Widely read and respected travel bible, Lonely Planet, has declared that Northern Ireland is a cool place to visit. One could be forgiven for thinking that this was a rather fair appraisal of the weather, but no – the magazine has given Northern Ireland its much coveted seal of approval.
Together with Croatia, Marseille and Budapest, Northern Ireland has been described by Lonely Planet as “on the up” and “poised to be the next traveller find”. It praised new visitor attractions such as Titanic Belfast and established favourites such as the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and the Giant’s Causeway.
Diane Poole, Stena Line’s Head of PR and Communications, said: “Over the last number of years, Northern Ireland has cleverly shaken off the shackles of the past to confidently step into a new era filled with hope, excitement and, due to hosting some much-watched global events, lots of visitors. It is now one of those destinations that’s considered ‘off the beaten track’, that’s shrouded in mystery and seen as culturally rich and exciting.”
Getting a top ten listing in Lonely Planet’s Top European Destinations for 2013 will attract lots of curious explorers keen to see what all the fuss is about.
A must-visit destination is Northern Ireland’s second largest city, Derry, the only surviving walled city in Ireland. It is celebrating its City of Culture status with a year of cultural and arts events, including hosting the Turner Prize 2013.
The country is also famous for its sporting sons and daughters such as footballer George Best and Olympian Dame Mary Peters, but it’s the emerging sport of ice hockey that is putting the country on the map. The Belfast Giants team, sponsored by Stena Line, has won three regular-season titles as well as two play-off tournaments.