Belfast Telegraph

Derry's walls vs China's landmark, Tyrone's circle vs Stonehenge...we're on a par with the world's best sights


It might seem a bit of a stretch to compare Stormont with the White House and Derry's Walls with the Great Wall of China, but our tourist attractions are on a par if not better than the rest of the world's, according to the NI Tourist Board.

From awe-inspiring coastlines to fortified cities and a vacant jailhouse, those who can't afford a holiday really needn't worry – just pack up the car and explore the top-class tourist sites that can be found locally.

Perhaps it's a case of taking for granted what's under our noses.

The NITB's Pauline Gormley argues that with such natural beauty and fascinating places to explore, there is no need for people to travel around the globe to indulge in history, catch a glimpse of stunning scenery or see some of the world's most captivating sites.

"Northern Ireland is an enthralling place to visit with sites and attractions that are on a par with many of the world's famous tourist attractions.

"Each one offers a unique insight into Northern Ireland, from its past to the modern province of Ulster right through to its future and political landscape," she said.

She added: "We have our very own breathtaking coastline along the north coast route which is ranked among the top in the world, sites of important archaeological importance such as Navan Fort and the Beaghmore stone circle, and places that are completely unique to Northern Ireland that can't be found anywhere else in the world, including the Giant's Causeway."

According to the NITB, we don't have to travel to China to see an example of walled fortification as Derry is one of the finest examples of a walled city in Europe and the only remaining completely intact one in Ireland.

The Antrim coast tops the list of the most breathtaking, sea-hugging routes in Europe, according to the Sunday Times travel section. The coastline is packed with stunning scenery including the Giant's Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, Dunluce Castle, Cushendall, Cushendun and the fishing village of Glenarm.

The Antrim coast has been ranked first in the list of the world's Six Best Coastal Drives.

Just like San Francisco's Alcatraz Prison, Belfast has its very own vacant jailhouse full of history and notable inmates in the form of Crumlin Road Gaol

The White House is one of the world's most symbolic buildings but, when it comes to political powerhouses, Belfast's 'House on the Hill' at Stormont is just as architecturally impressive.

Few bridges are as impressive as California's Golden Gate, but for those who don't want to travel thousands of miles there is a stunning suspension bridge located a little closer to home in the form of Derry's Peace Bridge.

Just like Hoover Dam, the Silent Valley reservoir in the Mournes of Co Down has become an important attraction, drawing around 50,000 visitors every year who come to enjoy the peace and solitude of this mountain area.

The stunning landscapes in The Lord Of The Ring's trilogy saw movie fans flocking to New Zealand to marvel at its breathtaking scenery.

Now film buffs have been hot-footing it to Northern Ireland to tour the locations used in the filming of HBO's Game Of Thrones, one of the most successful fantasy television series ever made.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph