Mourne Mountains, County Down.

Discover more inspiring escapades.


Accommodation

Check into the beautifully luxurious 4* Slieve Donard Resort & Spa, nestled in the heart of County Down where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea. With rooms of panoramic views across the Irish Sea, excellent spa facilities and world-famous Royal County Golf Club  it’s the perfect base to get away from it all and unwind and even better, it's less than 2 hours from Dublin and around an hour from Belfast.

Another good base for exploring is the Canal Court Hotel and Spa in Newry, situated on the banks of the canal and less than an hour and a half from Dublin or around an hour from Belfast.

Day 1 -  Down
Morning

Breathe in the fresh mountain air and experience the majestic Mountains of Mourne , inspiration for C.S Lewis' Narnia.  With spectacular and varied panoramas the mountains are a natural playground that entices all types of walker.  Inspiration for the Percy French song, these mountains that sweep down to the sea, provide the perfect challenge for hillwalkers.  The uppermost peak, Slieve Donard, measures 853 metres.  For a more leisurely stroll soak up the tranquillity surrounding the liquid amphitheatre that is Silent Valley or Ben Crom with their tranquil parkland, lakes and ponds.

If you prefer to enjoy the view of the Mournes in a more tranquil environment, then base yourself at the luxurious Slieve Donard Hotel and Spa in Newcastle.  With floor to ceiling windows overlooking the beach and mountains, the hotel's swimming pool or jacuzzi offers spectacular views.

For lunch visit the charming Hugh McCann’s pub, a traditional Irish bar in Newcastle renowned for serving fantastic hearty food and traditional Irish music.

Afternoon

Take an electric bike tour of Tollymore Forest Park and see why it made the perfect backdrop for lots of Game of Thrones® scenes.

Pay a visit to Castle Ward, home of Game of Thrones® Winterfell.  This 18th century mansion overlooks Strangford Lough, provides glorious walk and cycle trails, has a sunken four-tier Victorian garden and is the perfect place to explore Game of Thrones Territory.  Call into the on-site tea rooms for freshly baked scones during your visit.  

On the shores of Strangford Lough is Mount Stewart, where you will find one of the top ten gardens in the world to visit.  Five exquisite gardens provide the perfect backdrop for a leisurely stroll.  Or explore the great house itself.

For dinner, along the Mourne Coastal Route in the picturesque fishing village of Dundrum, at the foot of the Mourne Mountains is Mourne Seafood Bar. It serves fresh seafood from local ports and includes oysters, mussels and cockles cultivated in the restaurants own shellfish beds all at an affordable price.

Alternatively, try Brunel's in Newcastle.  Named after the world's most famous engineer and known for constructing its own impressive dishes.  

Finish off with a nightcap in The Percy French, a lovely spot with friendly locals or sample local craft gin in The Anchor Bar.

Day 2 - Armagh
Morning

Immerse yourself in the area by visiting Slieve Gullion, Armagh's highest peak measuring around 573 metres with its ancient heritage and folklore.

Explore the fascinating ecclesiastical capital that is Armagh City. Follow the trail of St. Patrick and visit the two imposing Cathedrals – St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Cathedral and St.Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral. Both are well worth a visit from the amazing interiors to their ornate architecture.

Close by is Armagh Robinson Library, a museum holding rare and exquisite books. No.5 Vicars Hill, a short distance away displays beautiful artefacts from the library’s collections.

Or give yourself a craft and culinary treat at Bloomvale House, a beautifully restored thatched linen barn and outhouses, and the home of Ballydougan Pottery. View the potters at work, take time to meander through the historic gift shop and pop into the restaurant for a spot of leisurely lunch in the restaurant.

Afternoon

Discover more of the city’s interesting architecture with a visit to Armagh Observatory and following onto the spectacular 3-D StarDome, Armagh Planetarium, a show not to be missed for science buffs and star gazers alike. (Pre-booking is advised).

A few miles out of the city is the legendary Emain Macha, Navan Centre & Fort. Spend the afternoon exploring this ancient archaeological sites. From its interactive exhibition area, audio-visuals and guided tours you will learn about its fascinating history and meet its celtic characters.

Or pay a visit to The Palace Demesne Public Park with 70 acres of beautiful parkland.

Known as the Orchard County, due to the volume of apples in its orchards, make sure and sample some local cider when in Armagh.

Step into cosy Clenaghans restaurant in Craigavon, an old stone building with roaring fires which offers home-grown ingredients such as Caledon Estate venison tartare on their menu.

We hope you enjoy these suggestions.  Let us know your favourites! #discoverni

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