Northern Ireland is one of the island’s most stunning territories, and while it has seen centuries of conflict, it is safer than ever to visit. Saying that, these are ten things you should never do in Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland is made up of six counties in the north of the island. It is known historically as a land rife with political oppositions and generations of conflict.
However, politics aside, Northern Ireland is a beautiful region with a vibrant culture, impressive natural sights, and places of interest.
While Northern Ireland is extremely safe for tourists and native travellers to visit, these are ten things you should never do in Northern Ireland.
10. Don’t expect Euros to be accepted – the currency change
It may seem strange to out-of-towners, but today, Ireland and Northern Ireland are a borderless divide. Whereas the Republic of Ireland is an independent country, Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom.
Given that, when you pass the invisible threshold into Northern Ireland, the currency changes from Euros (€) to British Sterling (£). Although some places may accept Euros, don’t expect it to be a given.
9. Derry versus Londonderry – which one to choose?
The name of this city is widely disputed depending on which political side you take a stance. Those who stand for a united Ireland use Derry; those who are unionists use the term Londonderry.
Be sensitive to the fact that you may offend depending on which term you opt for; so, sometimes, it’s better to leave it out, if possible.
8. Don’t stay in Belfast the entire time – get off the beaten track
One of the things you should never do in Northern Ireland is remain in Belfast the whole time.
With so much beauty and sights to explore, it comes as no surprise that the HBO hit-TV show, Game of Thrones, was shot mostly in this beautiful country!
7. Northern Ireland versus North of Ireland – another source of controversy
This is another term that can ruffle feathers. Those who follow the tricolour flag say North of Ireland; those who follow the Union Jack say Northern Ireland.
Again, this is one of those sayings that could turn some heads if overheard by an opposing party.
6. Never avoid your round at the pub – an Irish essential
Irish people drink in “rounds”. This is where each person of a group buys one drink for every person; this goes on until every person has bought “one round”, and then the round starts again.
One of the things you should never do in Northern Ireland is to avoid your round!
5. Be aware of marching season – the summer season
Another one of the facts about Northern Ireland you best be aware of is that marching season runs each year between June and July. This is when the Orange Party (unionists) march in celebration of William of Orange’s victory in the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.
While Northern Ireland is a very pleasant and safe place to visit, be aware of the dates of marches during this period and avoid getting unnecessarily involved in any political rallies.
4. Don’t brag about being Irish, too – it’s just not the time
It is common for foreign travellers to want to share their roots and history as a sign of camaraderie when visiting the Emerald Isle.
However, given the region’s complicated past, we would list this as one of the things you should never do in Ireland or Northern Ireland. It may open a potential can of worms, and who would want that?
3. Avoid political debates at all costs – the essential
A straightforward piece of advice we would give is to avoid political debates when visiting Northern Ireland.
Centuries of deep-rooted political strife means that the subject is a sensitive one, and best not delved into when visiting from out-of-town.
2. Wear neutral clothing – the simple style suggestion
This may seem obvious, but one of the things you should never do is wear tricolour or British colours when exploring – particularly in places that are known to be territories of the loyalist or republican communities.
Essentially, just be culturally sensitive and wear neutral clothing when visiting Northern Ireland.
1. Don’t shy away – when all is said and done
When all is said and done about the things you should never do in Northern Ireland, we must say that visitors should not shy away from visiting the region.
Northern Ireland is home to some of the world’s most majestic sites, such as the Giant’s Causeway, as well as experiential museums, fantastic gastronomy, and buzzing bars.