Holiday cottages in Northern Ireland: Northern Ireland

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Holiday cottages in Ireland: Northern Ireland

map for holiday cottages in northern Ireland Everyone who goes to Northern Ireland, whether on holiday or just for a quick visit, comes back astonished by the warmth and friendliness of people as well as the natural beauty. While Belfast is now a lively magnet for young people, elsewhere the pace of life is relaxed and all the places where you will find holiday cottages to rent are havens of tranquillity.

Find out more about the areas below and choose between holiday cottages in Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry and Tyrone.

Cottages in Northern Ireland

giants causeway northern Irish coast

Like other outlying areas of the British Isles, Northern Ireland has been opened up for travel from England by the blossoming of the no-frills airlines. Ryanair, easyJet and the rest fly to Belfast from many cities in England and Scotland, making a short weekend break or a longer stay a very practical proposition. The province is actually quite compact, so any corner is easily reached from Belfast or Derry (where Ryanair flies from Birmingham, Liverpool, Prestwick and Stansted). There are ferries, too, from Birkenhead and Stranraer to Belfast, and from Fleetwood, Cairnryan and Troon to Larne.

Ards Peninsula

If you don’t want to travel far from Belfast airport, the Ards Peninsula in County Down is one of the most popular areas for holiday cottages. It's just a short drive from the airport and is actually the most easterly part of Ireland. It lies between the sea and the Strangford Lough, which teems with seabirds. The small towns on the lough side of the peninsula are sheltered and pretty: those that face the sea are made of sterner stuff. It’s an area full of history, from ancient burial sites to the abbey at Greyabbey and the later stately homes of the wealthy Anglo-Irish.

From the Ards Peninsula you can see the Mourne Mountains, made famous by the line ‘Where the Mountains o’ Mourne sweep down to the sea’. The mountains are tucked into the south-eastern corner of the province, close to the border with the Republic. The towns and villages around, including the seaside resort of Newcastle, make a great base for a holiday combining seaside and hill walking.

North of Belfast

North of Belfast lie the nine Glens of Antrim, almost completely cut off until the 19th century and the last place in Northern Ireland where Gaelic was spoken. It was the building of a road around the beautiful coastline between Larne and the resort of Portrush, which opened up the Glens and also revealed the Giant’s Causeway, the province’s most famous tourist attraction. There’s a string of interesting coastal villages, including Cushendun where the National Trust owns cottages designed by Clough Williams-Ellis. The beautiful 14-mile North Antrim Cliff Path runs from the causeway, past castles and beaches to Carrick- a-Rede, a tiny offshore rock connected by a swaying rope bridge.

Northern Ireland’s other great holiday area is in the beautiful lakes around Enniskillen, in County Fermanagh, which like so much of the province, offer great opportunities for fishing and boating. Nearby County Tyrone is an ancient moorland kingdom rich in prehistoric and Celtic remains. Over 1,000 standing stones have been logged, including the Beaghmore stone circle near Cookstown. The An Creagan Visitor Centre near Omagh is the best place to discover more about Tyrone’s stone age past, while more recent American connections are explored at the nearby Ulster-American Folk Park. The beaches of Donegal are within easy reach and this is fine walking country, particularly in the Sperrin Hills and Gortin Glen Forest Park.

Nor should you miss the cities – Belfast, Derry and Armagh – which are each worth a day trip (at least). Small it may be, but Northern Ireland has a huge amount to offer.

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