There’s no place more magical than Northern Ireland. From snake charmers to shamrocks, Northern Ireland is home to legends, limericks and a long tradition of festivals and cultural events. While many travelers board flights to Northern Ireland to partake in the local celebrations and hike the countryside, the history of Northern Ireland remains a permanent fixture in the country’s everyday life. After years of struggle and strife between the Protestants and the Catholics that resulted in hundreds of deaths, Northern Ireland finally gained ownership of its government in 1999. The Good Friday Agreement of 1998 transferred governing power from Britain to the Northern Irish parliament, giving Northern Ireland a chance to rule its own. Since the Good Friday Agreement, Northern Ireland has remained a peaceful nation.
The popular cities of Belfast and Derry are the most traveled to, but visitors flying to Northern Ireland should explore the smaller towns, too. If Ireland is known for one thing it’s the landscape and Northern Ireland doesn’t disappoint. Take a hike or horseback through the rolling hills and don’t miss the Antrim Coastline – also known as the Giant’s Causeway – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This must-see tourist attraction is a “walkway” constructed of closely packed columns from the sea from the base of the cliffs on the Antrim coastline. If a trip to the UK is in your plans, don’t miss a flight to Northern Ireland for a chance to experience England’s great outdoors and Ireland’s unique festivals and arts events.
Northern Ireland climate
If you’re booking flights to Northern Ireland in the summer, you’ll most likely experience the warm temperate climate that surprisingly comes with its northern latitude. Influenced by the Gulf Stream, rain is plentiful, and it snows more than the Republic, its southern neighbor, does.
Best Time to Fly to Northern Ireland
Book cheap flights to Northern Ireland in April and June, when the crowds are down, the days are longer, and the rates are affordable.
Peak Season: While July and August supply the best weather all year round, finding cheap flights to Northern Ireland may be a bit of a feat, considering the small peak season. If you’re looking to hit festival season at the end of the summer, plan in advance to secure your spot in the fun.
Off-peak Season: Winter in Northern Ireland occasionally sees ice and snow, but it’s mostly characterized by rainfall. Although January and February call for gray skies and temperatures in the chilly 40’s, it’s also the best time to find deals on hotels and cheap flights to Northern Ireland. Londonderry and Belfast draw crowds all year round, so book ahead of time if you’re planning to visit those locations.
Getting around Northern Ireland
The country’s small size makes domestic Northern Ireland flights unnecessary, even if you want to see it all. In general, buses, trains, and ferries will get you where you need to go.Two bus stations, the Main Europa Bus Centre (behind the Europa Hotel), and the Great Victoria Station (near the Great Northern Mall) are easy connections to the west, south, and to Dublin. A smaller station, Laganside Bus Centre, is near the river, and will take you to the eastern end of the country. All stations have information desks that offer regional timetables.
If you’re traveling further, trains and ferries are your best method of North Ireland travel. Trains go to Dublin and other major cities in the Republic of Ireland, and most destinations can be reached by way of Belfast’s central train station. Ferries and catamarans will take you to the Isle of Man, Troon Scotland, Heysham, and Liverpool, England. The ferry at Donegall Quay is a 15 minute walk from city hall, or you can take a bus.
Northern Ireland Travel Information
- Albert Memorial Clock Tower: Upon seeing the Memorial Clock Tower many travelers do a doube-take and wonder if their flight to Northern Ireland actually landed in Italy: While it’s not the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Albert Memorial Clock Tower does, in fact, lean. Erected in 1867, it was built in honor of Queen Victoria’s late husband, and situated in the River Lagan area. Restoration work as stabilized it over the years, and it gleams a sparkling shade of white that is certainly not to be missed.
- Belfast Castle: Built in 1870 for the third Marquess of Donegall, the Belfast Castle is now a beautiful venue used for wedding receptions and other fancy affairs. If you’re booking flights to Northern Ireland with a special occasion in mind, the Belfast Castle is the premier spot to see. After its extensive renovation in 1978, some of the antiquity was replaced with chic modernity. Now, the Cave Hill Visitor Center houses remnants of folklore, pieces of history, and chunks of archaeology for all to absorb. A small antique shop and the cellar restaurant lead way to the formal gardens outside, where mosaics, paintings, and sculptures surround outdoor garden furniture.
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More useful information about Northern Ireland
- Follow the Ridgeway National Trail from Avebury, a stone circle about 5,000 years older than Stonehenge.
- Several airlines connect cities around the UK including BA, Ryanair, and easyJet.
- Book a one way flight to the UK and land at Heathrow, Gatwick, or Stansted airports.
- Direct flights to the UK are always packed since it is a year-round destination.
- Take a last minute flight to the UK to visit London’s West End, one of the largest theater district in the world.
- Among the top seaside resorts are Whitby, Yorkshire; Wells-next-the-Sea, and Norfolk.
- Venture further north to Perthshire and the Grampian hills of Angus to get a taste of the rich Scottish countryside.
- The UK has a temperate climate. The weather is generally mild, but it varies according to region.