Carrickfergus, Co. Antrim
Carrickfergus is a town steeped in history and is one of the oldest towns in Northern Ireland. The historic town offers visitors some of the most impressive Norman architecture in Europe, including the magnificent castle that was built in the 12th Century.
Carrickfergus Castle (0044 28 93 351 273) is one of the best preserved castles in Ireland and offers visitors with a quality detailed historic presentation in audio and visual, which is brought to life by a cast of colourful characters. Every year the castle holds special events including the Lughnasa festival with costumed performers and period musicians.
The town still has part of the original walls, which were built in the early 17th Century. St Nicholas’s Church (0044 28 93 360 061) is another example of the towns rich heritage as it dates back to the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ulster by John de Courcy.
There are also good walks along the mile long promenade with excellent views over Belfast Lough.
The Railway Preservation Society of Ireland (0044 28 260 803) is nearby and houses a unique collection of high standard gauge steam locomotives and coaches. The society also offers day trips on the Portrush Flyer, an old Northern Irish steam train, which heads through Belfast and onto the final destination of Portrush.
Golfers can enjoy a round at Carrickfergus golf club (0044 28 93 363 713), a pleasant parkland course or Whitehead golf club (0044 28 93 370 820), a good seaside parkland 18 hole course with excellent sea views.
Anglers are well catered for as there are six trout reservoirs in the Woodburn district near Carrickfergus.