For the fourth year in a row I present the top Northern Irish travel blogs for you to follow. Congratulations to everyone that is included on the 2016 list, I’ve enjoyed compiling it once again and catching up with all your stories. I’ll be doing the next one in January or February 2017. There have been a few drop outs from those no longer updating their blogs from the first NI travel blogs list way back in 2013, including Daniel McFaul, Patrick Burke and Jono Crute. However the list is now a whopping 15 cool Northern Irish travel blogs, putting our southern Irish friends to shame, in the same way the football team did by qualifying for France 2016 by winning the group with aplomb and not through a dodgy play-off.
There are some notable absentees once again – there is still no room for world number one golfer Rory McIlroy – he has been travelling apparently but not blogging to a high enough level to make the list. Ash’s Tim Wheeler also missed the cut although he did rock concerts in over 10 countries this year. Also missing out but worthy of a mention is Kilmarnock striker Josh Magennis. Despite the fact that Josh travelled to places like Finland, Faroe Islands and Romania, he’s more of a footballer than a blogger. Nice goal against Greece though, Josh!
Here is how the Northern Irish travel blogs qualified for the Top 12 list:
– The writer of the blog has to come from Northern Ireland or have spent the last 12 months living there.
– The writer of the blog has to be regularly updating their content.
– The writer of the blog has to be travelling around the world currently (or has extensively travelled the world and is still writing about it).
– The website has to be an actual ‘blog’ (i.e. no travel, flight, tour operator sites count, even if they are owned and run by a Northern Irish person abroad).
– Each Northern Irish travel blogger can only have one website on the list.
These are in no particular order, here’s the top 15 Norn Iron travel blogs for 2016:
1.Chasing Penelope by Damien McGuigan
In November 2015, I met up with Damien McGuigan in Belfast City. We had a few pints of Guinness and travel chat in Katy Daly’s Bar. Damien has been busy earning and saving for his big South America trip and continues to write passionately about his journeys on the curiously titled “Chasing Penelope”.
2.My Feet are Meant to Roam by Els Mahieu
Els is a Northern Irish based travel blogger who is the first ever non-native Northern Irish person to feature in this series. Hailing from Belgium, Els caught my eye with her excellent stories of travelling and working in Northern Ireland and further afield.
3.Eco Traveller Guide by Linda McCormick
Hailing from Derry, Londonderry, Stroke City, the Maiden City (etcetera), Linda is a founding member of the Professional Travel Bloggers Association and writes passionately about being green and eco friendly on her ventures. Linda spends most of her time in the land down under these days.
4.Geriatric Traveller by Maura Ward
Maura Ward from Kilkeel continues to travel the globe. I spied some photos of Maura backpacking through Tunisia and Algeria last year – pretty epic stuff given that Maura is older than some of the others on the list. Although with a wanderlust like that you wouldn’t know it.
5.Helen Moat Site by Helen Moat
Helen would probably win the award for the best published author on the list from Northern Ireland. She does some crazy cycling journeys and has written for Wanderlust and Bradt Guides recently.
Egli rocks the joint more than the others on the list. He’s the hippy, random, Tokyo-based Ulsterman with a quirky niche of stories “normal travellers” wouldn’t dream of writing about. I met up with Justin a few times in the past year and he also featured my Austenasia lunacy on his website. If there were male awards for gold and silver in travel blogging Ulstermen, Justin and I would have snapped them up before the ceremony even began.
7.Jude Malone Creative by Jude Malone
I can’t avoid this quirky pun again, but Hey Jude has taken some sad things and made them better with her creativity. I’ve yet to meet Jude in person, maybe this year sometime!
8.Life in a Rucksack by Abbi Morrison
Coleraine lady Abbi continues to go travelling, mostly on side trips away from work these days as she has now relocated to Europe. I met up with Abbi in Christiania and England during 2015 for drinks and chat.
10.Live Less Ordinary by Allan Wilson
Allan Wilson from Bangor seems to have diverted away from his normal niche this year as I noticed he was backpacking through Eastern Europe with FanFan his wife. But his Bangkok and Thailand travel stuff is the sh*t that any tourist to Thailand needs to read up on.
** 11. ENTRANT DELETED DUE TO STALKING MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY AND SAYING THAT LYING IS DOING NOTHING WRONG **
12.The Whole World is a Playground by Elaine McArdle
Northern Irish lady Elaine McArdle blogs with her other half Dave as they travel in bursts away from Ireland. Recent stories including trips to Copenhagen and Rio de Janeiro as they continue to ride on slides, roundabouts and rollercoasters in their self penned “the whole world is a playground” blog.
13.Web ‘n’ Words by Julie McNamee
Julie is one of the most experienced travel writers on the list, she runs her own company, Web n Words and has enjoyed success in travel writing, SEO, copywriting and business blogging for manys a year.
14.Walk the Masar by Leon McCarron
Quite simply, Leon’s journey is epic. A crazy off the wall adventure walking in the Middle East! Leon has his own travel writing stories of course but this journey, which began in December 2015, he’w with his mate Dave Cornthwaite dandering from Jerusalem overland, with the aim of walking 1000 miles through the Middle East, circumnavigating the Dead Sea. The journey is in progress now (March 2016) and their aim is to dander that there masar (‘path’ in Arabic) collecting stories of what they find; meeting the people that live along our route and immersing themselves in the awe-inspiring landscapes.
15.Don’t Stop Living by Jonny Blair
You didn’t think I left myself off my own top 15 Northern Irish travel blogs list now did ye?! Jonny’s highlights of the year undoubtedly were visiting countries nobody has heard of, successfully backpacking through Podjistan, Adammia, Austenasia, Karakalpakstan , Ladonia, Lagoan Isles, Christiania, Uzupis, Gorno Badakhshan as well as mental trips to Bournemouth, Pripyat and the Faroe Islands. On the itinerary this year for the Don’t Stop Living wordsmith are returns to France and Austria for some football. Features on football shows and a UTV George Best documentary in Northern Ireland were also great moments for Jonny in 2015-2016.
So that’s it folks for 2016. Thanks to all those from Northern Ireland on the list who travelled, blogged and entertained us all in the last 12 months. If you know of any other Northern Irish travel blogs (or travel related) that are not on the list and that fit the criteria, please drop me a line and we’ll try and feature you in 2017:
jonny at dontstopliving dot net
Until next year, keep er lit yousens. I’m gettin frostbit here so I am so I’m looking forward to watching La La Lafferty bulge the Polish net in Nice this summer. Keep flying the fleg!