Armagh - 8 attractions in Ireland's smallest county
Armagh is the smallest county in Ireland and is located in the northeast of the Emerald Isle. What it lacks in size, it makes up for in its unique charm and numerous attractions Armagh has to offer. This Irish county is also rich in scenic beauty and has extensive moors and seascapes that are great for hiking. Travel writer Richard Haywards describes Armagh as follows: "The beauty of Armagh is the beauty of a woman who has aged gracefully." In May, Armagh, also known as Apple County, plunges into a sea of blossoms. Because now the apple trees around Loughgall are in full bloom and promise a rich cider yield. This is celebrated every year with the Apple Blossum Festival. Just one reason to make a detour to County Armagh on a trip to Ireland. These are some of the attractions Armagh also has to offer.
8 of the best places to visit in County Armagh
1. Armagh Public Library
Behind heavy, Georgian wooden doors and tall windows is the Armagh Public Library in the town of Armagh in the middle of the county of the same name. In this one can breathe the scent of old books and wander reverently between the high shelves where the knowledge of centuries is stored. A special jewel of the library, which was founded in the 18th century and is thus Northern Ireland's oldest library, is a privately owned edition of “Gulliver's Travels” by the Irish writer Jonathan Swift. The library is accessible to visitors free of charge all year round. A small donation is requested, however.
You can find more information about the Armagh Public Library here.
2. Navan Fort - Irish myths come to life
This archaeological site offers visitors an amazing range of prehistoric artifacts that archaeologists have unearthed from the earth over decades. In addition to a museum that presents the finds from the Iron and Bronze Ages, there is also an open-air museum. Everyday life of yore can be experienced up close here. Archaeologists see the ring fort as the capital of the Ulter - an Irish clan. The fort is also mentioned in some Irish legends and the tales coincide with what was found on site. Irish myths truly come to life here.
Click here for the official website of the Navan Fort.
Parts of the Navan Fort at Amargh; Creating Agency: Tourism Ireland
3. Armagh Planetarium Observatory & Astropark
Ireland's only planetarium is an ideal place to spend a rainy day with the whole family. In the modern, interactive museum you can leave the earth and go to the stars. There is a lot to discover and time seems to be flying here. A special highlight: the planetarium is home to Ireland's largest meteorite! It's an impressive 4.5 billion years old, made of nickel and iron, and weighs over 150 kilograms. And best of all, visitors are even allowed to touch the meteorite!
4. The extinct volcano Slieve Gullion
In the south is the extinct volcano Slieve Gullion or “Sliabh gCuillinn” as it is called in Gaelic. The approximately 570 meter high mountain is surrounded by an extensive nature reserve, the Slieve Gullion Forest Park. Various, well-marked hiking trails of different lengths run through it. The park with all its hidden sights is easy to explore on the paths. These include pre-Christian burial chambers, centuries-old castles, the remains of old ring forts, dolmens, columnar stones from Celtic times and even a passage grave. Also located in the park is an adventure playground for children and those who have remained children. On the connected legends trail, visitors pass giant heads and small fairy houses and learn the myths and legends of the region.
More information about exploring the area around the Slieve Gullion can be found here.
5. Tayto factory - a lock for the potato
A must for fans of the crispy Tayto chips - the Tayto factory. This Tayto visitor center is housed in the old, venerable walls of a castle that is over 500 years old. There you can now follow the creation of Tayto, meet Mr. Tayto and of course taste some of the delicious chips. It is said that Tayto is the inventor of the Cheese & Onion flavor, which is so popular around the world. You can learn this and much more on a tour of the Tayto Castle. These tours are very popular and advance booking is essential.
All further information about the Tayto factory can be found on the Tatyo website.
6. Armagh County Museum
If the weather leaves something to be desired, the Armagh County Museum, which is centrally located in Armagh City, comes highly recommended. Behind the column-lined entrance, a window into bygone times opens up for the visitor. Artifacts from the Stone Age, Viking jewelry and soldiers' clothing from the past century to old wedding dresses - the history of Armagh comes alive here.
You can find more information about the museum and its opening times here.
The Armagh County Museum; Photographer: Chris Hill; Creating Agency: Tourism Ireland
7. St. Patrick’s Way
If you feel like exercising in nature, you can do the whole (for die-hard people) or pieces of St. Patrick’s Way. This 130-kilometer pilgrimage route is a great way to explore Ireland's Christian heritage between Armagh and Downpatrick. It goes through the Morne Mountains, through beautiful forests and past Dundrum Castle.
8. St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Patrick’s Church Cathedral goes back, how could it be otherwise, to Saint Patrick. In 445 AD he founded a Catholic church on the hill in the middle of the city of Armagh. Nothing is left of this then small stone church, because the church and subsequent buildings were destroyed and rebuilt 17 times. Certainly exciting for those interested in history: The legendary Irish high king, Brian Boru, found his final resting place within the church walls in 1012. A building from the 19th century stands on the site today. In addition, this church is no longer Catholic, but Protestant. But that should be all the same to Saint Patrick today. In general, Patrick is very present in Armagh. The St. Patrick’s Festival takes place every year in March. With parades, dance and music, the saint and his story come to life again.
This is the official website of St. Patrick's Cathedral.
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