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16 | NORTHERN IRELAND – Say Hello to More

Aunt Sandra’s Candy Factory Scrabo Tower

Forest Domes, Finn Lough


OUTDOOR LUXURY Do you like the idea of staying overnight in the great outdoors gazing at the stars, but not so much the idea of pitching a tent in the pouring rain and finding sneaky creepy crawlies in your sleeping bag? Make your luxurious outdoor adventure wishes come true by staying in the unique Forest Domes at Finn Lough in Co Fermanagh. Featuring 180 degree transparent walls which allow you to truly immerse yourself within the beauty and tranquillity of nature, a four-poster bed, ensuite bathroom and fluffy slippers, these domes will help you to experience the great outdoors in style. And you can even enjoy your morning cuppa with the Dome’s Nespresso coffee machine – so there’s no need to go out into the wilderness in search of food or water! Finn Lough is the ideal lakeside setting if it’s a romantic getaway or girlie trip you’re planning. There are also three large bedroom lodges, a fully equipped kitchen, dining room, lounge and all with complimentary WiFi for larger groups or families.


TRAVEL THROUGH NARNIA “Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again,” so said Clive Staples Lewis. Take the children, and yourself, on a fun fantasy adventure. The CS Lewis trail in Belfast will bring you to the places that inspired the young Lewis, best known for his magical world of Narnia. The trail starts at ‘The Searcher’ sculpture outside Holywood Arches Library on Holywood Rd, Belfast and includes sites such as St Mark’s Church with the lion door handle, in which Lewis’ grandfather was rector and where Lewis himself was baptised, and at No 47 Dundela Ave, where a Blue Plaque marks where the writer was born.


IN A MAZE Castlewellan Forest Park’s ‘Peace Maze’ is one of Northern Ireland’s fastest-growing tourist attractions,

Unique Northern Ireland

Before you visit Northern Ireland, find out its best-kept secrets. Here are five of the lesser known, but no less appealing, attractions of the North for all the family to enjoy

with the whole maze covering nearly three acres, and with 2.18 miles of pathway. Planted in 2000, the Peace Maze is one of the world’s largest permanent hedge mazes; it symbolises the journey to peace in Northern Ireland, with visitors trekking their way to the ‘peace bell’ in the centre. Other attractions at Castlewellan also delight: enjoy forest trails, a lake walk accompanied by intriguing sculptures and admire the ornamental gates, fountains and flower borders.


SCRABO TOWER Overlooking the beautiful Strangford Lough and the whole of North Down, is Scrabo Tower. Built in 1857 as a memorial to the Third Marquis of Londonderry, one of the Duke of Wellington’s generals during the Napoleonic Wars, it is one of Northern Ireland’s unique landmarks. Discover the history within the tower walls, enjoy the magnificent views from the top and explore the scenic walks and surrounding countryside. There are plenty of paths through the fine beech woodlands of Killynether Wood and around the disused quarries which will give you many opportunities to enjoy the quiet and peaceful countryside.

5 Castlewellan Peace Maze

WORLD OF PURE IMAGINATION At some stage, almost everyone has dreamed of visiting a Willy Wonka-inspired chocolate factory and maybe it’s time to make that dream come true. Aunt Sandra’s Candy Factory, Belfast, is nationally renowned as one of the finest purveyors of handmade chocolates, fudge and boiled sweets, made from 100-year-old recipes. A visit to the shop is like taking a trip back in time where you can look in on the entire production process and see how handmade chocolates and fudge are created – most of which can be sampled as it’s produced, you’ll be glad to hear! Enjoy the tastes and smells of old-time candy-making at its best.

Northern Ireland Breaks  

NI's hidden gems. Published in 'Say Yes To More' magazine, in the Irish Independent on October 13th

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