Wakeboarding, archery, the Giant’s Causeway, stomach-churning drives, sea safari, body zorbing, pontoon jumping, and windsurﬁng—Ireland can be an adrenaline-pumping adventure sans the countryside, autumn ﬂowers, and rolling hills.
A mere 15-minute drive north of the bustling downtown, is the 12th century Belfast Castle is tucked cosily on the slopes of the Cave Hill Country Park. Surrounded by rolling greens, there are plenty of short walks and easy, medium hikes that one can also indulge in. Take a short two-hour hike, crossing early blooms of autumn ﬂowers, breathtaking views of the city below and plenty of evening strollers and health conscious joggers. For the serious thrill seekers, there is a steep climb along the way that leads into a lonely cave, which also makes for an extreme and dramatic selﬁe spot!
The new pedal and paddle tour in Northern Ireland is about showcasing the city in two ways—by land and by river. Rent a bike from Belfast City Bike Tours, and ride past the old industrial quarters that were primarily known for its ship building industry, and the lush green Queen’s Park, beautifully manicured park for residents and cyclists. Stop by a farmers’ market or pause at a pub for a sip of ale. Among many advantages of taking this bike tour is that it can be completely customised to your taste and interest.
On water you literally ‘earn’ your view over the Upper River Lagan. The paddle tour requires some serious upper body strength, for this leg is all about canoeing upstream along the river (which by no means is an easy feat if the wind is against you). Once the hard work of rowing upstream is behind you, you can sit back and enjoy the town go by, as the canoe is gently rocked downstream by the currents.
The RMS Titanic Quarter (TQ) has played an integral role in shaping the history of Belfast. After a short brieﬁng of our high tech moving platforms, Segway tours takes you back in time—through the Titanic Quarter, the place where the mammoth cruise liner was constructed. As we move past the Titanic Dock, Pump house and the slipways. Being one of the pivotal industries in the city, thousands of workers laboured on these very grounds to construct, what is known as the grandest ships in history.
The quarter also houses a six ﬂoor building that doubles as a museum to beautifully showcase maritime history, the art of ship building with nine interactive displays, original sketches by the Hartland & Wolﬀ Company, a short ﬁlm on excavations and any and everything that’s related to the cruise liner. To fully experience this wonder, keep a full day to explore this massive exhibition in its entirety.
A short drive of an hour and a half through the Irish countryside leads to Todds Leap, an adventure centre where you can opt for blindfold driving, zip lining, body zorbing, hill rally, clay pigeon shooting, archery, JCB driving and the drop zone to name a few. One of the most talked about rides here is the Hilly Rally that can put even most professional of oﬀ roaders to shame. The three-minute drive through the narrow winding forest tracks, is nothing short of being hit by a typhoon. And worst still, it feels like being awake all the while it happens.
The Giant’s Causeway is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that appears like its sitting calmly by the sea, gently being wooed by one wave after another. Formed almost 60 million years ago, the Giant’s Causeway is a natural pavement of huge rocks formed after volcanic eruptions. As the lava slowly and evenly cooled, it formed symmetrical shapes of hard rock (of Basalt). To add to the mystery of these stones are myths and legends of a local Irish Giant called Finn MacCool, who made the causeway his home. All along the length of the causeway, there are stone formations that resemble a camel back, an organ, the horseshoe. There are a number of walks and hikes here, the most popular being the Shepherd’s Steps (167 steep steps) that lead to the cliﬀ-top, from where one can get some of the most stunning views of the entire landscape.
Other must-see pit stops along the Causeway include the Grand Causeway, Giant’s Boot, Wishing Chair and the Camel. For those who want to take the causeway experience a notch higher can make their way to the Port Rush Sea Safari run by Crawford and his charming wife. The sea tour of one to three hours takes you through skerries, Dunluce Castle, the Giant’s Causeway, Kinbane Castle and Rathlin Island. However before booking one of these, be sure to check the weather conditions, since waters around this area can get particularly choppy.
Away from the hustle bustle of the city, deep into the Irish Countryside is the small and cosy town of Carlingford. A hot spot of thrill seeker and a perfect place for a family adventure, Carlingford Adventure Centre has body zorbing, rock climbing, high ropes course, laser combat, pier/pontoon jumping, sailing, and windsurﬁng activities among others.
The landscape of Ireland will leave you breathless.