Belfast / United Kingdom

12 Hours In Northern Ireland

Stuck to a tight travel schedule, I had hoped to explore a bit of Northern Ireland to see how it might compare to the Republic of Ireland, and so I decided after hearing a friend’s testimonial about Paddywagon Tours to book myself for a tour departing from Dublin that does a full-day tour of Northern Ireland. The tour I took was called the Giant’s Causeway tour which has a few pickup locations downtown Dublin.


Dark Hedges


After a short stop to pick up coffee, we drove through the Glens of Antrim to the spooky looking Dark Hedges which have been made famous through Game Of Thrones, where they were used as the King’s Road.  The 200-year-old gnarled beech trees lined the entrance to Gracehill House, but unfortunately, in January 2016 a massive storm caused many of the trees to fall. While originally there were 150 trees that lined the road, only 90 remains. Despite the fallen trees, the sight is still stunning to visit.


Later on in the day for lunch, we visited The Fullerton Arms for lunch where you can find an intricately carved Game Of Thrones carved door. Using the fallen trees from the Dark Hedges, 10 Game Of Thrones doors were carved and installed near different filming locations of the show. It so happens, that Fullerton Arms happens to have one of these doors as North Antrim Coast was used for filming the Iron Islands and Dragonstone.

Carrick-A-rede Rope Bridge


Next, we visited the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge which is Ballintoy and is a 20 meter long rope bridge that connects the main island with Carrickarede. The coastline around the rope bridge has steep cliffs and amazing views, so I strongly suggest paying the small additional fee for the admission across the bridge. This location was my favorite on the tour, as the scenery was just spectacular. To read more about my time at this location, read my entire post on the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.



Giant’s Causeway


For the next stop, we visited the UNESCO World Heritage Site the Giant’s Causeway which is famous for the polygonal stones that cover the coast. This location is a must see when visiting Northern Ireland, as the rock stone formation is so unique. To read more about my time at this stop on the tour read my entire post about exploring The Giant’s Causeway.




For the final stop, we had an hour to wander around Belfast. From the small glimpse of the city, I saw I adored everything I saw, and would love to spend a few days when I next return to Ireland to further explore the city. The tour dropped us off right downtown, so we could see the city hall, and wander the nearby pubs or shopping.


Paddywagon Tours


Later on throughout touring Ireland I came to realize how popular Paddywagon Tours are as I often saw the bright green buses with the leprechaun on them driving around all over the country.  Overall I was very impressed with the quality of the tour, for 60 euros you get a full day tour, and our driver Aiden was outstanding as he kept everyone on the bus on schedule and was highly knowledgeable and entertaining about the history about all the sights we were seeing. Another outstanding feature on the bus was there was complimentary wifi provided which was a great way to kill time when you are departing Belfast and returning to Dublin.

I certainly enjoyed the entire tour, and without question would use the tour company again and plan on recommending this tour company to friends and family as they provided a quality tour for an affordable price. I’m already planning on using their sister company Day Tours London for my next trip to London.