One of Ireland’s most special places, the spectacular North Coast, is blessed with a number of fantastic sites.
So to help you begin your adventure, we have compiled a list of the top ten things you need to see on the North Coast.
You simply have to see with your own eyes to truly appreciate them!
Coleraine – a pretty little town covered in flowers – has received a variety of ‘Tidy Town’ awards over the years.
With a number of independent shops in the town, alongside the high street chains, there is plenty to occupy even the most avid shopper.
If shopping isn’t quite your thing, there are plenty of cafés and benches which will allow you to sit and watch the world go by.
9. Mussenden Temple
The peaceful, atmospheric Mussenden Temple was originally built as a library, and its architecture was inspired by the Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, near Rome.
Perched on the cliff edge near Castlerock, County Antrim, the Temple offers spectacular views to the west over Downhill Strand towards Magilligan Point and County Donegal and eastwards towards Castlerock beach, Portstewart, Portrush, and Fair Head.
Portrush is a small seaside town in County Antrim. It boasts some of the best surfing locations in all of Ireland.
If surfing isn’t your thing, both kids and adults will enjoy the beautiful beaches found at Whiterocks, West Bay and East Strand.
In the spring and summer months, it is home to Barry’s Amusements – the largest theme park in the north.
If you find you need to whet your appetite, you simply have to visit the award-winning Ramore Wine Bar.
7. Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge
Perhaps not an attraction for the fainthearted but if you are feeling brave, you can cross the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge.
First erected by salmon fishermen in 1755, the bridge is suspended almost 100ft above the sea. It links the mainland to the small island of Carrickarede which is home to only one house – a fisherman’s cottage.
Once you buy your ticket, you have an hour to walk across the bridge and take in the utterly breathtaking view.
6. Dunluce Castle
Situated on the dramatic coastal cliffs of County Antrim, Dunluce Castle was first built around 1500 by the MacQuillan family and later seized by the MacDonnell clan.
Although much of the castle is now ruined, it is said to have inspired many artists – from CS Lewis to Led Zeppelin.
Explore Dunluce Castle using the app for iPhone and Android devices, which is available free of charge from the App Store and Google Play.
5. Old Bushmills Distillery
A trip to the Old Bushmills Distillery is certainly not to be missed. Ireland’s oldest working distillery is located upon the river in the small village of Bushmills, County Antrim.
For over 400 years, the distillery has created beautifully smooth Irish whiskey.
The Bushmills Distillery experience includes a fascinating guided tour around the working distillery, whiskey tastings and a gift shop and a specialist whiskey shop. At the end of the tour, you can enjoy a whiskey (or a soft drink) in the bar.
4. Rathlin Island
Hop on the ferry at Ballycastle which travels just six miles across the Sea of Moyle to the beautiful Rathlin Island.
Be transported far from busy day-to-day life and let your mind wander while appreciating the beautiful sights the island has to offer.
Rathlin is home to hundreds of seals and from April to July is puffin season, so don’t miss the opportunity to see them along with the many other seabirds which reside on the rugged little island.
You can also visit the Boathouse Visitor Centre and discover some of the island’s history and learn about island life in the present.
Before you leave, make sure to stop by for a bite to eat and few drinks in McCuaigs Bar which is full of charm.
3. Dark Hedges
Another must-see spot on the North Coast is one of the most photographed locations in Northern Ireland – the Dark Hedges, in Stranocum, County Antrim.
The Dark Hedges are almost two centuries old, 150 iconic beech trees intertwine to form a tunnel. The stunning location has become even more famous in recent years after it was used as part of ‘The Kingsroad’ on the hit TV show Game of Thrones.
Just be sure to watch out for the Grey Lady – the ghost who apparently haunts the road in the depths of the night!
In Portstewart lies The Strand – a glorious blue flag beach. With golden sands and the ancient sand dunes, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a picnic or a long walk.
When you have worked up an appetite, warm up with a delicious meal at Harry’s Shack which is located beside the dunes.
Also, make sure you don’t go home without enjoying a famous Morelli’s ice cream on the Promenade!
1. Giant’s Causeway
According to legend, the columns are the remains of a causeway built by the great Irish giant Finn MacCool – hence the name, the Giant’s Causeway.
Of course, there’s the other more scientific reason behind the formation of the Giant’s Causeway.
It is the result of an ancient volcanic fissure eruption which left the basalt columns which remain today.
Whichever story you decide to believe, there’s no denying that the stunning national nature reserve deserves to be number one on the list of places to visit on the North Coast!