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Travel to Armagh

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The centre of Armagh, both literally and otherwise is the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland, Armagh City. It is from Armagh that St Patrick based the newly emerging Christian religion, on the same site, as had been the seat of power for many an Ulster King. The town is millennia old but is reaching to the future as well. The famous Armagh Planetarium might have been built in the 16th century but it's come along way since then and houses the largest telescope in Ireland.

Home to both of St Patrick's Cathedrals, one Catholic and one Protestant, the latter s reputed to be the site of Patrick's first church in 453 AD and the reputed burying place of Irish hero and legend Brian Boru who drove the Norse from the country.

Just outside the city of Armagh is Navan, once the ancient seat of the Kings of Ulster and the capital of Ulster from 660 BC until 330 AD; it was also the stronghold of the Red Branch Knights. Navan, which has over 7500 years of history, comprises a system of earthworks, settlement sites and sacred spots. Navan Centre provides excellent exhibition and audio-visual shows that cover Celtic culture, rituals and beliefs.

But it is not without reason that Armagh is called the Orchard County being as it is one of the more fertile and most lovely of Ireland's counties. Slieve Gullion Forest Park provides a scenic 8-mile drive around Slieve Gullion Mountain. There are walking trails leading to the mountain's summit, which give stunning views of the Ring of Gullion, Cooley Mountains and the Mourne Mountains.

Many parks and nature reserves surround Lough Neagh, the largest fresh water lake in the British Isles. Situated near Craigavon its natural value is such that it and the surrounding area have been declared National Nature Reserves. Tours and trails are available.

But this is just a taste of what is in store for the visitor to Armagh. From Armagh City itself, to the towns of Lisburn, Portadown and Crossmaglen to the unspoilt countryside of the Orchard County any newcomers are sure of a hearty welcome.