he sent me the picture he had taken of my frozen business card.

"We kept chatting on Facebook for a couple of months. Then one day I was at my parents house about to go for a walk on the west strand and I told Al I was going down to the beach for a walk and told him he could join me if he liked.

"That beach means quite a lot to us, as it's where Al saw my business card and it's where we met for the first time and we've stuck together ever since.

"Last summer, Al also proposed to me in a candle-lit cave at Ballintoy Harbour. It's a little quieter, so we were less likely to be disturbed."

Kirsty McMurray (41) is co-host of the Downtown Radio breakfast show

She lives in Bangor with her children, Conor (16) and Katie (14), and her fiance, Andy Brisbane. She says:

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mcmurray

mcmurray

mcmurray

"I met Andy on Facebook. It was when it was quite new and he heard my voice on the radio and added me as a friend.

"We chatted online for about three months before we plucked up the courage to meet.

"It was nothing fancy. We actually brought our kids, as Andy has a daughter, too. We met on a Saturday afternoon at KFC in Bow Street Mall in Lisburn. Things did get a bit more romantic after that, though, and we started dating properly without the children!

"A couple of years later, we went to the Snow Patrol gig at Ward Park in Bangor in the summer of 2010.

"Ward Park is quite special to me, as I practically grew up next door to it. It's always been part of my life. I've fed the ducks there, played there and walked through it on the way to school.

"The concert was a massive gig. The next thing I knew, Andy was down on one knee.

"It was a real spur of the moment thing. When he asked, the band were playing Chasing Cars and the next song just happened to be Just Say Yes. It wasn't planned, it was just a coincidence.

"It was a really lovely moment and it's one I can still see in my head. Every time we walk through Ward Park we know exactly where it happened.

"It's made a place that's very special to me even more special."

Further reading

For more Northern Ireland inspiration for Valentine's Day, visit Discover Northern Ireland - Valentine's Day page and read their Romantic Inspiration Short Breaks in Northern Ireland blog.


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