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    NORTHERN IRELAND TRAVEL GUIDE

    Northern Ireland Travel Guide

    A vacation to the picturesque nation of Northern Ireland is an excellent way to explore the spectacular coast of the Irish Sea, historic castles, and diverse cultural exchange characterized by the combination of traditional Irish and British culture, cuisine, and even language. With a car rental in Northern Ireland, travelers can conveniently and affordably explore this beautiful country and all it has to offer, without being held hostage by the unpredictability of public transportation. The border of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland lies about a two hour drive from Belfast, and many visitors touring Northern Ireland opt to cross the border and explore the rest of the Emerald Isle with their Irish car rental.

    Northern Ireland Travel Guides

    Northern Ireland was for many decades among the most violent and dangerous regions of Europe, with extremist paramilitary groups harassing locals and tourists alike. In contemporary times, many of these groups have disbanded and safety has returned to Northern Ireland, under no circumstance should you be concerned for your safety in regards to these groups while in Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland is considered the safest country on Earth after Japan. Northern Ireland was created in 1921 when the British government split the island of Ireland into two distinct territories, the Republic of Ireland to the south, and Northern Ireland comprising six of the nine counties of Ulster. Although there is still ethno-religious segregation in Northern Ireland, travelers will find the people of Northern Ireland to be immensely friendly and accommodating to tourists, and should not fear traveling anywhere unless they have strict ties to a particular group (for example, people who support British hegemony would never walk along Nationalist Falls Road).

    Regardless of your plans while traveling through Northern Ireland, this small country provides endless opportunities for contemporary luxuries, spectacular hikes, and other outdoor recreational activities. With a car rental in Northern Ireland, the possibilities are limitless for travelers visiting with family, friends, or alone! As you peruse through this travel guide, remember that Auto Europe has extensive travel resources and travel guides for a wide variety of travel destinations, including our comprehensive UK travel guide for more generic information and guidance on traveling in the four constituent nations of the United Kingdom.

    Weather in Northern Ireland

    Like England much of the United Kingdom; weather is a daily topic of conversation. Similarly to Ireland and Great Britain, Northern Ireland is susceptible to wet, rainy weather year round, yet travelers would be surprised to hear Northern Ireland actually receives less rainfall than most continental European cities, such as Paris or Rome.

    Weather in Northern Ireland Travel Guide

    The wintertime in Northern Ireland is rather mild, temperatures will rarely fall below 45 degrees Fahrenheit and snowfall is rare at lower elevations. Wintertime makes for an excellent time to visit Northern Ireland, as it's an unpopular time to visit the area and flights and hotel accommodations are likely to be considerably less expensive. The spring season in Northern Ireland is arguably the most exciting, beautiful, and popular season to visit Northern Ireland. There are huge St. Patrick's Day celebrations, as well as never-ending pastures of green and bright sunny days in April and May. Summer is also a very pleasant time to visit Northern Ireland, owing to the oceanic effect, summers are never too hot and never too cold, making outdoor recreational activities such as hiking or biking highly enjoyable in the summer time, additionally, the sun doesn't set in Northern Ireland until around 9:30 PM during the early summer, giving you plenty of daylight to see it all! Fall in Northern Ireland is a relatively wet month, with drizzly, overcast weather a common sight. During fall, the weather could change at literally any moment, so you could wake up to a frigid, frosty morning but find the sun shining brightly and warming the air in the afternoon. Because the weather in Northern Ireland is subject to constant change, Auto Europe highly recommends you dress in layers for ultimate comfort. Ultimately, there is something to do in Northern Ireland during any time of year, so plan the timing of your trip around the activities you hope to do while in Northern Ireland.

    Driving in Northern Ireland

    Due to Northern Ireland's rural, small-village nature, a rental vehicle is easily the most convenient and affordable way to get around. Driving in Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom in general is a very pleasant experience, highways are maintained excellently and the rules of the road are well respected by drivers. In Northern Ireland, cars travel on the left side of the road, adjusting to this reality can be difficult for drivers new to the United Kingdom, so Auto Europe recommends you review our comprehensive tips for driving in the UK and take as much time as necessary practicing in the rental lot before hitting the road.

    When driving in Northern Ireland, the biggest concerns for drivers unfamiliar with the United Kingdom would be navigating narrow, rural roads and dealing with unexpected weather. Rural routes, while being highly enjoyable and scenic, are often narrow, poorly marked, and congested with unexpected pedestrians such as carts, stray sheep and cattle, and hordes of school children. When driving on rural routes, especially in dangerous conditions, take your time and drive below the recommended speed limit (if appropriate) and allow any aggressive drivers to overtake you by pulling off to the left of the road. An extra few minutes on the road could mean hours of headaches saved, so it's always better safe than sorry.

    Driving in Northern Ireland Travel Guide

    Due to Northern Ireland's rural, small-town nature, a rental vehicle is easily the most convenient and affordable way to get around. Driving in Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom in general is a very pleasant experience, highways are maintained excellently and the rules of the road are well respected by drivers. In Northern Ireland, cars travel on the left side of the road, adjusting to this reality can be difficult for drivers new to the United Kingdom, so Auto Europe recommends you review our comprehensive tips for driving in the UK and take as much time as necessary practicing in the rental lot before hitting the road.

    When driving in Northern Ireland, the biggest concerns for drivers unfamiliar with the United Kingdom would be navigating narrow, rural roads and dealing with unexpected weather. Rural routes, while being highly enjoyable and scenic, are often narrow, poorly marked, and congested with unexpected pedestrians such as carts, stray sheep and cattle, and hordes of school children. When driving on rural routes, especially in dangerous conditions, take your time and drive below the recommended speed limit (if appropriate) and allow any aggressive drivers to overtake you by pulling off to the left of the road. An extra few minutes on the road could mean hours of headaches saved, so it's always better safe than sorry.

    Attractions in Northern Ireland

    If you're in the process of planning an upcoming trip to Northern Ireland, you probably already have a jam-packed itinerary filled with exciting things to do while visiting the country. For travelers who are still trying to round-out their vacation with fun things to do, Auto Europe has prepared a comprehensive list of some of the best attractions in Northern Ireland. 

    Giant's Causeway

     Giants Causeway Northern Ireland Travel Guide

    The Giant's Causeway is without a doubt Northern Ireland's most popular tourist attraction and only UNESCO World Heritage Site. Composed of over 40,000 basalt columns rising from the sea floor, local myth claims the Causeway was created by a Giant who sought to cross the ocean to Scotland to fight his Scottish contemporary. The legend is so popular because there is a similar site located on the Scottish Isle of Staffa over one-hundred miles to the north-east, with equally impressive columns also created by volcanic activity in the Irish Sea. Although visiting the Giant's Causeway is free, parking is not, but the route there covers a gorgeous, coastal drive from Belfast takes about two hours and is a great addition to the fantastic views and sceneries found at the Giant's Causeway.

    Marble Arch Caves

     Marble Arch Caves Northern Ireland Travel Guide

    The Marble Arch Caves are a group of limestone caverns located in Country Fermanagh. With nearly 10 miles worth of passageways, the Marble Arch Caves have yet to be completely explored and compose the largest cave network in Northern Ireland. Since the early 1990's, the caves have been developed into "show caves", with extensive networks of metal walkways, electric lighting, an access elevator and staircase, the caves have attracted over one million visitors from over one-hundred countries. The limestone composure of the caves has created hundreds of stalactites and stalagmites, one of which is over 6.6 feet in length. A tour of the Marble Arch Caves in summer time is an excellent way to escape the heat and bask in the natural wonders of Northern Ireland.

    W5 Science Museum

    W5 Science Museum Belfast Northern Ireland Travel Guide

    The W5 Science Museum is Ireland's award winning scientific discovery center, located in Belfast. With over 200 interactive exhibits and a constantly changing program of shows, exhibitions, and events, the W5 is a great place to spend the day with the family. Located on the bank of the River Lagan as part of the Northern Ireland Landmark Millennium Project, the W5's location provides breathtaking views of Belfast City and is only a short walk to historic Belfast center. At the W5, visitors can build houses, test out lie detectors, and produce their own animated films; truly the possibilities are endless for families traveling to the W5, but the institution is definitely oriented towards children so adult travelers may find themselves bored by the lack of adult activities.

    Titanic Docks Tour

     Titanic Tours Belfast Northern Ireland Travel Guide

    The RMS Titanic, arguably one of the most infamous boats in history, was built in the Harland and Wolff shipyard located in Belfast, and curious tourists can still explore the dock where the ship was designed and constructed before setting off on its doomed maiden voyage. Located in the Northern Ireland Science Park, the Titanic's Dock and Pump House can be visited by tourists hoping to encounter the physical reminders of a bygone era when industrial innovation was at its peak. Located only a short walk from Belfast city center, the Dock and Pump House are open 7 days a week, typically from 10 AM to 5 PM. Visiting the Titanic Dock and Pump House also allows travelers to walk along the picturesque dockyards, marveling at the ruins of warehouses and enjoying excellent food and drink at the many renovated properties located in Belfast's harbor.

    Bushmills Whiskey Tour

    Bushmills Whisky Tour Northern Ireland Travel Guide

    The Old Bushmills Distillery, located in Bushmills, Country Antrim, is considered to be the oldest licensed distillery in the world, having been granted its license by King James I in 1608. Northern Ireland has long been one of the most prominent whiskey distribution regions, and Bushmills became a prominent brand when it began exporting much of its product to the Irish diaspora living in the United States. Nearly 120,000 visitors tour the distillery ever year, making it one of Northern Ireland's most popular tourist attractions, and several of its whiskey's can only be purchased while on the distillery tour, making it an exclusive means to acquire some of the world's best whiskey. If you're planning on thoroughly taking part in the Bushmills tour, consider booking a private chauffeur to assist you in getting back to your lodging accommodations conveniently, affordably, and safely.

    More UK Travel Resources 

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