Where do you want to visit today?
What a year we had! 2014 was our most travelled yet. Over the year we added some 1000 new 360° photos and virtual tours. So many great places were visited with our 360° cameras, but what were the ones you liked the most?Here are the Top 20 most popular posts (and 360° photos) visited by you on our Irish destination photo blog during 2014. There are some you would expect and some interesting surprises.
Feel free to leave a comment and let us know what you think? Are you surprised by any of the locations in our Top 20? Is there somewhere you’d like us to visit that we haven’t been to yet?
Northern Ireland tops the list in 2014. We’re delighted to see it and admittedly a little biased as it’s where we’re based. Northern Ireland is a unique location. What makes it even more special is that it’s all so accessible. Every corner of the country is within a two hour drive so exploring its distinctive landmarks couldn’t be easier.
At No.1 is the mighty Carrickfergus Castle. You can’t miss this unique attraction as it dominates all approaches to the town. If you only get the chance to visit one castle in Northern Ireland, Carrickfergus should be the one.
At No.2 is Exploris Aquarium in County Down. Here visitors can view & learn about the marine life indigenous to Strangford Lough (an Area of Special Scientific Interest) and coastline. It’s been through a tough time recently with threats of closure but as you can see it’s one of our most popular pages.
At No.3 is Belfast Empire Music Hall . A hugely popular nighttime venue in the City of Belfast. This 19th century converted church is now home to a renowned comedy night and regular live gigs and is a very popular place to eat and drink in Belfast.
At No.4 is Holywood Town in County Down. This jewel in North Down has a rich ecclesiastical heritage and boasts Ireland’s only surviving Maypole. If you happen to be staying in County Down Holywood is a particularly popular place to visit for its speciality shops including fashion boutiques, delis, and galleries.
Lagan Valley Leisureplex in the city of Lisburn is one of the most popular swimming pools and water parks in Northern Ireland. Currently undergoing an extensive upgrade to it’s facilities which we hope to re-visit in April of this year to capture new 360° photos.
Check out the Aerial 360° photo of the new state-of-the-art Third Generation (3G) football pitches hosting two 7-a-side and six 5-a-side cages
The amazing Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. One of Northern Ireland’s best-loved attractions. Unrivalled coastal scenery & stunning views. Today visitors to this family attraction in Northern Ireland are drawn here simply to take the rope bridge challenge!
One of our earliest 360° photos journeys took us to Groomsport Coastal Village. It’s been high on the list of places to visit in Co Down for centuries and is best known for it’s picturesque harbour that was once a major fishing port and it’s two fishermen’s cottages known as Cockle Row.
Despite it not being open to the public during 2014, the Fry Model Railway made it into our Top 10 most viewed 360° photos – perhaps due to the fact that visitors could take a ‘Virtual Visit’ as the next best thing. This unique collection of handmade models of Irish trains, from the beginning of rail travel to modern times, is currently in storage awaiting its new home in the Casino Malahide.
The spectacular castle-crowned crag of Dunluce Castle on the famous north Antrim coast is at No. 11. The castle is thought to be the inspiration for Cair Paravel in CS Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia and is thought by many to be the most picturesque and romantic of Irish Castles.
Belfast’s answer to Willy Wonka makes our Top 20! At Aunt Sandra’s Candy Factory witness candy making as it used to be, some to traditional recipes over 100 years old. This is a great place to visit with the family.
Since opening its doors on 23 December 1895, Belfast’s Grand Opera House has delivered an unrivalled programme of entertainment, playing host to some of the greatest names in theatre and music. According to the Theatres Trust the “magnificent auditorium is probably the best surviving example in the United Kingdom of the oriental style applied to theatre architecture”.
W5 Belfast. W5 is hard to put into words as it is an experience – W5 stands for whowhatwherewhenwhy – the five questions we all ask of everything… This award-winning science & discovery centre unlocks the secrets of science, nature, flight, geography, and creativity. A great family day out and is one of the top family attractions in Northern Ireland.
Another of our very first 360° virtual tours were captured at Blackhead Lightkeepers Houses. We can see why this made our Top 20. The panoramic views from this Irish Landmark Trust holiday accommodation are stunning and make for a perfect self-catering stay in Co Antrim.
Armagh Gaol is one of Northern Ireland’s most important historic buildings and a landmark building within the City of Armagh. It makes vital contribution to the townscape character of the Armagh Conservation Area and should be on your list of places to see in County Armagh.
Punching into the Top 20 this year is The Maryborough Hotel & Spa. Nestled in leafy suburbs this is one of the finest luxury hotels in Cork with the charm and grandeur of a country residence. We stayed here for a week during our visit to County Cork last summer. Would highly recommend.
Since Victorian times, the Bangor area has been one of Northern Ireland’s main tourist towns, providing for the pleasure of trippers and tourists. We took a trip around Bangor Town with the 360° cameras and can understand why this made our Top 20.
The stunning landscape of Silent Valley in County Down. A Mountain Park situated in the high Mournes ringed by dramatic Mountain panoramas.
At No.20 is another property from The Irish Landmark Trust stable. Helen’s Tower, perched high above the rolling hills of Co Down, is an enchanting five storey stone tower nestled deep in the woods of the Clandeboye Estate. Yes…you can stay in Helen’s Tower! It sleeps 2. A romantic and original place to spend a few days & nights.
And that wraps up our Top 20 most popular posts and 360° photos visited by you during 2014. Thanks for reading.