If you’re planning a trip to Northern Ireland and want to tick off every city then stick with us.
If you didn’t already know there are 6 cities in Northern Ireland which are: Belfast, Armagh, Derry, Newry, Lisburn and Bangor.
A bit like Northern Ireland itself, the cities are a lot smaller than what you might expect elsewhere in the world but, that can be part of the charm!
How Many Cities are There in Northern Ireland?
There are 6 cities in total: Belfast, Armagh, Derry, Newry, Lisburn and Bangor.
The best place to start is by visiting the capital city of Northern Ireland.
Facts and information about Belfast:
- Belfast has a population of approximately 350,000 people
- Belfast is served by two airports; The Belfast International Airport, which handles international and domestic flights, and The George Best Airport which handles domestic and UK flights.
- Belfast is where the HMS Titanic was built and today is home to the HMS Titanic Museum and Exhibition, one of the city’s premier tourist attractions.
- Belfast was badly affected by the conflict known as ‘the Troubles’ which saw violent outbreaks between Catholic and Protestant populations across Northern Ireland
- Belfast is home to multiple sporting institutions, including Ulster Rugby and Antrim GAA
Armagh is located approximately 40 miles southwest of Belfast and travelling between the two cities will take approximately 50 minutes by car when using the M1.
Facts and information about Armagh:
- Armagh has a population of around 15,000 people making it the smallest city in Northern Ireland
- Armagh was given city status in 1994 and Lord Mayoralty status in 2012, both by Queen Elizabeth II
- Armagh is home to two stunning cathedrals: The Church of Ireland Cathedral and The Roman Catholic Cathedral
- As a result, it’s sometimes known as “Cathedral City”
- The city sits within the county, also known as Armagh, which is famous for its apple orchards and is known as the “Orchard County”
Derry is located towards the northeast of Northern Ireland and is also known as Londonderry. The name Derry originates from the Irish version of the same name, whereas “Londonderry” was the name used by the British. Subsequently, the name of the city has become an issue in its own rite. It is approximately 70 miles away from Belfast and travelling between the two cities by car will take approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Facts and information about Derry:
- Derry has a population of approximately 85,00 people making it the second largest city in Northern Ireland
- The conflict known as “The Troubles” which affected large parts of Northern Ireland is widely regarded to have started in Derry in the aftermath of civil rights marches
- The sitcom “Derry Girls” is based on the sitcom creator’s life experiences growing up in Derry during the 1990s
- The famous punk rock band The Undertones come from Derry
- Derry City Football Club are the only Northern Irish football team to play in the League of Ireland (featuring Republic of Ireland teams). All other Northern Irish top-flight clubs play in the Irish Premiership
We know that last point is confusing. Ireland in general can be a confusing place…
Newry is south of Belfast by just under 40 miles and will take approximately 50 minutes to travel between the two cities by car. The city sits very close to the boarder between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Facts and information about Newry:
- Newry has a population of approximately 30,000 people
- Newry has seen its fair share of violent incidents as a result of The Troubles, with the majority of these incidents occurring in the 1970’s and 80’s
- Newry is home to St Patricks Church (named after the Patron Saint of Ireland) and was built in 1758
- Newry was granted city status as part of the Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee Celebrations in 2002
Lisburn sits just 8 miles southwest of Belfast and in many cases is considered a part of the wider metropolitan area of Belfast. As a result, travel between Belfast and Lisburn is very easy either by public or private transport.
Facts and information about Lisburn:
- Lisburn has a population of approximately 45,000 people
- Lisburn was granted city status as part of Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee Celebrations in 2002
- Lisburn is the birthplace of Ireland’s linen industry and was once home to the largest linen mill in the world, employing around 2,000 people
Bangor actually sits within the metropolitan area of Belfast and is just 13 miles east of the capital city. As you would expect from being so close, travelling between the two cities is easy either via public or private transport and will take around 30 minutes.
Facts and information about Bangor:
- Bangor has a population of approximately 60,000 people
- There are several places of interest which are worth visiting in Bangor, including Bangor Marina, Bangor Castle, Bangor Abbey and Bangor Carnegie Library
- Bangor sits along the coast of Belfast Lough
Travelling Between the Cities
Northern Ireland does have various transport links available, mainly in the form of train or bus routes but unfortunately public transport is not one of our strong points here on the island of Ireland.
Travelling between the cities, and the ease of that travel, will depend on where you’re going and when.
If you happen to be travelling between Belfast and Derry, you will find the train the quickest and easiest option. Likewise, travelling between Belfast, Bangor and Lisburn is relatively straightforward due to proximity.
Travelling between Newry and Derry, or Armagh and Bangor will take a little more brainpower and organisation…
We would recommend you look at car hire if possible. Ireland, north and south, is an island dominated by the need for and use of a car.
We hope this helps on your travels!