The Highest Railway In Ireland

The cuttings, embankment and bridges of the old narrow gauge railway from Ballymena to Retreat Station are still visible reminders of an unusual if unprofitable service. It was called the Ballymena, Cushendall and Red Bay Railway (BCRR) and it was the first narrow gauge railway to be authorised by Parliament.  It was opened firstly for...

World War II Relics

In the large beautiful landscaped gardens of Tubber House, Kircubbin up till a few years ago an underground World War II bunker was to be found. It was named ‘THE WAR HOUSE’, the former sector operations room which controlled Ballyhalbert airfield. This top-secret location was one of the most significant buildings in Northern Ireland. The...

Strangford Lough

Twice every day 400 million tons of water rushes up the Strangford lough through the deep seething strait, and down again into the Irish Sea. When the wind is in the east and the tide is ebbing, the bar is a very dangerous place. Here the tide runs at 6 miles an hour with the...

The Seal Colony on the Cloghy Rocks

The road from Strangford to Ardglass is a beguiling one with changing views around every corner. Just a short distance from the town on the right amongst the trees is the ruined mansion of Isle o Valla. Here in early spring you can watch the herons at their nests. This heronry was in occupation before 1892...

The Peace Maze

A peace maze in Castlewellan Forest Park has made it into the Guinness Book of Records 2004. It is now recognised as being both the largest and the longest permanent hedge [6,000 yew trees] maze in the world covering 2.7 acres and 3.5 kms of paths. The construction and planning of the maze in Castlewellan...

Historic Callan River

The little-known Rival to the River Boyne ‘Flow gently, sweet Callan, flow gently along, And down by your green banks I’ll sing a sweet song’ Not many Ulster people are aware that in their own province there flows along ‘unhonoured and unsung’ a river with a past, which, if not just as glorious as that...

 The Giants Ring

Just four miles south of Belfast city centre and close to Shaw’s bridge, in the town land of Ballyleeson stands the Giants Ring one of the finest, prehistoric fortifications of this kind in Ireland. It was built before the Egyptian pyramids, Stonehenge and even Newgrange. This big earthwork circle is a beautiful example of a ‘henge’...

The Fairy Hawthorn

The White Hawthorn grows in hedges throughout our fair land, it blooms in May in ancient Ireland it was known as ‘the commoner of the wood’. As the hard wood of the Hawthorn takes a good polish no wonder they make good walking sticks. Its young leaves are very tasty and may be used in...

The Magic Hills

Along the rolling hills of Tyrone, there is a small stretch of road, where things are not as they seem to be. Going up hill, a car rolls upwards of its own accord; going downhill, it first comes to a halt, and then begins to roll gently backwards. They say It’s a Magic hill. I...

Belfast City Hall

Belfast’s Symbolic Heart. It was in 1888 that our city fathers first proposed the idea of a City Hall following the decision by Queen Victoria to grant Belfast City status. Ten years later, construction on the building began under the supervision of architect Sir Alfred Bramwell Thomas, who was only 28 when he designed this...