Top Ten favourite locations to Visit in Northern Ireland by Blue Badge Graduates 2017

Top Ten favourite locations to Visit in Northern Ireland by Blue Badge Graduates 2017

  • The Village of Cushendun. Nestling serenely on the north Antrim coast there is much to be seen within a relatively small area. The village is of Cornish design and is set by a fine crescent raised beach. The river Dun joins the sea at this point. Mary McBride’s is a small pub serving food in the village and across the street there is a tea room. Fans of “Game of Thrones” can visit the red cave where the “shadow baby” was born. A short distance away sits Glenmona which is a fine Georgina House. The sculpture of the Earl of Antrim’s Goat holds pride of place by the river. (William Galloway, Ballymena)
  • The sunken Garden at Minnowburn on the banks of the River Lagan, just four miles from Belfast city centre. The Italian garden was built in 1856 by Ned Robinson, the linen merchant of Robinson & Cleavers fame, at his home, Terrace Hill House. Today it has been restored and is cared for by the National Trust and is part of a network of meadow and woodland trails leading from the river Lagan to the Giant’s ring and to Edenderry village. Visitors are often rewarded by spotting kingfishers, otters and seals. (Sue McKay, Gilnahark)
  • The pubs of Belfast. So much history and the wonderful stories to be told. The Crown, McCrackens, Whites, McHughs and the Grand old Duke of York all have an appeal of their own and even their locations are wonderful. The Entries, some of the earliest areas of Belfast, make the bars in them feel secret and hidden. (Martin McAuley, Ballymena)
  • Greyabbey, the abbey is a wonderful site to visit and fascinating in itself, however in addition, its location in a town on the shore of the beautiful Strangford Lough, never fails to delight visitors as they experience the breath-taking and almost spiritual views which unfold on driving along the shore road southwards along the Ards Peninsula. Although I have driven this route all my life, it always shows me something new and in my opinion, as one who has travelled far and wide it is truly one of the most beautiful and fascinating places on earth. (Rosemary Martin, Donaghdee)
  • Cyprus Avenue. The beautiful, tree-lined Cyprus Avenues in Belfast is one of my favourite locations. I am a big Van Morrison fan and it is the name of a very well-known Van Morrison song. On 31st August 2015 it was the scene of two unforgettable concerts when Van Morrison played live on his 70th It is also where my Dad proposed marriage to my mum, which is also very fitting given that their four children grew up to be big Van Morrison fans. (Lynn Corken, Bangor)
  • Belfast city centre, seeing beauty and interest in buildings which most people don’t pause to consider. She is delights to inform people that many of the buildings around Belfast City Hall were former linen warehouses, including what is now the Ten Square Hotel … that the former Donegall Square Methodist church could seat 1,500 people and the basement could hold 1,000 children for Sunday School … and that Oscar Wilde thought the former Water Office, now Marks and Spencer, was the most beautiful building in Belfast.  For those who get tired of city bustle, Lois is quick to tell them that there are 5,000 acres of parkland in Belfast. (Lois McCullough, East Belfast)
  • Lough Navar Forest drive to the viewpoint at the top of the Magho cliffs with its spectacular panorama over Lough Erne and out to the Atlantic Ocean. (Ian McCutcheon, Enniskillen).
  • The rock formations near Kearney village. The rock formations are spectacular approximately 400 million years old their arched layers reflect the huge pressures as continents collided and buckled, it is humbling to be there. (Caroline Nolan, Portaferry)
  • Comber Square. Within this scenic diamond you can discuss history dating from the Ice Age (drumlins) to Early Man; from St Patrick to King Henry VIII; from the plantation of Ulster and the arrival of the scots to the 1978 rebellion; from Titanic to two World Wars. All this in the beautiful surroundings with the smell of coffee and scones from excellent restaurants, gorgeous floral displays by the Horticultural Society, comfortable seating, and the inspiring figure of Rollo Gillespie on his pillar in the square. (Laura Spence, Comber)
  • Portballintrae, this is a relaxing village to either spend a few days, or to take a summers’ evening walk. I love being close to the sea and this village sits on the headland looking out over a natural harbour, no longer used expect for canoes and paddle boards, Portballintrae is very convenient to Bushmills, within walking distance, here you will find some wonderful restaurants, there is also a little steam train which runs through the sand dunes towards Giant’s Causeway. (Gwen Chambers, Kilkeel)


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