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5 Northern Ireland Facts You Didn’t Know

Here’s what you probably didn’t know about the beautiful land of Northern Ireland!

1) The Giant Causeway is its oldest attraction

The Giant's Causeway is over 50 million years old, another of the top facts about Northern Ireland.

Know as one of Northern Ireland’s most famous attractions, The Giant Causeway has been around for roughly 50-60 million years and is distinct for its orderly placed stones. Although the origin of this beautiful is likely too old for any of us truly know, it is said that its gigantic stone structure was formed in 4000bc during the Great Biblical Flood.

Although according to Irish folklore, the Giant’s Causeway came about as a result of a fight between two giants – hence the name. Legend has it that the Irish giant Fionn mac Cumhaill (Finn MacCool) and Scottish giant Benandonner absolutely hated each other. So Benandonner challenged Fionn mac Cumhail to a fight. After accepting the challenge, Fionn built a causeway across the North Channel so the two giants could meet.

2) Game of Thrones was mostly filmed in Northern Ireland

Visit Game of Thrones - Filming Locations - Discover Northern Ireland

Game of Thrones is perhaps the most popular and successful TV series ever made. And doesn’t it sound even better now knowing that its home is right here in Northern Ireland? Filming of seasons one to eight took place in over 25 locations around Northern Ireland from Titanic Studios Belfast and Castle Ward all the way to Blakes of Hollow.

Discover Winterfell for yourself at Castle Ward! Drive through the Dark Hedges, one of the most photographed locations from the series. And visit each of the Doors of Thrones which have each carefully been crafted by Tourism Ireland to tell the story of Season 6.

If you heading to the island of Emerald any time soon, we suggest that you take a driving tour to these key locations.

3) The Land of Presidents

That’s right! Many leaders of the land of stripes and stars were actually Irish descendants. In fact, three US presidents (Jackson, Buchanan, and Arthur) were first-generation Americans with fathers who were all born in Ulster. There are several more presidents that have close roots to the country, including J.F. Kennedy (Great-grandparents from Limerick, Wexford, Cork, Clare, and Fermanagh), Barack Obama (Great-Great-Great Grandfather from Offaly), and even the current president Joe Biden (Great-Great Grandparents from Mayo and Louth).

4) It’s Illegal to go to the Pictures on Sundays??

Secret Cinemas: Nine hotels in Ireland with movie screening rooms -  Independent.ie

Under the 1991 Cinemas Order, it is technically illegal to go to the movies on a Sunday. This law was passed in accordance with the observation of the Sabbath. According to this law, people can be fined £50 for seeing their favourite blockbuster.

5) Belfast’s Cave Hill Inspired the Sleeping Giant in Gulliver’s Travels

Cave Hill Country Park | Attractions, See & Do Featured | Visit Belfast

Overseeing the city of Belfast lies Cave Hill. Towering at 368 metres tall and historically called ‘Ben Madigan’ by the locals, Cave Hill is marked by the three large caves on the face of its cliff, as well as its distinguishing feature ‘Napoleon’s Nose’.

Not much is known about the history of the five man-made caves that occupy Cave Hill, although that hasn’t stopped the stories and tales that have been told about these firm walls. During War times they were used as a hiding place for prisoners as well as treasure. The third cave being the largest leads out onto a dangerous cliff; some say that’s where Corby MacGilmore (a character in poet, Sir Samuel Ferguson’s novel ‘Adventures of Shane O’Neils’) kept his prisoners.

Perhaps the biggest claim made is that Cave Hill actually inspired Jonathan Swift’s famous novel, Gulliver’s Travels. According to a Legend, Swift thought that Cave Hill resembled a sleeping giant guarding Belfast.

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