Northern Ireland is the smallest of the 4 countries that make up the United Kingdom, but it still has plenty of beautiful scenery. On this page we’ll highlight some of the best places to photograph in Northern Ireland. Many of the locations are on or near the coast, particularly the north coast. So if you are planning a trip, you won’t have to travel far between some of these locations.
The interactive map below shows the locations covered on this page.
We’ll be updating this page in the future, so if you know of other locations that you think should be included, please feel free to leave a comment.
The Giant’s Causeway is one of the most-well known attractions in Northern Ireland, especially among photographers. It is located on the northern coast, just outside of the Bushmills. This surreal landscape features thousands of basalt columns that are mostly hexagonal in shape. The columns, which are the result of volcanic eruptions, form steps that can be followed down to the water. Giant’s Causeway is a national natural reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Dunluce Castle is also on the north coast of Northern Ireland, just a few miles/km west of Giant’s Causeway. This medieval castle is now in ruins, but it is still very photogenic on a large rock outcropping overlooking the ocean. There are steep drops all around, making it a very dramatic setting.
White Rocks Beach, Portrush
The town of Portrush is just west of Dunluce Castle. The town has three beaches: East Strand, West Strand, and White Rocks. White Rocks Beach is a great place for photography thanks to the limestone cliffs. Even amongst the spectacular cliffs, there are some distinct formations.
The town of Portstewart is a short distance west of Portrush. Portstewart has a beautiful beach, and it is a popular area for tourists and locals. There are sand dunes to explore, and you can also hike along the Causeway Coast Way, a 33 mile (53 km) path to Ballycastle.
West of the Portstewart is Mussenden Temple, near the town of Castlerock. The temple, built in 1785, sits right at the edge of a 120 foot (36 meters) cliff with a great view of the Atlantic Ocean. You can photograph the temple with the ocean in the background. The temple is on property owned by the National Trust.
Binevenagh is a mountain that is a few miles/km southwest of Mussenden Temple. You can hike to the summit if you would like an outstanding view.
Ballintoy is just east of Giant’s Causeway. The small village and the harbour are equally appealing. While there are many great places to photograph along the northern coast, Ballintoy is one that you won’t want to miss.
Carrick-a-Rede is just east of Ballintoy Harbour. It is a famous rope bridge near the town of Ballintoy connecting the mainland to a very small island, Carrickarede. The bridge is about 60 feet (20 meters) long and 100 feet (30 meters) above the rocks and water. It’s a popular tourist attraction, and also part of a scenic landscape. The bridge is owned by the National Trust and there is a small fee to cross.
Kinbane Castle is just east of Carrick-a-Rede. While there isn’t much of the castle remaining, it’s still a picturesque scene with the surrounding landscape and cliffs. From the castle you can get a nice view of Rathlin Island.
Ballycastle Beach and Torr Head
Continuing southeast along the coast, Ballycastle is just a few miles/km from Kinbane Castle. The beach is a popular area, and a good location for photography. Fair Head is a rocky headland that dramatically rises nearly 650 feet (nearly 200 meters).
Just east of Ballycastle, Torr Head is a rugged headland with amazing views. This is definitely a highlight of the area.
The Dark Hedges
Just a short distance south of Giant’s Causeway you can find the Dark Hedges, a stunning avenue of beech threes. The Dark Hedges has become a more popular tourist attraction since it gained visibility through the HBO show Game of Thrones. The Stuart family planted the trees in the 1700s to line the path to their house. There are over 90 trees lining the road, although a few have come down in recent years. You can park at the nearby Hedges Estate Hotel and walk through the Dark Hedges.
The Mourne Mountains are in southeastern Northern Ireland. This range includes the highest mountains in the country, most notably Slieve Donard (nearly 2,800 feet or 850 meters). From the summit of Slieve Donard you’ll have an excellent view of Murlough Bay.
This Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is popular with tourists. Another point of interest is the Mourne Wall. It is a 20+ mile (35 km) stone wall that crosses several mountain peaks. There are also many granite cliffs that are popular with climbers.
Murlough National Nature Reserve
Murlough National Nature Reserve is near the Mourne Mountains and Newcastle. The beach and sand dunes are great for photography. You also have views of the mountains here.
Warrenpoint is a town in southeast Northern Ireland, not far from the Mourne Mountains. It sits by Carlingford Lough and the Newry River. Narrow Water Castle is a tower built in the 1500’s along the Newry River. This picturesque town is a great place to photograph.
The Glenoe Waterfall is in the town of Gleno in the eastern part of Northern Ireland. It is north of Belfast. The waterfall is managed by the National Trust and there is about a 1-mile walk to reach the falls.
Ballynoe Stone Circle
The town of Ballynoe is in eastern Northern Ireland, south of Downpatrick. There are more than 50 upright stones, reaching up to 6 feet high. You can reach the stone circle by a long path from the road.
Scrabo Tower is a landmark east of Belfast. It reaches 125 feet (38 meters), impressively standing above the landscape and Strangford Lough.
Glens of Antrim
The Glens of Antrim is a region that includes 9 glens. It is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and there are countless photo opportunities here. Some of the towns here are Bellycastle, Cushendun, Cushendall, Waterfoot, Carnlough, Glenarm, and Ballygally. The coastal road provides amazing views.
Photo license links: CC BY-ND 2.0, CC BY-SA 3.0, CC BY 2.0, CC BY-SA 2.0, CC0,
You say there is a 1 mile walk to reach Gleno waterfall.
This is incorrect. You can park in the car park of the waterfall and the walk from there to the waterfall is no more than 100 feet away.