Everyone needs to do a road trip around Northern Ireland at least once!
Often the north is entirely left out of many Irish road trips. We find this shocking and disappointing as there is so much to see in this part of the Emerald Isle!
As a result, we have dedicated an entire article to the six Northern Irish counties. The Northern Irish road trip starts and ends in Belfast. So, here is Northern Ireland in six days.
Day one – experience what Belfast has to offer
On your first day of your Northern Ireland in six days road trip, you need to take in Belfast’s number one attraction: Titanic Belfast.
A one hour tour here takes you back in time to the era when the White Star Liner was built. With nine interactive galleries on the historical shipyard and the ship’s voyage, you’ll leave as an expert on the Titanic.
Next, you need to head to the Belfast Viewpoint on the Divis and Black Mountain walk.
It’s a truly unbelievable experience to go up to the top of these mountains and look over all of Belfast and beyond.
The mountains rest in the heart of the Belfast Hills, which provide the backdrop to the city’s skyline. The rich, varied archaeological landscape is home to a host of wildlife.
Next, visit Belfast’s most historic prison: Crumlin Road Gaol, which is one of the best things to do in Belfast.
The former prison was taken out of service in 1996 and is now a museum and conference centre. A tour allows you to see the prison wings, execution cells, and tunnels to the courthouse. You will also learn about the history of this building and its impact on life in the region.
It’s a brilliantly done and very educational prison museum. If you want a bit of light relief after your tour, head for a bite to eat at the café. The building also hosts many events, from music performances to tours of the paranormal.
Day two – County Antrim along the Causeway Coastal Route
Day two of your Northern Ireland in six days road trip will take you along the spectacular Causeway Coastal Route.
Your first stop is the impressive Carrickfergus Castle on the northern shore of Belfast Lough. The castle has stood for over 800 years, surviving attacks from Scotland, England, and France.
Next, check out Gobbins Walk, an exhilarating cliff-face trail first enjoyed in the early 1900s. It gives unparalleled access to the rugged Antrim Coast that will surely get your heart pumping.
Located on the scenic Islandmagee peninsula, local tourist boards reimagined the attraction for the 21st-century.
The dramatic and challenging path includes spectacular tubular and suspension bridges, caves, steps, and tunnels.
Stop off at the pretty Cornish-style coastal village of Cushendun, nestled at the foot of Glendun. Look out for the goat sculpture, ‘Johann’, and the caves behind the village, which feature in Game of Thrones.
Next, check out the incredible Dark Hedges, an iconic archway of intertwining beech trees. It has become one of our most photographed natural phenomena.
The Stuart family planted the hedges in the 18th-century to impress visitors approaching their Georgian mansion.
However, the site is perhaps best known today as a filming location in HBO’s Game of Thrones, in which it doubled as The King’s Road in season two of the epic series.
After walking among the Dark Hedges, test your bravery at the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, which stretches from the sea cliffs to the small Carrick-a-Rede Island.
You can’t pay a visit to the Causeway Coast without stopping off at the Giant’s Causeway.
Visitors can decide for themselves whether the formation has its origin in Irish legends or a volcanic eruption. However, 500,000 people visit these unique rock formations annually.
Day three – Derry and Tyrone
To start day three, take in the view at Mussenden Temple, County Derry.
Mussenden Temple is located in the beautiful surroundings of Downhill Demesne near Castlerock in County Derry.
Perched dramatically on a 120 ft (36.6 m) cliff-top, it sits high above the Atlantic Ocean on the north-western coast.
Offering spectacular views over Downhill Strand towards Magilligan Point and County Donegal and over Castlerock beach towards Portstewart, Portrush, and Fair Head, you can’t miss this hidden gem.
Next, head to Derry City and wander around the iconic city walls. A walk around the walls reveals a splendid city crammed full of history, heritage, and a vibrant cultural scene.
As the only remaining completely walled city in Ireland, it is one of the finest examples of Walled Cities in Europe. The Irish Society built the Walls between 1613 and 1618 as defences for early 17th-century settlers from England and Scotland.
Finish your day in Omagh with a good Irish dinner. We recommend going to Grants is a Bar and Grill, which serves all sorts of fantastic food. This place is good value, and the food is excellent. Enjoy a pint while you’re at it; you deserve it!
Day four – explore Fermanagh
Start your day in Fermanagh by climbing Cole’s Monument. This tall standing monument took an overwhelming 12 years to build and commenced in 1845.
It consists of 108 spiralling steps leading to the top of the monument. From the top of the memorial, you gain a spectacular 360-degree view of the town of Enniskillen.
Next, head to Enniskillen Castle. This castle is the focal point of Enniskillen and is steeped in history. It goes so far back that they don’t even know when the castle was originally built.
The earliest they can accurately date it is the 1420s, when the castle was the stronghold of the Maguire family for 300 years while they were the overall chieftains of Fermanagh.
Nowadays you can come here to see this impressive structure and experience the two museums contained within.
You can’t go to Fermanagh without seeing Lough Erne and the best place to take in Lough Erne is at the Meenameen Lough viewpoint.
Fermanagh is nicknamed the Lakeland County. Thus, Meenameen Lough and the surrounding lakes of Lough Navar, Lough Naman, and Lough Achork illustrate why. You can access Lough Achork, the smallest of the upland lakes, via a looped path that hugs its shoreline.
Afterwards, you have to experience the amazing Marble Arch Caves.
This is an exciting tour, where you will explore underground natural rivers, passage cavities, and waterfalls. It takes approx one hour and 15 minutes and includes an underground boat journey, followed by a 1.5 km (0.9 miles) walk.
Day five – Armagh and Down
Armagh is the county town of County Armagh, and stop number five on our Northern Ireland in six days itinerary.
It is the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland – the seat of the Archbishops of Armagh, the Primates of All Ireland for both the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland.
In ancient times, nearby Navan Fort was a pagan ceremonial site and one of the great royal capitals of Gaelic Ireland.
Today, Armagh is home to two cathedrals (both named after Saint Patrick) and the Armagh Observatory. It is well-known for its Georgian architecture.
After exploring Armagh, head to Newry, the most southern city of the six counties of Northern Ireland. Newry was founded in 1144 alongside a Cistercian monastery. However, there are references to earlier settlements in the area.
The city is an entry to the Gap of the North, close to the border with the Republic of Ireland. Growing as a market town and garrison, Newry became a port in 1742 when it was linked to Lough Neagh by the first summit-level canal built in Ireland or Great Britain.
Next up on your itinerary is Narrow Water Castle and Keep, a famous 16th-century tower house and bawn near Warrenpoint in Northern Ireland.
It is beside the A2 road and on the County Down bank of the Clanrye River, which enters Carlingford Lough a mile to the south. Narrow Water Castle was given into state care in 1956.
Day six – South Down to North Down
The final day of our Northern Ireland in six days road trip takes us into the striking Mourne Mountains.
The tallest peak at 2788 ft (850 m) is Slieve Donard. The Mourne Wall, which connects 15 of the 28 mountains, still stands today almost 100 years after its construction.
After experiencing the majestic Mournes, head to Newcastle, a small and beautiful town on the coast. Located at the foot of the Mourne Mountains on a beach, its sheer beauty has made it an attractive seaside resort.
In recent years, the town has seen a regeneration project which costs millions of pounds. This scheme has made the town an even better tourist attraction.
Next, take one of the most scenic ferry trips in the north, the Strangford to Portaferry Ferry. This ferry transfers passengers and cars between the picturesque villages of Strangford and Portaferry. After taking this ferry, head north towards Bangor.
Bangor is a large town in County Down. It is a seaside resort on the southern side of Belfast Lough and within the Belfast Metropolitan Area.
Tourists support the local economy, particularly in the summer months, and there are plans for the long-delayed redevelopment of the seafront.
Celebrate the end of your trip with a pint in Belfast’s oldest traditional pub: Kelly’s Cellars.
Described as “a hidden gem that oozes old traditional values”, it is famous for a pint of Guinness, served with homemade Irish beef stew. Built in 1720, Kelly’s Cellars has changed very little in 200 years and still has most of its original features.