With holidays abroad becoming more expensive and EU trips becoming a headache, home-grown Northern Irish holidays are seeing a surge in popularity.

The past few years have seen the world adapt to changing travel dynamics. In the wake of Brexit and the pandemic, more and more people are holidaying at home, discovering the beauty of our corner of the world.

The weather might not always be in our favour, but there is a growing appreciation for the natural beauty and historical wonders here in County Fermanagh and Northern Ireland at large.

Travelling to Europe has only been complicated by Brexit, and there will be yet another hurdle from next year — travellers without an EU passport will need the ETIAS visa waiver for UK citizens. This makes “staycations” all the more appealing.

It is the perfect time to rediscover the rich heritage, stunning landscapes, and vibrant culture that exists right on our doorstep.

The scenic beauty of the Mourne Mountains

Impartial Reporter: Mountains of MourneMountains of Mourne (Image: Getty)

For hiking enthusiasts and nature lovers, County Down’s Mourne Mountains are a popular choice. The Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and UNESCO Global Geopark offers trails that provide panoramic views over the idyllic countryside.

The mountain range, which inspired C.S. Lewis’s Narnia, beckons adventurers to explore its peaks and enjoy the stunning vistas that stretch as far as the eye can see.

Derry: a city where past and present meet 

Derry, or Londonderry if you prefer, is a city rich in history and culture — famously, it is the only remaining completely walled city in Ireland.

Perhaps more famously, it is the setting of the iconic modern sitcom Derry Girls, which has boosted the city’s popularity as a tourist destination. Aside from visiting the giant Derry Girls mural, there are now Derry Girls tours, the “Derry Girls Experience”, and countless shops selling souvenirs inspired by the show.

For those less interested in the show that put Derry back on the map, there is plenty to see and do here. Walk along the 17th-century walls, offering views of the layout of the original town. The Peace Bridge, a symbol of unity, and the Tower Museum are other must-visit spots in the city.

 The splendour of Lough Erne

County Fermanagh’s very own Lough Erne is an increasingly popular destination. Its sparkling waters weaving through countless islands stand as a testament to the timeless beauty of Fermanagh.

Whether it's engaging in water sports or taking leisurely boat trips, the Lough promises something for everyone. Do not miss out on the historic Devenish Island with its monastic sites dating back to the 6th century.

 Spas and wellness retreats 

If you’re looking for a relaxing getaway, Northern Ireland has plenty of world-class options. There are various luxury spas and wellness retreats using local products and taking advantage of the beautiful countryside views to help you unwind and rejuvenate. There are several right here in County Fermanagh.

Nestled amidst nature, these retreats offer a harmonious blend of therapies, yoga sessions, and holistic approaches to wellness, promising a sanctuary of peace and tranquillity.

City breaks in vibrant Belfast 

Impartial Reporter:

The capital is the perfect place for a city break. Nowhere near as expensive as Dublin or London, Belfast has the perfect blend of nightlife, history, culture, and good food.

This is a town where the past meets the future. Belfast bears the scars of its turbid history proudly, but the modern buildings, artistic murals, and electric music scene speak to an optimistic future.

The city’s rich industrial heritage is balanced beautifully with green spaces like the Botanic Gardens, a perfect spot for a leisurely afternoon.

Then there’s the iconic Titanic Belfast, where you can embark on a journey through the life of the world-famous ship.

 Marvel at the Marble Arch Caves 

County Fermanagh makes the list again with our very own subterranean wonder: the Marble Arch Caves. Our Global Geopark offers guided tours that unravel the mysteries of the fascinating natural underworld, a surreal landscape formed over millions of years.

This is a chance to walk through tranquil rivers, cascading waterfalls, and eerie passages of the cave that narrate the geological history of the land.

The Giant’s Causeway: completing the bucket list 

Of course, we couldn’t finish our list of home-grown Northern Irish destinations without including the Giant’s Causeway.

Sure, it’s a cliché — the one place in Northern Ireland where all the tourists want to go — but there’s a good reason for it.

This unique natural wonder really is something to behold. A marvel of nature with its unique hexagonal basalt columns formed millions of years ago.

To say that this famous landmark is right on our doorsteps, how many of us have actually bothered to go? It’s Northern Ireland’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site. And it’s well worth the trip.

The area offers guided tours, providing insights into the geological formations and the legendary tales that surround this natural wonder.