Mention outdoor adventures in Northern Ireland and most think of one thing: The Giant’s Causeway. While the Causeway is a mesmerizing natural feature, and an absolute must-visit, it’s far from the only outdoor activity worth trying in the green isle. In fact, this tiny corner of the UK is one of the most underrated hubs for outdoor adventures in all of Europe. From hitting gnarly waves to traversing through awe-inspiring caves and alluring forests, here are eight activities you never thought about doing in Northern Ireland.

1

Rock climb the cliffs of the Causeway Coast.

The Causeway Coast is known as one of the world’s most scenic drives, but these cliffs are also perfect for rock climbing and abseiling. Runkerry, seen here, is a great spot for beginners; the cliffs are about 50 feet high - just high enough to get your heart pounding without scaring you away from the sport entirely. It’s also just a stone’s throw away from The Giant’s Causeway, so you can knock that off your bucket list while you’re there. Climb NI can help with providing equipment and qualified instructors. More experienced climbers who have their own equipment can find more challenging spots all along the coast.

2

Explore Castlewellan by mountain bike.

Castlewellan is a village in the eastern part of Northern Ireland, home to Castlewellan Forest Park. It has miles and miles of mountain bike tracks that you can ride. There are trails for all levels of experience, from wide roads to single tracks. The Life Adventure Centre can hook you up with a mountain bike, helmet, trail map, and local advice. It even has electric mountain bikes that are super fun to ride and really help with climbing up to some of the steeper lookout points. For some added fun at the end of your ride, check out Castlewellan’s Peace Maze, one of the world’s largest permanent hedge mazes where visitors attempt to reach the center and ring the Peace Bell.

3

Try out sailing on land.

You’d think that you’d at least need water to go sailing, but not in Northern Ireland. It’s called blokarting -- basically a cross between sailing and go-karting – and it’s a fun as it sounds. Benone Beach along the northern coast is one of the best places to try it out. The beach is seven miles long, and when the tide is out, what’s left is a large area of firm sand, perfect for blokarting. The folks at Blokart World run lessons pretty much any day that the wind and beach conditions cooperate. It’s a bit tricky at first, learning to both steer and control the sail, but once you get the hang of it, you’re flying!

4

Go caving through the Marble Arch Caves.

Below Fermanagh lies an extensive cave system known as the Marble Arch Caves. Take a guided tour through the caves and you’ll find some impressive stalactites and stalagmites that have taken tens of thousands of years to form. A few times a year, they also hold wild caving tours. You strap on a helmet, headlamp, coveralls, and boots, and climb down through narrow passages in pitch-black darkness.

5

Sleep in a bubble.

Imagine spending a night here, under the cover of forest and starlight. There are 14 of these bubble rooms in the Finn Lough Resort, and you should definitely book yourself in for at least a night (but make sure to do so well in advance). It’s such a surreal experience, and on a clear night the stars are absolutely breathtaking. Finn Lough also has plenty of activities to keep you busy during the day, from mountain biking to gin tasting.

6

Catch some waves.

Northern Ireland may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of surfing, but it’s actually got some of the best surf spots on the entire island. The water is cold year-round, but it’s really not a problem once you’ve got a wetsuit on. Portrush is one of the main surf beaches. If you’re a beginner, head to West Strand where you’ll find the Alive Surf School, which will provide equipment rental and lessons for newbies. The instructors are super helpful and determined to have you standing after your first lesson.

7

Longboard through the streets of Londonderry.

Londonderry was the site of many important events in Northern Ireland’s conflicted past. Instead of zoning out on a walking tour, take in the history while remaining alert and having a bit (ok, a lot) of fun. Far and Wild Tours runs a Boom Boarding Tour, where you’ll learn about the area’s history while cruising the city on a longboard. If you’ve never given it a go, have no fear as the tour starts with a lesson, and it’s not as difficult as it looks. The tour ends at the Walled City Brewery, where you can sample a pint of a local craft beer called Boom, hence the name of the tour.

8

Canoe your heart out.

Northern Ireland may be known for its coastline, but there is just as much to be seen inland. If you take a look at a map, you’ll notice Lough Neagh right in the middle. It’s the country’s largest lake with six rivers flowing into it and one river flowing out. It’s teeming with wildlife, including many species of birds, such as whooper swans and tufted duck. Lough Neagh Tours can help get you in a canoe and show you around. You’ll most likely find that you have the river all to yourself, making it a serene way to wrap up an adrenaline-packed week.

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