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Northern Ireland's grumpiest tourists: TripAdvisor reviews dismiss Giant's Causeway as 'just a pile of rocks' and Ulster Museum as 'a prison out of Star Wars'


The Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge near Ballintoy

The Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge near Ballintoy

The Giant's Causeway

The Giant's Causeway

Northern Ireland Tourist Board

Titanic Belfast

Titanic Belfast


The Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge near Ballintoy

Worth seeing, but not worth going to see - now it seems that there are plenty of 21st century tourists out to rival Samuel Johnson's withering 18th century verdict on the Giant's Causeway when it comes to dismissing our tourist delights.

While positive reviews on our attractions outweigh the negative, it seems everyone is a critic after they've gotten home.

Dipping into the TripAdvisor section for 'terrible' comments about our tourist attractions sees the Causeway dismissed as "just a pile of rocks", while its car parking fees are also condemned. Employees of the site were also dismissed as "rude, abrupt and unaccommodating".

A few miles up the coast and the beloved Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge is branded "a big dissapointment" (sic) by one disenchanted visitor.

"Ive been quite surprised to see how small the bridge is. It looks nothing like in pictures."

Other natural wonders to receive the blunt TripAdvisor treatment include Co Fermanagh's Marble Arch Caves.

"If you've seen one cave... not much to see or do here... was disappointed... lots of waiting around, too..." was the verdict of one visitor.

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The region's harshest critics spread the ink of discontent far and wide. Londonderry's tourist attractions were dismissed. Museum of Free Derry was "waaaay too much detail, overwhelming and ultimately a bit numbing". Apprentice Boys Memorial Hall was: "Perhaps a building best viewed from the exterior!"

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One of the most damning verdicts for an attraction's architecture was levelled at the Ulster Museum, damningly dismissed as "a truly appalling building, like a prison out of Star Wars".

Titanic Belfast was condemned as "a total white elephant" by one critic, who blasted the centre as "completely superficial, tourist kitsch". Another was underwhelmed by Titanic Belfast's "mediocre exhibition".

Even though the Queen appeared to enjoy the mobile carriage over a replica of the city's shipyard during her visit in 2012, another visitor said "the silly ride along ghost-train style trip was cringeworthy at best".

Attractions for young children did not escape. A visitor to Bangor's Pickie Fun Park said: "This place is depressing. It needs a good facelift."

Those who liked what they saw in Northern Ireland - who far outnumbered the moaners - did not hold back on their praise.

One Texan gentleman said of Titanic Belfast: "The interactive displays are top-notch and the self tour is educational and interesting while honoring the loss of this magnificent ship, its passengers, and crew."

Restaurateurs and hoteliers in Northern Ireland were ambivalent about the TripAdvisor comments.

Colum McLornan, co-owner of the Marine Hotel in Ballycastle, Co Antrim, said: "Reviews should be taken with a pinch of salt, as a very small amount of a venue's actual customers post reviews.

"For a venue, it is a good tool and keeps you on your toes. Clients can now also book rooms via TripAdvisor, so it's now providing competition to booking.com."

Tourism Minister Jonathan Bell was not available for comment last night and no one was available at Tourism Northern Ireland.

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