While bustling Belfast thrives nearby, the leafy borough of Newtownabbey – just north of theNorthern Irish capital – is the perfect place for a quiet getaway. Nestled inthe County Antrim countryside, Newtownabbey boasts three beautifulparks and the nearby Belfast Lough which is a designated area of specialnatural interest. With a selection of flora and fauna as well as a wide varietyof birdlife, Newtownabbey is a naturelover’s dream.
However, as NorthernIreland’s fourth largest settlement, the countryside is not all that thedistrict has to offer. The leisure and entertainment centre, as well as areasof historical interest are all centrally located and easily accessible, meaningthere is something for everybody and certainly no shortage of things to do.
Culturein NewtownabbeyAt theheart of Newtownabbey’s cultural centreis the Theatre at the Mill. It blendspast with present in a contemporary take on what was once the area’s industrialhub. Rescued from demolition in the 1990s, the abandoned 19th century Mossley FlaxMill was redeveloped into the civic and cultural centre that stands here today.A state of the art performance spot, the Theatre at the Mill now provides performancesfor every taste. Offering an array of theatre shows, comedy, diverse dance and drama,live music and other sparkling entertainment, the area is definitely worthchecking out. There is also a museum for those interested in the site’s fascinatingearly industrial history and its modern day transition from commerce to culture.
Historyin NewtownabbeyIf theuntouched past is more your thing, then the Sentry Hill Historic House and Visitor Centre is a must. Built in1835, Sentry Hill farmhouse provides a rare glimpse into Ulster’s rural past. Setjust north of the centre in the bristling greenery of the Ballycraigy Road,Sentry Hill has gathered a diversity of historical artefacts over the years. Bedeckedtoday, as it would have been in its prime, the farmhouse offers a rare peekinto the daily life of rural families living in this area of Northern Ireland during the 19th andearly 20th centuries.
The great outdoors inNewtownabbeyThe picturesque Sixmilewater River is just a short journey away, so as well as birdwatching, or visiting one of the district’s lush parks, why not try your line atfishing? Those new to the sport could also try for some trout at the Mossley Brown Trout Fishery, a stone’sthrow from the civic centre.
Or, you could enjoy the countryside with around of golf. For beginners, Ballyearl Arts & Leisure Centre offers a freenine-hole public golf course. There’s also the Burnfield House Golf Course, with a restaurant offering delectabledishes – for the golfer who works up an appetite!
Visit NewtownabbeyCentrally located, Newtownabbey offers a charming taste ofthe culture and countryside that Northern Ireland is so well known for. It’sbound to make an impression.