Northern Ireland is a land of contrasts. There are modern, bustling cities surrounded by pretty villages and beautiful scenery. The country has a rich history. Many immigrants left the Derry area for America in the 1700’s and 1800’s.
Yet, much of the history was highlighted by conflict, and although the “troubles” are now ended, there is still lingering memory that may never be fully erased. You may hear of occasional incidents, but these are in very concentrated areas far away from the tourist areas, so do not let that deter you from a visit.
Exhibit in Titanic Museum, Belfast
One good reason would be to visit the fantastic new Titanic museum at the Belfast shipyard. This 21st century high tech museum is very close to where the ship was built and from where it sailed on it’s ill-fated voyage. There are several floors of interesting exhibits, including several life size holographic scenes and even a shipyard ride showing how the ship was built. Looking out the large windows, you see views of the surrounding shipyard, a constant are constantly reminded that you are in a still active shipyard. At the end of the tour, you will have the opportunity to try out some of the recipes actually used aboard the titanic in the cafeteria.
Mount Stewart near Belfast
Another great spot is a Mount Stewart, home of the Marquess of Londonderry, just few miles away from Belfast. This is a fabulous 18th century country house including a 98 acre garden reflecting the rich history of the Stewart family who played a leading role in British social and political life. Today it is run by The National Trust, who assure that the house and gardens are preserved in the proper manner.
Finally, don’t forget to venture out of Belfast for a trip to the Giant’s Causeway. Even during the trip up to the park, the traveler is surrounded by beautiful vistas and vast natural beauty.