Spring into Armagh for a blooming great time…
If there’s one season of the year that really brings out the best in Armagh – its lush green countryside, miles of orchards and surrounding areas- then Spring is it.
With warming weather, longer days and new and exciting activities planned to cast off the wintry spell, Armagh is bursting with quality experiences to offer in art, culture, food, fun, shopping and family events.
Fall in love with Armagh this Spring by sampling the area’s top 12 things to see and do, including many hidden gems and some of Armagh’s best-kept secrets.
1 – Georgian Delight
Recognised the world over for its Georgian past and heritage, Armagh City’s architectural splendour will put a spring in your step as you wander through its historic streets and iconic Mall.
Enjoy a light bite or a sumptuous meal in one of its many award-winning eateries, including Uluru Bar & Grill and Groucho’s.
Explore the legacy of the orchard county by stepping back into the Eighteenth Century at the town’s 4-star visitor attraction, The Armagh Robinson Library, or savour Armagh’s natural beauty by visiting the Chairdinéil Ó Fiaich Heritage Centre in Cullyhanna, a traditional village set in the hills in the southwest corner of South Armagh.
2 – Best bars and cafés bar none
From fine wine to cocktails, craft beers and the traditional black stuff, you’ll find Armagh, and its bustling surrounding towns have more choice than you can imagine.
In the city itself, The Hole in the Wall and award-winning bars Red Ned’s and Keegan’s provide a lively respite.
Coffee lovers will never be caught short either in a city packed with baristas working their magic in uniquely independent, friendly outlets – though the big-name guys are here too.
Try Embers, The Basement, Allen’s or Tin House Coffee for your caffeine fix.
3 – Pace yourself and take a tour
To experience the real deal at a relaxed pace, enjoy a guided tour exploring Armagh’s rich history – from prehistoric Ireland to its unmatched Georgian times and the thriving city it is today.
Book yourself onto one of the many guided tours available, allowing you to see, feel and learn on your feet!
From historical buildings and stunning, ancient sites, cathedrals and age-old walkways, it’s a place to be explored- who knows what hidden gems you could uncover!
4 – Don’t forget the Apples!
Food, apples and cider are central to life in Armagh, and no trip would be complete without sampling the quality of the food and produce, sipping a cider or going the whole hog and visiting one of the region’s famous orchards and well-known producers to see for yourself why they have won so many awards!
Armagh Cider Company, McIvor’s and Long Meadow Farm are all great places to start to ensure you don’t miss a thing in an area where apples have been grown for thousands of years.
Ireland’s Orchard County is unique – and its world-famous Bramley apple is as important as champagne and parmesan cheese.
See where they’re grown, how the cider is made and get a glass in your hand.
5 – Where myth meets reality
Just a couple of miles from the city is a place where myth and reality meet.
As the ancient seat of Kings and the earliest capital of Ulster, the Navan Centre & Fort has all the answers to your questions.
You can step back in time by 2000 years with a visit to its Iron Age dwelling and meet the Celts who will bring history to life.
Find out how they survived and thrived as part of an interactive, hands-on experience.
6 – Stay a while and take it all in
Accommodation in Armagh is as varied as the county itself. From luxurious stately and historic homes to hotels, hostels and friendly, award-winning B&Bs catering for every budget, why not spend a night or two to ensure you get the full measure of the place.
For something really special, look no further than Blackwell House in Scarva. Recently awarded the coveted title of ‘Guesthouse of the Year 2019’ by Ireland’s longest-running food and hospitality awards, Georgina Campbell’s Guide, the guesthouse offers a warm and cosy getaway with lots of great food and company.
The 5-star B&B, Old Coach House in Dromore offers stunning views over the valley to the Gillhall Estate and River Lagan.
For history, Newforge House, a historic family-run country house offers warm hospitality, luxurious rooms and delicious local seasonal food in tranquil surroundings.
While Armagh City Hotel provides a wide range of accommodation, great food and regular entertainment to fill your days, and your nights, well. If you’d rather get back to nature, opt for a quiet, rural retreat at the Birch Eco Cottage.
7 – Entertainment on tap
From outstanding shows, musical entertainment, acting talent, workshops to visual arts, the Market Place Theatre in Armagh is a must.
With hit musical Grease, special film screenings, jazz, country, orchestral and piano recitals, kids’ entertainment and comedy, there’s a hectic, eclectic schedule of events on offer this spring to fill your heart and make memories for years to come.
8 – Apple Blossom weekend
Though there are many ways to soak up the history and heritage of its apple growing tradition, this year is exceptional, when the spring calendar culminates in a very special Apple Blossom Weekend.
See a sight like no other when Armagh celebrates its orchard county status and marks the start of the 2019 growing season in in May.
Call into Dan Winter’s Cottage, nestled right in the heart of the Bramley Apple Country from Friday 10th to Sunday 12th May to experience its 4,000 acres of pink blossom-filled fields and enjoy one of the several experiential, family and food-focused events that is guaranteed to whet your appetite for more.
Tour the house and sample some of Mrs Jean Patterson’s Soda bread and Potato apple- freshly made on the old griddle over the open turf fire in the farmhouse kitchen.
9 – FE McWilliam Gallery & Studio
A quick trip from Armagh will take you to the multiple-award-winning FE McWilliam Gallery & Studio in Armagh where you can check out its newest curated exhibition, the famous works of City of Derry artist Locky Morris will captivate and inspire.
Following a critically-acclaimed showcase of his work in Pittsburgh, New York, Belgrade, Prague and Salzburg, this ‘once a day, every day, all day long’ exhibition references changes not only in Morris’ own personal circumstances but his depictions of the now-transformed landscape of post-conflict Northern Ireland.
But don’t leave it at that- the gallery houses its own award-winning restaurant, Quails, which serves excellent food and drinks in convivial and sophisticated surroundings overlooking the specially-designed sculpture garden. Stop in for a bite to eat or a drink, and savour the artistic surroundings.
10 – Get lost in space
Did you know that for over 50 years, Armagh Observatory and Planetarium has been at the forefront of astronomy and scientific research in the UK and Ireland?
Visit this outstanding family-friendly visitor attraction packed with interactive displays where you can learn about the cosmos and even design, build and launch your own space rocket.
Celebrating 50 years since man landed on the moon this summer, it’s only right that you make this year your time to visit!
11 – Brownlow House
Visit the new first-class, interactive World War 2 exhibition located in the basement of Brownlow House. Operating as HQ during this period, Brownlow House hosted a large US Armagh contingent, with many secret operations hatched here.
Embark on a fascinating journey set within original structures and spy on a top-secret conversation; meet a virtual GI in his Nissen Hut and learn about how the locals embraced life with the arrival of the troops.
12 – The Táin Tapestries – Louis Le Brocquy
The works of one of Ireland’s foremost painters are on display in a unique exhibition in the Market Place Theatre.
The ‘Táin’ tapestries by Louis le Brocquy will captivate visitors from 8 March – Sat 4 May, as part of a special exhibition of illustrative works that depict heroic stories of a bygone age.
Born in Dublin in 1916, Le Brocquy’s work has been exhibited at galleries across the world and represented in numerous public collections, from the Guggenheim, New York to Tate, London and now in Armagh as part of a series of cultural events to celebrate the Home of St. Patrick.
Whatever your interest and whatever your mood, spring in Armagh is a treat for the senses. Experience it for yourself and find out more now by going to visitarmagh.com/Spring-in-to-Armagh.
Alternatively, phone Armagh Visitor Information on 028 3752 1800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.