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How much do you know about ‘Norn Iron’?

Northern Ireland, lovingly known as ‘Norn Iron’ to locals, is famous for many things. Have a crack at our quiz and find out!

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government



1. What is the dish ‘champ’ made from?

Champ is made by combining mashed potatoes and chopped spring onions (known as scallions in Northern Ireland) with butter and milk, and optionally, salt and pepper. It is simple and inexpensive to produce. In some areas, the dish is also called ‘poundies’.

2. What is the name of the giant credited with the formation of the Giant’s Causeway and the Isle of Man?

Finn McCool was a mythical hunter-warrior. Legend has it that he built the Giant’s Causeway as stepping-stones to Scotland, so as not to get his feet wet. He also once scooped up part of Ireland to fling it at a rival, but it missed and landed in the Irish Sea — the clump became the Isle of Man and the pebble became Rockall, the void became Lough Neagh.

3. Which HBO drama, featuring the characters Cersei Lannister, Davos Seaworth and Sansa Stark, has its primary filming location in Northern Ireland?

‘Game of Thrones’ is an American fantasy drama television series created for HBO by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. It is an adaptation of ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’, George R. R. Martin’s series of fantasy novels, the first of which is entitled ‘A Game of Thrones’. It is filmed in a Belfast studio and on location elsewhere in Northern Ireland, Malta, Scotland, Croatia, Iceland, the United States, Spain and Morocco.

The primary location for filming is the Paint Hall Studios in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Exterior scenes in Northern Ireland were filmed at Sandy Brae in the Mourne Mountains (standing in for Vaes Dothrak), Castle Ward (Winterfell), Saintfield Estates (the Winterfell Godswood), Tollymore Forest (outdoor scenes), Cairncastle (the execution site), Magheramorne quarry (Castle Black) and at Shane’s Castle (the tourney grounds).

4. Which Northern Ireland golf course will host the 2019 British Open?

Royal Portrush Golf Club is a 36-hole private golf club in County Antrim.

The Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush is considered to be one of the best courses in the world. It was ranked at number 4 by Golf World in their list of “The 100 greatest courses in the British Isles” in November 1996. Golf Magazine ranked it at number 12 in their list of the Top 100 Courses in the World, and Golf Digest ranked it as the fourth best course outside the United States in 2007.

5. Northern Ireland turned pink for which major cycling event, that began on 9 May 2014?

The Giro d’Italia is one of the world’s most prestigious sporting events, being one of the European cycling calendar’s three Grand Tours, along with the Tour de France and Vuelta a España. Every other year, its opening stages are held outside its home country of Italy. The organisers chose Northern Ireland for the 97th Giro in 2014 because of the magical landscapes, the high quality roads, the iconic architecture of the cities and the warmth and enthusiasm of the people.

6. Which passenger liner, built in Belfast, hit an iceberg on its maiden voyage to New York?

RMS Titanic sank in the North Atlantic Ocean in the early morning of 15 April 1912. A collision with an iceberg caused the ship’s hull plates to buckle inwards along her starboard side. Although Titanic had advanced safety features, there were not enough lifeboats to accommodate all of those aboard. The ship went down with the loss of more than 1,500 passengers and crew, making it one of the deadliest commercial peacetime maritime disasters in modern history.

The wreck of Titanic remains on the seabed, split in two, but since her discovery in 1985, thousands of artefacts have been recovered and put on display at museums around the world. The ship’s memory is kept alive at the Titanic Belfast visitors’ centre, built on the site of the former Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter.

7. Which famous drink is produced at a distillery founded in 1608 in County Antrim?

Bushmills Whiskey is produced at the Old Bushmills Distillery in Bushmills, County Antrim, using water drawn from Saint Columb’s Rill - a tributary of the River Bush. It claims to be the oldest licensed distillery in the world. The distillery is also a popular tourist attraction, with around 120,000 visitors per year.

8. Where are Tayto ‘crisps’ produced?

Tayto crisps are produced at Tayto Castle, a factory located beside Tandragee Castle. The castle is over 500 years old and was originally the home of the O’Hanlon clan, one of the mightiest and most powerful clans in all of Ireland. In 1955, the castle was in need of repair and was bought by a visionary local businessman, Thomas Hutchinson. In 1956, he had the clever idea to make a new potato product, and started making Tayto ‘crisps’, thereby creating one of the world’s best loved brands of snacks.

Cave Hill is a balsatic hill overlooking Belfast that rises to almost 370 metres (1200 ft) above sea level. It is thought to be the inspiration for Jonathan Swift’s ‘Gulliver’s Travels’. Swift imagined that the Cave Hill resembled the shape of a sleeping giant safeguarding the city.

Cave Hill is distinguished by a balsatic outcrop known as Napoleon’s Nose due to its supposed likeness to the profile of the French Emperor Napoleon.

10. Where was the 2013 G8 summit held?

County Fermanagh hosted the 39th G8 summit on 17–18 June 2013, at the Lough Erne Resort, a five-star hotel and golf resort on the shore of Lough Erne. The Lough Erne Resort was Northern Ireland’s Hotel of the Year 2014.

11. Which is the largest lake in the British Isles?

Lough Neagh, with an area of 151 square miles (392 km2), supplies 40% percent of Northern Ireland’s drinking water. It is about 20 miles (30 km) long and 9 miles (15 km) wide.

Eel fishing has been a major industry in Lough Neagh for centuries. European eels make their way from the Sargasso Sea in the Atlantic Ocean, travelling some four thousand miles along the Gulf Stream to the mouth of the River Bann, before making their way into the Lough. They remain there for some ten to fifteen years, maturing, before returning to the Sargasso Sea to spawn. Today, Lough Neagh eel fisheries export their eels to restaurants all over the world.

12. Which lamppost inspired C.S. Lewis’ book ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’?

Campbell College was founded in 1894 thanks to a bequest from Henry James Campbell, who had made his fortune in the linen trade. Famous past pupils include the author C.S. Lewis, journalist and television presenter Gordon Burns, golfer Michael Hoey, Snow Patrol vocalist and guitarist Gary Lightbody and rugby union player Paddy Wallace. There is a gas lamppost on the drive.

Published 13 March 2015