Northern Ireland is a constituent unit of the United Kingdom. It is a separate region from Ireland itself. The other units that comprise the United Kingdom are Wales, Scotland, and England. Some refer to Northern Ireland as a country, while others call it a region or province. It shares a border with the Republic of Ireland. Travel to Northern Ireland has been popular as of late, with many tourists looking to explore its beautiful sacred, cultural and natural sites. Needless to say, there are as many sights to visit as there are in the Republic of Ireland.
Northern Ireland was established in 1921 wherein a partition was created between Ireland and Northern Ireland through an act enforced by the British Parliament. Despite its storied past, Northern Ireland is the most industrialized region on the island of Ireland. When the region was in the midst of social and political turmoil, the economy suffered a decline. But it did regain its footing in the 1990s with the help of tourism, business, and investments from all over the world.
Today, travel to Northern Ireland continues to grow. One of its most popular attractions is the Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim. This site was enlisted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986. It was also declared as a natural reserve by the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland the following year. The Giant’s Causeway has attracted tourists to travel to Northern Ireland for its unique interlocking basalt columns estimated to total up to 40,000! It is located along the northeast coast of Northern Ireland and was believed to have formed out of a volcanic eruption.
Currency: Pound Sterling
Official Language: There is no official language in Northern Ireland although the use of English has been established.
Wi-Fi Availability: The government has launched a program that provides free Wi-Fi access in public places and transport.
Airport/s: The Belfast International Airport is the main international airport that serves the flights that travel to Northern Ireland.
Visa Required: A UK visa is essential for travel to Northern Ireland.
International Driver’s License Accepted? The policies for the use of foreign driver’s license in Northern Ireland is the same with that of the UK – you can use your driving license for up to one year.
Driving: In Northern Ireland, you must drive on the left-hand side of the road.
Crime: Northern Ireland has one of the lowest crime rates in Western Europe.
Electrical Adapters: In Northern Ireland, the standard voltage is 230 volts at 50 Hertz.
Trivia: DID YOU KNOW that the population of Northern Ireland is almost entirely white with a percentage of 98.2? The non-white ethnic groups that make up the population are Chinese and Indians.
Where to Go
The Giant’s Causeway is the most popular attraction in Northern Ireland. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you want to check out other attractions when you travel to Northern Ireland, check these out:
Ulster Museum – This is one of the most comprehensive collections about Irish history and culture. In fact, the museum is home to artifacts dating back to as much as 9,000 years ago. The collection isn’t the only thing massive about this museum; the display space itself is massive spanning up to 8,000 square meters in area. Admission to the museum is free.
Belfast Castle – Located on top of a hill in Cavehill Country Park, Belfast Castle is one of the most distinctive landmarks in Northern Ireland. Therefore, you can explore the castle for its architectural beauty with the bonus of having an unobstructed view of the city of Belfast below (the castle is situated 4,000 feet above sea level).
Belfast Botanic Gardens – This public park and garden is situated on 28-acres of land in Belfast. You can access the park via the Botanic railway station. The Victorian glasshouse within the park is also a notable attraction within the park itself.
Travel to Northern Ireland Resources
- A Perfect Northern Ireland Weekend Itinerary
- Antrim Coast road trip
- Northern Ireland Travel Guide
- Top Ten Things to Do in Ireland and Northern Ireland