Rural Services: NI
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Like its counterpart south of the border, Northern Ireland has a dominant publicly-owned transport company, Translink. Its interurban bus division is called Ulsterbus and they operate the services that I have listed here. This is a small start but it’ll build as I keep finding more to include. If there are any of which you want to see on here, please let me know and I’ll add them.
18/20/518/520: Belfast - Newcastle
Newcastle is situated at the foot of the Mourne Mountains and the regular (think at least hourly) bus service, albeit with buses carrying different route numbers at different times of operation, makes getting there without a car that much easier. With this state of affairs, my mind has been drawn to map perusal with potential walks being made out in advance of the chance of a future incursion into what should be attractive countryside.
402: Coleraine - Bushmills - Carrick-a-rede
It may not be hill country per se but the Antrim coast of Northern Ireland features a World Heritage Site in the form of Giant’s Causeway with its basalt pillars. That’s not all because there’s the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge and the impressive well-maintained ruins of Dunluce castle too. There’s a coastal path hereabouts so the four departures on Mondays to Sundays in the summertime could see a use. Nevertheless, it’s a pity to see this service, also known as the Causeway Rambler, only running for part of the year.
403: Omagh - Cranagh - Magherafelt
This isn’t a frequent service at the time of writing (it’s January so that may be an explanation) but the two departures each way on Mondays to Saturdays could come is useful for exploring the Sperrin Mountains with their heritage centre being a hub for buses from both ends of the route.
405: Mourne Rambler
This summer only service gets you into the heart of the Mourne Mountains from the Co. Down town of Newcastle itself. When I last had a look, there were five daily services so it looks like a useful proposition when it comes to walking through these appealing hills. It’s not a fast way to travel but you wouldn’t want to rush things around these parts anyway.