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County Armagh is one of Ulster’s finest examples of a tradition and heritage that is very much alive and well. Known all over Ireland for its strong links to St. Patrick and the first origins of Christianity in Ireland, Armagh is home to two of the country’s most magnificent Cathedrals. Armagh is also considered one of Ireland’s oldest towns, with evidence that St. Patrick built his first church on the same site as the Cathedral, which dates back to 445AD. Since these early years Armagh has long been associated with St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, and enjoys one of the biggest festivals in Ireland every year to commemorate St. Patricks Day. And whilst this rich history is unmistakable in Armagh, it’s not all that this county has to offer – there’s plenty to see and do for all!
Armagh is known as the “Orchard county” or “Orchard of Ireland” and for good reason – more than 4000 acres of Armagh are covered by apple trees which makes for a beautiful sight (and snack!). The beautiful scenes in rural Armagh during the Apple Blossom season are the perfect welcome to visitors to the area. The fields come alive with colour as the pink flowers of apple trees blanket much of the deep green landscape. Look closer and you will find that the blossom ranges from a delicate shade of pink to vibrant fuchsia – a magnificent sight of the beauty of this great tradition. The history of apple growing in Armagh dates back 3000 years and it is believed that Saint Patrick planted an apple tree at Ceangoba – an ancient settlement east of the city.
Apples aside, activities are by the bucket load at Navan Centre Fort – one of Ireland’s most famous and important archaeological sites - where you’ll be offered a unique historical and educational experience. Armagh is home to a number of parks, one of the most popular being Lough Neagh Discovery Centre, which is packed with nature trails, bird watching and outdoor play parks, along with boat trips and canoe trails. You can even enjoy a nibble at the Lough side café after a day of fun. Take a step back and relax in Lurgan Park, the second largest urban park in Northern Ireland and home to the 19th century Brownlow House.
Armagh is a great place for foodies, with a range of bars and restaurants that are highly rated by locals and tourists alike. Popular eateries include Uluru Bistro, 1868 Restaurant & Wine Bar and De Averell House – but these are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to great cafés, restaurants and bars to enjoy an afternoon meal and a relaxing drink in.
One cannot visit Armagh without taking a trip to The Armagh Planetarium and Observatory. With a full colour 3D experience taking you to the International Space Station and beyond, the Planetarium will be fun for all the family. The Astropark scale model of the Universe allows you to literally walk on the clouds, as you venture around the Solar System, Milky Way and beyond.
If its family fun, vivid history and beautiful scenery you’re after then you’ll fall in love with Armagh. Ulster stands proudly as a new cultural hub in Ireland and Armagh is very much part of this experience. Armagh is a county infused with history, architecture and culture which will be appreciated by young and old.