A delightful city by the Northern Ireland countryside, Armagh is known both as the emerald isle’s ecclesiastical capital and for its rich history and culture. It is only an hour away from Belfast and can be a good day trip from this Northern Ireland’s capital.
It is home to the three Churches of Ireland, several fascinating museums that include one that’s dedicated to Celtic history, as well as natural attractions that include the scenic Slieve Gullion.
Armagh may be located in the smallest county (of the same name) in Ireland but it sure packs a punch, with so much to see and do. If you’re headed this way and wanted to know the city more, here’s a list of the best things to do in Armagh, Northern Ireland.
Things you'll find in this article
- 12 Things To Do In Armagh, Northern Ireland
- 1.Cruise along the Slieve Gullion Scenic Drive
- 2. Explore Slieve Gullion Forest Park
- 3. Stargaze at Armagh Planetarium
- 4. Visit the Armagh Robinson Library
- 5. Discover Lough Neagh
- 6. Learn some local history at the Armagh County Museum
- 7. Learn Celtic History at the Navan Centre
- 8. Stroll Along Armagh City Centre
- 9. Step inside St Patrick’s Cathedral
- 10. Walk at the Georgian Mall
- 11. Spend a day at The Argory
- 12. Admire the Milford House Collection
12 Things To Do In Armagh, Northern Ireland
1.Cruise along the Slieve Gullion Scenic Drive
Hands down, this has to be among the best, if not the absolute best thing to do in Armagh. The drive treats you to breathtaking views of lush woodlands encompassing the Slieve Gullion Forest Park, as well as the Cooley Peninsula, Mourne Mountains, and the Ring of Gullion.
Visit on a clear day, preferably in the early morning or late afternoon, and you’ll know exactly why this country is called the emerald isle and why this is one of the most scenic drives to take in this part of Ireland.
2. Explore Slieve Gullion Forest Park
If you’re taking that Slieve Gullion scenic drive, you simply won’t get enough of the views that you just have to visit the forest park as well, and you must. From above, it is a stunning patchwork of green fields seemingly studded with gold depending on what time of day it is.
At 573m (1,894 ft), it is the highest point in Armagh. There are woodland trails, unparalleled views over the Armagh Drumlins, Cooley Peninsula, Ring of Gullion, and the Mourne Mountains.
Explore the Adventure Play Park, the Hawthorn Hill Forest Nature Reserve or enjoy a relaxing stroll around the Ornamental Walled Garden. There’s just so much to see and do here that a day won’t be enough but surely makes for one of the best things to do in Armagh on weekends.
3. Stargaze at Armagh Planetarium
The Armagh Planetarium was built in the 1960s to complement the adjacent observatory. It was overseen by the late great Sir Patrick Moore, easily the most famous TV astronomer in the world.
Whether you’re a fan of our fascinating night sky or not, a visit here is definitely among the best activities to do in Armagh.
Lose yourself among the stars in the digital theatre that offers a splendid closer look at constellations, planets, and stars.
4. Visit the Armagh Robinson Library
After spending time in the great outdoors of Armagh, you’d crave some quiet time to just sit back and relax. A perfect place to be in Armagh is the Robinson Library, which is like stepping into the 18th century.
It was founded by Archbishop Robinson as a place to gather and display his collection of books and fine art, and home to over 42,000 printed works.
Be sure to check out the fancy first edition of Gulliver’s Travels from 1726, which even has corrections in the pages. Ireland is notorious for its fickle weather and this is one of the best places to visit when it’s raining.
5. Discover Lough Neagh
Set out early and put on your favorite sturdy hiking shoes, because Lough Neagh Discovery Centre demands more than just a few hours.
Nestled in the Oxford Island Nature Reserve, this is a great opportunity to experience Armagh wildlife, along with sweeping views of Lough Neagh.
Explore the walking trails, go bird watching or simply take in the scenery. This is one Armagh attraction that should make your list if you want to get to know this city more.
6. Learn some local history at the Armagh County Museum
Housed in a pretty Georgian tree-lined mall close to the St Patrick’s Cathedral is the Armagh County Museum. A definite must-visit, this is also the oldest county museum in all of Ireland. It is also considered a landmark, and it has been open to the public since 1937.
The museum’s collections reflect centuries of history, culture, and stories about life in Armagh as well as its people. The items on exhibit range from an impressive art collection to military uniforms as well as natural history specimens and railway memorabilia.
Fascinated with anything Celtic? This should be on top of your things to do in Armagh.
The historic Navan Fort was the former capital and seat of the Kings of Ulster, while the adjacent Navan Centre has an impressive exhibition area. It showcases artifacts and weaponry as well as myths and legends.
Here, you’ll also get to meet Celtic characters that will help you learn more about their history, culture, and lifestyle through fascinating demonstrations such as ancient cooking practices, farming, and weaving.
8. Stroll Along Armagh City Centre
There’s plenty to see in Armagh, and its city center is one place that you shouldn’t miss. It is like a living museum, home to three Church of Ireland buildings that makes Armagh Ireland’s ecclesiastical capital.
You’ll also find here the fascinating Armagh Robinson Library, which extends to No. 5 Vicars’ Hill. It used to be the Diocesan Registry, but it now houses interesting artifacts from the library’s collections.
Armagh City center is like a quick introduction to its local history and culture, so a leisurely walk early in the day or in the late afternoon with a takeaway cup of coffee or tea is something that should be part of your trip.
9. Step inside St Patrick’s Cathedral
If you’re going to explore Armagh’s city center, one of those places where you simply must spend more time in is the magnificent St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Join a guided tour or explore it on your own— it’s easy to see why it is among the best attractions in Armagh.
Marvel at the stained glass windows, the intricate mosaics, and the stunning gold leaf sculptures — it’s bound to be a unique and intriguing tour, something that you shouldn’t pass up while in Armagh.
10. Walk at the Georgian Mall
In between nature trips and exploring majestic structures, take a relaxing walk through the tree-lined Georgian mall — right in the heart of Armagh.
Take in the picturesque surroundings, the stunning architecture and the old world ambiance, it’s an entirely different face of Armagh but still as beautiful.
This is also where you’ll find two of the city’s must-visit museums: the Armagh County Museum and the Royal Irish Fusiliers Museum, which features exhibits showcasing military history and genealogy.
11. Spend a day at The Argory
The Argory is one of the most unique places to visit in Armagh, a must if you want to try something different.
This is a charming Irish gentry house nestled within a riverside estate. It was built in the 1820s, a delightful place now managed by the National Trust.
The Argory boasts of lovely furnishings, houses a second-hand bookshop and gift shop, a pretty Courtyard Coffee Shop, and lush woodlands that you’re free to explore during your visit.
12. Admire the Milford House Collection
The Milford House, back in the 19th century, was quite literally ahead of its time as it was the first house in Ireland to be lit by electricity.
Step inside and check out the elegant interiors, and admire the impressive art collection that includes paintings by Frederick Goodall and Daniel Sherrin.
Easily one of the best attractions in Armagh, another highlight of the Milford House Collection is documents and items about the first telephone system in County Armagh.
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