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What Are Social Media?

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And what do these buttons do?

Social media let you use the Web to interact with others. This could be through social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter, where you can communicate with family, friends and acquaintances. Or it could be through social bookmarking services, like StumbleUpon, and Delicious, where you bookmark Web pages you like and share them with other users of the same service.

These Facebook and Twitter buttons let you easily share the Web page you just read on northern-ireland-travel.com by adding it to your favorite social media tool. How? Simply click on its button on the page. There’s nothing to download or install.

If you’re not yet using Facebook or Twitter, you can register for it after clicking on its button. Once your account is up and running, you’ll be able to share the Web page with friends and family.

Of course, you’re not limited to Facebook and Twitter. You can add a Web page from northern-ireland-travel.com to any other service you already use.

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What Is RSS?

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Click on any orange RSS button to get the latest Web pages from www.northern-ireland-travel.com. You can use them anywhere else on the Web (they’re everywhere nowadays) to get newsfeeds from CNN or BBC, or just about anything else, including news on upcoming movies and DVD releases, your favorite musician’s tour updates, etc.

Once you get started, it’s like having your favorite parts of the Web come to you. No need to go out and check for updates all the time. No need for bookmarks!

“RSS” means “Really Simple Syndication.” But that’s just a fancy way of saying that you can keep up with all the updates to www.northern-ireland-travel.com without having to check the site every week to see “what’s new.” New pages and updates to old ones are released through RSS.

How do you get started? Easy!

Download a free RSS Reader first (or skip to the bottom to learn about Web-based readers). This is special software that reads the RSS feeds…

Windows — RssReader
http://www.rssreader.com/

Mac — NetNewsWire
http://www.newsgator.com/Individuals/NetNewsWire/

Once you’re set up, here’s all you have to do…

Right-click (control-click for Mac users) on the orange RSS button on any page of this site, or any blog or news source that interests you. Select Copy Shortcut (“Copy Link to Clipboard” on a Mac), and paste that URL into your RSS Reader.

That’s it! You’ll be subscribed.

You can also use a Web-based RSS reader, like My Yahoo!, My MSN, or iGoogle/Google Reader. Look for any of these buttons on a page on this site.

rss-6440215 googleplus-8972711 addtomyyahoo4-1398215
add-mymsn2-4128659 bloglines-2406286

Click on that button to add the RSS feed to that Web-based reader. If you don’t yet have an account, you can set up one after clicking on the button.

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George Best – The Belfast Boy!

George Best

was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland on 22nd May 1946. He played football for many different clubs during his 23 year career, but most notably for Manchester United.

He played for his country, Northern Ireland, 37 times and was named European Footballer Of The Year 1968. This was probably one of the greatest years in his foot-balling career as Manchester United also won the European Cup.

With his great skill at football, George became a major celebrity. His new found fame gained him an extravagant and lavish lifestyle. GQ magazine named him as one of the most stylish men of the last fifty years.

His lifestyle and love for alcohol was to be his downfall and eventually ended his career and his life. He died on 25th November, 2005, as a result of a lung infection and multiple organ failure.

His funeral was held at Stormont Estate, Belfast where over 100,000 people gathered to pay their last respects to the foot-balling legend.

The service was broadcast around the world on all the top news channels, before his coffin was taken to Roselawn Cemetery to be buried beside his mother in a private family ceremony.

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Gosford Forest Park

Gosford Forest Park is a 240 hectare area of woodland in Armagh. It used to be known as Gosford Demesne until it was acquired by the Department of Agriculture in 1958.It is a spectacular forest that is open all year round and has numerous interesting features contained within its boundaries.You can go horse-riding, cycling, orienteering and walking. There are way-marked routes for walkers ranging from 2km to 6km. There is also a dedicated family cycling route which is approximately 6.5 km. You could stay overnight and make use of the caravan and camping facilities with mains electric and also enjoy a picnic or barbecue.The forest also offers its visitors a wide range of historical features, conifer and broadleaf woodland and assorted flora and fauna. You can enjoy wandering around the Arboretum, Deer enclosure, heritage poultry and rare animal breed’s compound as well as seeing the Mill ponds and Gatehouse.

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Devenish Island – Devenish Monastic Site Northern Ireland

Devenish Island is small 12th century monastic settlement just outside Enniskillen, County Fermanagh. On the island you will find a round tower, a Romanesque church, a celtic cross and a graveyard.The 30m high round tower is thought to be dated from the 12th century, while the church oratory dates back to the 6th century and was founded by St Molaise. The cross and graveyard would appear to be dated from the 15th century.The monastic island is situated on Lower Lough Erne and can be reached by ferry from Trory Point. If you drive 1.5miles out of Enniskillen on the A32 towards Ballinamallard, you will see a junction leading to the B52 to Kesh. Trory Point is down a short lane from this junction.The address of the Trory Point ferry is: Devenish, Enniskillen, BT94 1PP.

NB The Trory Point ferry is out of operation at present. You can still get to Devenish from Enniskillen using private commercial boat trips.

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Carrickfergus Castle

Carrickfergus Castle is an excellent example of a Norman castle in Northern Ireland. It is situated on the shore of Belfast Lough in the town of Carrickfergus, County Antrim.The castle was built by John de Courcy in 1177. He used this stronghold as his headquarters, after he conquered eastern Ulster in 1177. During it’s existance, the castle has been begieged by the Scots, Irish, English and French.

As most of the perimeter of the castle is surrounded by water, it holds a very tactical, strategic position over Belfast Lough. It played an important miltitary role until 1928, but now is maintained by the Environment and Heritage Service and is an example of a well preserved, medieval structure. There aren’t very many left in Northern Ireland of such quality.

What you should know

This building is a self-guiding facility. Information boards are sited throughout the Castle and tell its story through time.There are also audio visual displays which allow you to explore this historic monument at your leisure whilst getting an insight into the history of the Castle. If you like, you can also purchase an information booklet with map from the Visitor Centre, which is located at the entrance to the Castle.

Guided tours of the Castle are also available. Pre-booking is advisable, but essential for larger groups. More information can be found at EHSNI

Marine Highway, Carrickfergus, Co. Antrim, BT38 7BG

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Map showing location of Carrickfergus Castle

If you would like driving directions to Carrick Castle from anywhere in Northern Ireland, use Route Planner

Travel by Bus

Ulsterbus No: 563 Belfast–Whitehead. Get off at Carrickfergus Joymount bus stop and walk for 4 minutes. For more information, visit the Translink website.

Travel by Bicycle

Take the national cycle route 9 from Belfast along the shore towards Hazelbank and Loughshore. Further along the route, change to route 93 towards the North. Route 93 is currently under construction. If you would like help to find the best way to get here on Bicycle, visit the National Cycle Network website.

Travel by Road

From Belfast, follow the M5 northbound then follow the A2 along the coast travelling through Whiteabbey and Jordanstown to Carrickfergus. It should take about 30 minutes. Do you need a hire car?

Travel by Train

Take the train from Belfast Central Station to Larne (NIR) Town Rail Stn. The nearest train station is Carrickfergus, which is 4 minutes walk from this attraction. For more information, visit the Translink website.

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No1 Belfast City Sightseeing Bus Tour – Enjoy A Day Out With Allen’s Tours!

Welcome to the Belfast City Sightseeing Bus Tour with the No1 Hop on Hop off service from Allen’s Tours.Our buses are white and blue and easily spotted. They are open topped so that you can enjoy the scenery better and take photos and video footage. We also have covered buses incase it rains.You could spend your whole break in Belfast and still find your days packed with things to see and do. Enjoy a tour of this vibrant and constantly changing city on our pleasurable and entertaining ‘Belfast City Sightseeing Bus Tour’ and learn about its history and what the future has in store for Northern Ireland’s capital city.On your Belfast City sightseeing tour you will find out about what is going on in modern-day Belfast and also about what happened in our recent past. Everyone can visit and experience first-hand the political wall murals on the Shankill and Falls Roads, the peace line and learn about recent civil unrest by listening to the dedicated and knowledgeable local Belfast City sightseeing tour guides.Our Belfast City Sightseeing tour is very popular and the biggest and best in the country. It is also the only tour that shows you East Belfast with the CS Lewis Statue and Freedom Corner. Read the testimonials below and discover what other people are saying about their experience onboard our tour buses. We look forward to seeing you soon! The Belfast City Sightseeing Bus Tours depart daily at 1015hrs and runs every 20-60 minutes thoughout the day with the last departure at 1615hrs. You can hop-on/hop-off at 21 stops along the route and if you don’t get off the bus, the trip will take 1 hour 45 minutes.The Belfast City Sightseeing Tour leaves regularly from High Street, opposite the IN-Shops Centre.

The ticket lasts for 24 hours and you can’t miss our great looking buses with Allen’s Tours on the front as they drive around the city.

What You Will See On Your Belfast City Sightseeing Tour

Stop 1 – Belfast City Sightseeing Allen’s Tours Departure Point, High StreetHigh Street is just along from Castle Place which was the traditional transit junction in Belfast from the 1850’s. We depart from here as it is a very central location and the area is steeped in history.Underneath High Street the River Farsett still flows and helped give Belfast it’s name – Beal Feirste (translating into English as ‘the mouth of the Farsett or mouth of the sandbank’)Belfast Castle stood here in the 1600’s, they hanged Henry Joy McCracken at Dunnes Stores in 1798, the Luftwaffe flattened Bridge Street in 1941 and the Troubles have also left their mark.

Stop 2 – Royal Avenue and Castle Court Shopping Centre

Stop 2 – Odyssey Complex and Titanic Quarter

This is where the biggest shipyard in the world was once situated. It is here that Titanic was built although all you will see now is industrial decay and the biggest waterfront development in Europe coming to life.The Titanic drawing offices still stand and if you are on a tour after 14.00hrs, we will take you down to the Titanic slipways and Titanic drawing offices.

Stop 3 – Stormont and Parliament Buildings

Parliament Buildings is the home of the Northern Ireland Assembly. The new power sharing Executive was formed on 8th May 2007 and has heralded a new era of political stability.It is also a public park so we reckon you should grab a few sandwiches in the city and hop off the Belfast City Sightseeing Tour bus and explore the massive estate which is open every day.We drop off and pick up at the Carson Statue at the front of the building. Just ask your guide when getting off where you will be picked up again.

Stop 4 – St Georges Market, Belfast Waterfront Hall and Hilton Hotel.

St Georges Market is one of the finest old buildings in Belfast. There is a food market on a Friday and Saturday morning that finishes about 14.00hrs.The Waterfront Hall is the main concert and conference centre in the city. While you are here, look across the road and you will notice the blast wall that still surrounds the High Court.This wall is over 12ft thick and is made of reinforced steel and concrete. Its sole purpose was to protect the High Court from car bombs during the Troubles.

Stop 5 – St Annes Cathedral and Cathedral Quarter.

St Annes Cathedral is open every day until 4pm and is only a few minutes walk from the tour departure and finish point. The Cathedral Quarter is the best area to go out at night in Belfast and has to be explored by foot. Its narrow passageways and cobbled alleyways are where the finest and oldest bars can be found.

Stop 6 – Crumlin Road Jail and Courthouse

The Jail and Courthouse are currently undergoing redevelopment and we expect them to open fully by 2010. Stay on the bus here as the tour should stop briefly to allow the guide to explain the history of this building to you.

Stop 7 – Top of Shankill Road – WALL MURALS

Our political areas are entirely safe these days and every year thousands of visitors hop off and explore the communities before hopping back on the Belfast City Sightseeing Tour bus later in the afternoon.Remember that you don’t have to get on at the same stop you got off so hop off at this stop, make your way down the Shankill Road by foot and hop back on at Stop number 9.

Stop 8 – Shankill Memorial Garden – WALL MURALS

The Shankill Memorial Garden is dedicated mainly to the victims of the Shankill bomb which went off just across the road from the garden.We recommend you explore the Shankill community by foot and use your 24 hour pass to jump back on any tour bus.

Stop 9 – Lower Shankill – WALL MURALS

Stop 10 – Lower Falls Road – International Wall – St Peters Cathedral – WALL MURALS

The International Wall is the first batch of republican murals. This long wall shows images of Palestine, the Basque Country, Iraq and Cuba.As with the Shankill, these areas are safe for tourists so recommend you hop off and walk up the Falls Road and hop back on the Belfast City Sightseeing Tour bus later in the day at stop number 11 or 12.

Stop 11 – Mid Falls – Royal Victoria Hospital – Dunville Park – WALL MURALS

Stop 12 – Falls Road – An Culturlann – WALL MURALS

The centre of the Irish language community in Belfast can be found in An Culturlann which houses an Irish language radio station, a cafe and bookshop and a Tourist Information centre specifically for West Belfast.

Stop 13 – Malone Lodge Hotel

Stop 14 – Eglantine Avenue and Malone Road – University bars and cafes

Stop 15 – QUEENS UNIVERSITY – The Ulster Musuem – Botanic Gardens – Cafes/Bistros/Bars/Nightclubs.

This area is very busy and lively at night time, especially the Botanic Area. Many people hop off here to explore the university itself and enjoy the dozens of bars and cafes in the area. This is a neutral area with no political images at all.

Stop 16 – Shaftesbury Square/Bradbury Place – Benedicts Hotel – Madisons Hotel – Belfast International Youth Hostel

Stop 17 – Europa Hotel and Grand Opera House – Jurys Hotel, Europa Bus and Train Station

The Grand Opera House is the main performing arena for the arts in Belfast. If you can fit in time to see around it we are sure you’ll not be disappointed – www.goh.co.ukThe Europa Hotel was the only hotel in Belfast for the main part of the Troubles so came under constant attack by militant republicans. Now fully renovated it is one of the finest hotels in the city.

Stop 18 – Jurys Hotel

Last stop on the Belfast City Sightseeing Bus Tour.

Hank and Martha McDowell, USA.Awesome, the City is changing all the time. Great Fun! Pity about the rain.

Frank Juffter, Norway

I found the guide informative and fun. No better way to see Belfast

Alan McEwanre, Scotland

We had the kids with us but we were all looked after and the guide was the funniest man alive!

Tony Gatmell, Canada

Awesome Tour. For a novice like myself I began to understand the troubles.

Noel and Debbie Quinn, Australia

This was the best tour we have ever been on. Belfast is unique and so is this tour. TAKE THE BIG Hop ON HOP OFF BUS!!!

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Belfast Zoo (Zoological Gardens) – Northern Ireland’s Top Family Attraction

Belfast Zoo is one of Northern Ireland’s best tourist attractions. It provides a great family day out and currently attracts over 295,000 visitors per year.The zoo is situated on the Antrim Road, north of Belfast and overlooks Belfast Lough. The zoo’s 55 acre site is carved into the hillside on Cave Hill and is a comfortable home to more than 1200 animals and 140 different species. Most of the animals are critically endangered in the wild.The zoological gardens of Belfast are home to everything from Prairie Dogs and Bongos to Penquins and Zebras. Other animals that you can see include a White Tiger, Barbary Lions, Elephants, Giraffes and many different bird species housed in a free-flight aviary.

Facilities At This Top Northern Ireland Attraction

The visitor facilities include:

  • Ark Cafe
  • Mountain Tea House
  • Refreshment Kiosk
  • Disabled access and Mobility scooters
  • Free car parking
  • Clothing and Glass Recycling
  • First Aid Treatment Room
  • Zoovenir shop

Mobility scooters must be pre-booked in advance – call 028 9077 6277 for details.

It will take you about 90mins – 2hrs to get round the attractions and see all the animals.

  • The great variety of animals to see and their spacious accommodation
  • Animals that prefer privacy have smaller enclosures to make them feel more comfortable
  • A rare opportunity to see a varied collection of Bears in Northern Ireland
  • The route around the zoo for visitors is well signposted and makes getting around the whole complex easier
  • The zoo is built on the cavehill, so whilst the paths are good quality, there are some steep hills to negotiate
  • At some times of the year, especially Winter, some of the animals may prefer to stay inside their enclosures. You may not see all the animals during your visit
  • The Souvenir shop is quite small and in busy periods can become quite cramped and hard to move around.

Belfast Zoological Gardens, Antrim Road, Belfast, BT36 7PNThe zoo is located in the Northern Quarter of Belfast, located 4 miles from the City Centre.If you don’t have access to a car, the easiest way to get to the zoo is by bus. Buses leave the City Hall, Belfast City Centre, regularly and travel along the Antrim Road.Use Metro Service: 1 and there is a stop right outside the zoo. It is signposted Metro Stop: Bellevue.

For car hire information, checkout, Getting Around.

If you would like an accurate map reference location for Belfast Zoo, type the postcode, BT36 7PN into Google Maps or alternatively, if you would like driving directions to from anywhere in Northern Ireland, use Route Planner and type in the postcode BT36 7PN.

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Map showing location of the zoo in Belfast, Northern Ireland

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Armagh Planetarium

Armagh Planetarium was established in 1968 to complement the work of Armagh Observatory. It is a world-renowned astronomical organisation and its goal is to educate its audience in astronomy and related sciences.

The Planetarium is a diverse establishment and prides itself on being able to bring astronomy education to any the level of student. Its unique ability to adapt to changes in its audience means that it can capture the mind of a nursery school child right through to delighting senior citizens with its presentations. It uses a number of different techniques and workshops to do this.

While visiting the site you can take part in some of these interactive workshops on a variety of topics including rocket building, solar viewing and how space robots are built. If you want to find out about other sciences while you are there you can try other educational pursuits such as electricity or even dinosaurs.

Also during the year regular telescope nights are held when members of the public can go to the planetarium and use Ireland’s largest public telescope. You will see some awe-inspiring sights in the night sky and if you are lucky, you might catch a glimpse of Saturn’s rings.

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