Dungannon is a pleasant enough market town halfway between Cookstown and Armagh, worth a brief stop in passing if you want to do a spot of shopping. Killymaddy Tourist Information Centre (8776 7259; www.flavouroftyrone.com; 190 Ballygawley Rd; 9am-5pm Mon-Fri, 10am-4pm Sat & Sun) is at a caravan site 10km west of Dungannon on the A4 road towards Enniskillen.
As a major port for ferries from Scotland, Larne (Lutharna) is one of Northern Ireland's main gateways. However, with its concrete overpasses and the huge chimneys of Ballylumford power station opposite the harbour, poor old Larne is a little lacking in the charm department. After a visit to the excellent tourist information centre, there's no real reason to linger.
The peace process has had a more visible effect on rural, staunchly Republican South Armagh than anywhere else in Northern Ireland. With the Republic only a few miles away, South Armagh saw cross-border attacks and bombings. For more than 30 years, British soldiers on foot patrol in village streets and the constant clatter of army helicopters were part of everyday life.
The southwestern fringes of Belfast extend as far as Lisburn (Lios na gCearrbhach), 12km southwest of the city centre. Like Belfast, Lisburn grew rich on the proceeds of the linen industry in the 18th and 19th centuries. This history is celebrated in the excellent Irish Linen Centre & Lisburn Museum, housed in the fine 17th-century Market House.
Carnlough is an attractive little town with a pretty harbour and a historic hotel. Many of the buildings, made of local limestone, were commissioned by the marquess of Londonderry in 1854. The limestone quarries were in use until the early 1960s – the white stone bridge across the main street once carried a railway line that brought stone down to the harbour.
The twin draws of this stretch of coast are the sprawling Downhill Demesne and sweeping surf beach below. From Downhill, the scenic Bishop's Road climbs steeply up through a ravine and heads over the hills to Limavady. There are spectacular views over Lough Foyle, Donegal and the Sperrin Mountains from the Gortmore picnic area, and from the cliff top at Binevenagh Lake.