Extreme Ireland / Irish day tours Travel the length and breadth of Ireland and have always incorporated Northern Ireland into our itineraries both in our multi day tours and our day tour offerings. Northern Ireland has spectacular scenery as well as an historic past both recent and ancient that makes this area one of the must visit locations in Ireland.
The recent history of Northern Ireland has its roots in the first plantation of the Provence of Ulster back in 1570 this was a failed plantation and the local lords retook the land. In 1609 there was a second plantation after there had been a revolt by the local lords led by Hugh O Neill. The revolt was quelled and the Earls fled to France. The second plantation was the biggest plantation in Ireland with mass confiscation of land and a complete change in the demographic of Northern Ireland. The majority of the new settlers were presbyterian or church of England.
The six counties were separated from the other twenty six counties at the time of the treaty (1921) between Ireland and England after the war of independence. There was relative peace in Northern Ireland until the late 60’s. At this time a civil rights movement began looking for equal rights for the catholic community. The Majority protestant community felt threatened by this uprising of the Catholic community and tried to quell the protests with violence. The violence escalated and divided communities which led to what became known as the troubles. This was a dark era in Northern Irish history with bombings and killings happening on a regular basis. Both sides have seen the futility of the killing and moved onto political discourse back in 1999. This makes it possible for us to safely visit this region of Ireland. The Belfast day tour gives you a great insight into the history of Belfast which was a flash point for the troubles.
Some of the most beautiful places in Ireland are situated in Northern Ireland and surprisingly the most northern part of Ireland Malin head is situated in the republic. Donegal has a dramatic Atlantic coastline and is home to the highest sea cliffs in Europe the Slieve League cliffs. The mountainous terrain is stunning and an adventure playground for anyone with a sense of adventure. Lough Neagh is the largest lake in Ireland with 5 of the 6 counties touching its shorelines. There are many fantastic views from different viewpoints and there is a nature reserve at Oxford Island. The Mourne mountains are the biggest mountain range in northern Ireland with slieve Donard being the highest mountain. This is an area of outstanding beauty with pending national park status and is used by many trekers and hill walkers exploring this rural region. The coastal route along the Antrim coast is in my opinion one of the most scenic coastal drives or walks in the whole country of Ireland. We have to include the famous Giants Causeway as one of the top attractions in Ireland. This is Ireland’s first Unesco site. It was formed by volcanic activity 50 to 60 million years ago which created a spectacular vista of 40 thousand interlocking columns. You can visit this and do the Antrim coastal drive on the Giants causeway tour.
- Visitor centre at the Giants causeway which gives information on the causeway how it was formed and the stories and fables surrounding it. You can do a guided tour of the causeway or pick up a linguistic audio guide.
- The national trust operate and maintain the Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge. This was a rope bridge originally erected by fishermen 350 years ago but it is now a tourist attraction and affords spectacular sea views. This is a part of the Giants Causeway tour from Dublin.
- The Titanic visitor centre opened its doors in 2012. This centre relays stories of the Titanic from its building fit out to its sinking. It is an interactive exhibition and is crammed with interesting and engaging exhibits.
- Saint Patrick Centre; This is situated in Down Patrick which is home to the grave of Saint Patrick. The centre tells the story of Ireland’s patron saint .
- Oxford Island National nature reserve. The lough Neagh Discovery centre has staff with expert Knowledge, a tourist information centre and a café. Then explore and enjoy the national nature reserve.
- The Gobbins sea walk : There was an old path along these cliffs that had fallen into terrible disrepair and was closed in 1954. In 2014 the path was rebuilt with paths bridges suspended crossings constructed. You get to walk along a specially constructed pathway for a mile along the base of the Gobbins cliffs, enjoy stunning scenery and have a truly unique experience.
There is much more to explore and discover in Northern Ireland including the walls of Derry, Castles including Dunluce castle, the dark hedges and quaint villages. The people are friendly and welcoming and you are guaranteed an experience that will stay with you a lifetime.