Armagh, a county of gentle hills, is one of the 6 counties that make up the current Northern Ireland. Its northern part has rightfully gained the name of the "Garden of Ulster", being famous for its Bramley apples, garden plants and jam.
The county is particularly attractive for both its history and the legends that originated here, that can be traced back to at least 500 BC, when the Celts were having massive parties at the Palace of Ard Mhacha from which the county draws its name.
The city of Armagh is the place where history meets legend. It was, in prehistoric times, the seat of Ulster Kings. "The Cathedral City", as it is called, has been, since 1152, Ireland's ecclesiastical capital. St. Patrick's cathedral, destroyed in the course of Viking and Norman raids and rebuilt in the 12th century, is the only remnant of medieval Armagh that is still standing. It was from here that Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, spread Christianity throughout the north of the island. But it is here, as well, that the legends of the Fianna and of Cù Chulain (Ireland's version of Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table) originated. The present Church of Ireland Cathedral was built on the site of the original palace of Ard Mhacha.
Other historical attractions for the visitor would be the dolmens (the Ballykeel Dolmen, for example), as well as the Celtic and Christian sites of importance all over the county. The oldest Christian monument in Ireland can be found in Armagh: the Kilnasaggart stone (near Jonesborough), around 1000 years old.
Where both the myth and the natural beauty lovers should meet is the south of the county (which is, in fact, more visited by tourists than the north), at the Ring of Gullion, which is actually a walking trail, but where it is said that one can follows the footsteps of Cù Chulain. Geologically speaking, this is a volcanic region, the volcanic activity having generated breathtaking scenery.
An Ice Age remnant worth mentioning is "The Black Pigs' Dike", as it is called a long sand and gravel ditch that constitutes the natural barrier between northern and southern Ireland. What is striking about it is that it looks man-made, but is in fact the result of the melting process of glaciers.
The northern border of the county is Lough Neagh, the largest lake of Ireland.
A tourist need not be worried about things to do while in vacation in Armagh: for the lovers of traditional music, there are plenty of sessions, especially during the summer, that may occasionally include storytelling by a seanchai, a traditon that has been lost in other parts of the country. Summertime is the season for festivals, that are held all over the county, and the pubs compete with one another in offering events to the locals and visitors. Adventure sports, cycling, horse-riding may keep busy even the most "active" people. Not to mention that one can witness a game of road bowls, or "road bullets", an archaic traditional sport only "practiced" today in Armagh and Cork, that involves throwing a 28oz iron ball along a stretch of road between 2 and 3 miles long.