Northern Ireland – Armagh

Top 10 places

Top 100 places to visit in Northern Ireland

Armagh City and County Armagh

1. The Argory

The Argory is a fine Neoclassical building dating back to 1824 and set in 350 acres of grounds and gardens by the River Blackwater. Built of Caledon stone, its entrance hall features a cantilevered staircase, and the rooms contain Victorian and Edwardian furniture among many other period items, including a fabulous cabinet barrel organ. The house is still lit an original 1906 acetylene gas plant in the stable yard, and during the summer it stages musical events and organized garden walks.

2. The Navan Centre and Fort

For nearly seven hundred years Navan Fort was the great seat of northern power in Ireland, rivalling Tara in the south. The court of the Knights of the Red Branch, Ireland’s most prestigious order of chivalry, was based here. The knights, like those of the Round Table, are historical figures entirely subsumed into legend. The fort lies two miles west of Armagh and stands adjacent to the multi-million pound Navan Centre, which features multimedia displays on archaeology and the legends of the Ulster Cycle – stories of legendary warriors deeds.

3. St Patrick’s Trian Centre, Armagh

St Patrick’s Trian Centre is an ambitious complex containing Armagh’s tourist office and three seperate attractions. The first of these, peopled with figures representing the land of Lilliput and Jonathan Swift’s connection with Armagh, occupies the former Presbyterian Meeting House. The second installation, ‘The Armagh Story,’ is a multimedia account of the town’s growth and the nature of belief, while the third, ‘Patrick’s Testament,’ is an interactive account of the saint’s association with Armagh.

4. The Palace Stables Heritage Centre, Armagh

The Palace Stables Heritage Centre is a restored Georgian stable block set in the heart of Armagh city. Visitors can experience 18th Century life through guided tours of a ‘Day In The Life’ exhibition. Living History interpreters re-enact Georgian life in 1786 – you are welcome to chat with the Georgian characters to get a fuller picture of life in a bygone world. Visit the coachman’s kitchen, tack room, Garden of the Senses, servants tunnel and ice house. A themed adventure play area is available for children and the ruins of a 13th Century Franciscan Friary are located in the grounds.

5. The Ring of Gullion

The Ring of Gullion is a naturally formed ring dyke of low lying hills that encircles the mountain at its core. People have lived here for more than six thousand years, and there’s a rich heritage of remains and monuments. On the rings western fringe is the Dorsey Enclosure, two huge earthen banks and ditch ramparts dating from the Iron Age, running for a mile either side of the old route to Navan Fort. Elsewhere are numerous dolmens and cairns, Christian relics and monuments from the plantation era.

6. St Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral, Armagh

St Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral is built on the summit of the hill ‘Drum Saileach, where St Patrick founded his first church in 445 AD. As you enter from the highly distinctive timber porch, you’ll see remnants of an eleventh century Celtic Cross, and inside, high up, you should be able to see the medieval carved heads of men, women and monsters. The chapterhouse has a small collection of stone statues, the most noticeable of which are the Stone Age Tandragee Idol and a Sheila-na-Gig with an ass’s ears.

7. Ardress House

Ardress House is a 17th-century house with elegant 18th-century decoration and a traditional farmyard. It features a neo-classical drawing-room with plasterwork by the Dublin plasterer Michael Stapleton and has an attractive garden with scenic woodland and riverside walks. Ardress House is home to an important collection of farm machinery and tools and rich apple orchards and a range of small farmyard animals has been re-introduced to the farmyard.

8. Loughgall Country Park

Loughgall Country Park is a rural haven of relaxation and recreation, offering waymarked trails, an 18-hole golf course and children’s play areas. Other activities range from fishing to tennis, making this spacious complex a great destination for families, sports enthusiasts and those in search of a helping of tranquility. Not far away the pretty estate village of Loughall is sited in the middle of apple orchard country, and is worth visiting for its historical connections.

9. The County Museum, Armagh

Armagh County Museum includes a stuffed collection of local wildlife, plus a little art gallery on the upper floor containing twenty or so mystical pastels, oils and sketches by the Irish poet George Russell. The prolific local artist J.B. Vallely is also represented with a superb collection of his oil paintings and a display devoted to railway history recounts the story of Ireland’s worst railway disaster, when two passenger trains collided outside Armagh in 1889.

10. The Royal Irish Fusiliers Museum, Armagh

The Royal Irish Fusiliers Museum contains weaponry, uniforms, medallions and silverware from the regiment formed in 1793 in response to the Napoleonic crisis and subsequently known as the Faughs from their battle cry Faugh a Ballagh! (‘Clear the way!’). The Fusiliers fought in the Crimean war and the Boer war, where they relieved the Siege of Ladysmith, and fought in both world wars before amalgamating with the Inniskilling Fusiliers and Ulster Rifles in 1968.

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