Destination Ireland: Ballymena – April 2019 – Issue 286

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Ballymena town is a gateway to the North Coast, and while it isn’t a popular holiday destination, it is an undercooked gem. There are plenty of things to see and do in the area, an abundance of shops and is home to one of the best spas in Ireland!

Things to see and do

Ballymena is home to Slemish Mountain, known as the first home to Ireland’s patron Saint, Patrick, where he was said to have been tied up in slavery as a herder of livestock. But that is not the only interesting thing about this small mountain; Slemish is actually the remains of the plug of an extinct volcano! It is open year round to the public, where you can hike to the top and be rewarded by the outstanding views of Irish countryside all around, and on a clear day you can even see the Scottish coastline. On St Patrick’s Day, people from far and wide will flock here to make the ascent as a pilgrimage. The walk from the bottom to the top and back can take around one hour, and many people enjoy a picnic at one of the picnic tables on their return. A visit to the nearby Galgorm Castle and Estate is also a must. It is soaked in history, being one of the finest examples of Jacobean architecture in Ireland. A restoration and redevelopment of the castle began in 1980, after it fell in to disrepair. Today it is a stunning location for local history, and the gardens are beautiful to explore on a spring day.

Read more in the April issue…

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