Clarion Hotel Carrickfergus
75 Belfast Rd.
Belfast, XB BT38 8PH
Phone: (44) 289 3364556
Fax: (44) 289 3351620
The Carrickfergus Castle on one side and the great ocean view on the other make this parking lot a picture perfect location for festivals and open-air concerts.
It is said that the Normans emptied the limestone quarry across the Lough to decorate their spectacular castle and this church in Carrickfergus, which was once an ecclesiastical centre. John de Courcy built many churches in an attempt to atone for the blood spilled as he fought local chieftains for their land. All that remains is this beautifully preserved 800-year old church, renovated by Sir Arthur Chichester in the 17th century. There are many dazzling stained glass windows, including a 16th-century Flemish John the Baptist window, and there is a crooked aisle representing Christ's tilted head on the cross. Legend tells of secret passages between Dobbin's Inn, the castle and the church, and one of Ulster's most famous poets, Louis MacNeice, grew up in the rectory.
Carrickfergus Golf Club is located beside Belfast Lough. The club is about three quarters of a century old but most of it has been recently refurbished with the result that the décor, although tasteful and traditional in style, is new, fresh, bright and attractive. Excellent meals can be had in the restaurant and there's a grill bar menu, with a special every day. The challenging 18-hole course is 5759 yards, par 68, and can prove difficult but enjoyable - i.e. the first tee shot is over a dam! There are no restrictions and the facilities include clubs hire, trolley hire, changing and showering, a golf shop and professional lessons.
Situated at the heart of the town with Carrickfergus Golf Club on one side and a wildlife conservation area on the other, the Amphitheatre has outside tennis courts and its own parking area. There is a small adventure playground behind the center. Ramparts fitness suite provides the ultimate in cardiovascular and resistance equipment, a sauna and steam room. There are regular fitness sessions and workouts to suit all needs, a large 25-meter pool for serious swimmers and a smaller shallower one for children and non-swimmers. The leisure center has a cafeteria area and an-all year crèche. It also caters for disabled sports lovers with a wheelchair lift to the cafeteria and a pool chair for access to the swimming pool.
Located just a few miles from Belfast are the Seapark Recreation Grounds in Hollywood which attract families, students, tourists and couples in plenty especially during summers when there is a higher probability of concerts and community events being held here. Football pitches, bowling greens, tennis courts, shower room facilities for men and women and spectacular firework displays during festivals make these grounds extremely popular and with good reason too.
The Valley Leisure Centre is one of Northern Ireland's largest sporting complex. There's a swimming pool as well as a pool for babies and infants learning to swim. There's a fully furnished gym, and a sauna, steam room and hot pool complex where you can relax after your strenuous workout. There is an on-site cafe, rental venues and a play zone.
Often confused with America's Hollywood, Holywood is a small town near Belfast whose meaning from Latin translates into 'Holy Wood'. In the early 19th century, this town was often visited for sea-bathing, and many rich merchants built their wonderful mansions here. This town has been the birthplace of a number of artists, musicians, writers, historians and reformers. As of today, it is synonymous with the annual jazz and blues festivals that are held here.
There is no better way to see a place than being one amongst the many out there. The Travel Ireland Coach Tours make you believe as if Belfast is very much home to you as it is to them. Founded by a group of local tour guides with deeply-rooted knowledge of tourism in and around, get to visit places such as the Gian's Causeway, the Kingdom of Mourne, St. Patrick's Grave, Hop into a Black Taxi or just take in the unblemished beauty of the place. Whatever your likes, Travel Ireland Coach Tours provides them like none other.
The shining state-of-the-art decor in this cyber cafe is complimented by the delicious homemade desserts and whiffs of Mexican cooking. While waiting 5 minutes or so for one of the computers to become available you can have a choice of coffee with a slice of chocolate fudge cake or enjoy a full meal if you wish. Situated in the town center, this cafe is popular with students, who are offered special rates. Special rates are also available for schoolchildren. Faxing, printing, laminating and photo copying facilities are also available.
Thrills and spills for children aged from three to fourteen, set on the scenic Cave Hill. Plenty of sandpits are available, as well as slides and swings for the younger ones and Crazy Horse, Crazy Nellie and Crazy Scrambler rides. More adventurous older kids can clamber up the space net, and whizz down the aerial runway. All children must be accompanied by an adult, and booking in advance is recommended as this playground is very popular.
Set on the wooded slopes of the dramatic Cave Hill is the 19th-century edifice of Belfast Castle. The castle was built in 1870 and was previously home to the Earl of Shaftesbury. Within the castle are two rather expensive restaurants and also a small heritage center offering an insight into the area's history. There is a playground for children. The castle and its spectacular grounds afford beautiful views of the whole city and across Belfast Lough. If you feel like venturing beyond the grounds, there are walks which lead you up to the foot of Napoleon's Nose and to the caves that gave the Cave Hill its name. Check website for varying open hours.
A protestant church of unrivaled beauty, the Ballylinney Presbyterian Church is quite simple and unnoticeable going by its physical demeanor. But, locally the church holds a lot of importance as a community and religious center. A modern, white, rectangular structure the church dates back to 1835. With many additions over the years, the church with built to its present glory and was initially the main prayer space for the nearby farming community. Today, however, the church caters to 340 homes, along with many new families that have shifted here in recent years.