A world of trees, peat and water
Why visit Northern Ireland
Green holidays in Northern Ireland is a great experience. It is a famous destination for local culture. The Culturally Curious project in 2019 put Northern Ireland firmly on the map, in particular for Irish / Spanish / Scottish historical links. From the wilds of the north Antrim coast, to the bustle of Belfast, to the border town of Newry, and all in between there is something for everyone. Paddleboarding, hiking in the Mourne, cycling on the tow path by the Newry to Portadown canal, kayaking on the Bann River, Northern Ireland has it all. From Bangor you can see the glory of the North Antrim coast.
South Downs has a sustainable tourism strategy, which is good news. Belfast has its own Climate Change Commission, so with this and the Environmental Strategy for Northern Ireland under way, Northern Ireland is best placed to lead the field in the UK. Green Destinations new educational programme will be able to assist with this.
Stena Line and P&O both offer great services to Scotland and Liverpool from ports in Belfast and Larne. The train network, Translink, is clean, comfortable and well run. Bus services in rural areas can be slow, but Northern Ireland is not very big. Cross border services by both bus and train provide excellent sustainable options.
Translink provides an excellent service, but does not go across the north Antrim coast. Ulsterbus provides the network of clean comfortable buses and the Glider in Belfast provides a comfortable, efficient service. These are some of the ways to embark on your green holidays in Northern Ireland!
Tourism & People
Northern Ireland has come out of the Troubles well. The people are friendly and helpful. It is safe for visitors, though it is not advisable to talk politics in public. Northern Ireland is multicultural these days, with many people from Spain, Poland, and Lithuania. Cases of overtourism are already being reported in the Mournes.
Travel tips from our editors
Exploring the country
Bangor in County Down is a wonderful destination, being by the sea and with direct access to the mountains of Mourne, and wonderful beaches at Newcastle. Rural Armagh is the centre of the apple country, with some delicious produce grown there. With historical links to Spain through military history, the Newry to Portadown canal, it is a great place to visit at any time of year. Country Antrim is well known for its Giants Causeway, the route of the Spanish Armada, great food and hospitality, and of course the dark hedges and Game of Thrones.
Interesting day trips
Northern Ireland offers you some nice day trips. You can take a local ferry from the North Antrim coast to Rathlin Island, from Belfast to Bangor on the train, visiting its wonderful beaches and the sea. Consider taking the bus to Craigavon and enjoy the tranquility of the Craigavon Lakes. Or to Lough Neagh, a nature reserve. Visiting Dublin is a must!
The importance of religious traditions
Northern Ireland is rich in religious local celebrations, they are precious and deserve our full respect. These are not events created for tourists so please do not interfere. However, if there is a market connected to a celebration, this is your opportunity to buy the best local products available in the region and try to get into conversation with the friendly and helpful local people.
Green Destinations Ambassador
Tina Irving, London South Bank University alumna, has been collaborating with LSBU researchers to carry out projects on regional development and tourism since 2010. Tina is a freelance writer, project manager and a keen horsewoman. Having graduated from LSBU in BSc (Hons) Computing and Spanish, she went on to work as a contractor for RBS, Barclays and the Bank of Ireland. Yet it is her interest in tourism and regional development that brought her back to her alma matter.
More about Tina Irving
Tina’s initial research was a collaboration between the Dunnet Head Educational Trust (now closed) and LSBU. Tina founded the Trust in 2003 to raise the profile of Dunnet Head as the most northerly point of the UK mainland: “The overall aim of the project is to investigate how different areas approach their regional development. The main economic drivers for the economy in north east of Scotland have been identified as tourism and renewable energy.” The research included work done with public services and local businesses on the project "The North Highland Way" which is embodied in the publications "Creating the North Highland Way" and "Creating the North Highland Way - A Green Vision" available on Amazon and Kindle respectively. The company holds the feasibility study and business plan for the North Highland Way, and is in the process of building a courseware to support students who may not necessarily have the qualifications to enter the environmental field. She is a member of the Adventure Tourism Research Association.
Tina is proprietor of the sole trader, TDM Consultancy Services,based in Northern Ireland. Graduate Diploma in Environmental Economics, Policy and Risk from Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh. Environmental Economics is not well understood in many quarters, but the design of the Belfast Transport Hub (Weaverscross) has taken it all into account, putting Belfast at the forefront of transport systems in the UK. The design is an example which should be followed when major new developments are proposed. Belfast leads the way, although there are gas and electric buses.
Tina also worked with Belfast City Council and VisitBelfast to develop the programme "Belfast Imagines" , a tourism research project an historical and cultural with links between Ireland, Scotland and Spain supported by three eminent local historians, David Hume, Richard Edgar and Ron Bishop, who each have their specific interests and are from different parts of Northern Ireland. The aim is to build tours using the principles of sustainable tourism. This project is currently on hold.
Tina is the Green Ambassador for Northern Ireland within the Green Destinations programme for Northern Ireland and would encourage someone within the University of the Highlands and Islands to become the Green Ambassador for Scotland. The criteria are that applicants should have the entrepreneurial skills to become a Green Advisor or Green Destination Manager.