The towns and villages of Mourne country are exciting destinations in their own right, also good bases for discovering the magic of the mountains. Popular resort Newcastle, where Slieve Donard really does 'sweep down to the sea' offers family fun, plus the bonus of mountains and championship golf (Royal County Down
) on your doorstep.
Nearby Bryansford and Tollymore are centres for outdoor adventure - from the sublime to the extreme. There is pony-trekking, bouldering, canoeing, abseiling, hillwalking and even Ireland's only mountainboarding facility! Both Tollymore and Castlewellan have outstanding forest parks. Silent Valley, inland from restored harbour hamlet, Annalong, is another gem. Big plans are afoot for the Mourne area - soon to be designated a National Park.
Round the rocky coast, past busy fishing port Kilkeel, to Victorian Rostrevor. Its park begins as manicured lawns, but as you climb it becomes an arboretum, river walk and finally a mountain trail offering views across Carlingford Lough. Blue Flag Cranfield Beach is also nearby.
Located in the Gap of the North, Newry is an excellent shopping city and the Newry and Mourne Museum is also well worth a visit.