Days out with your Dog
Enjoy your break to Northern Ireland with your four-legged friend.
Whether you are interested in a leisurely stroll around the edge of a lake, a refreshing walk along the coastline or a more adventurous hike through a stunning forest park, there are plenty of options to suit everyone.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Enjoy a stroll along the Lagan Towpath as the mist hovers just above Belfast's main river. The towpath starts in Stranmillis, just minutes away from Belfast City Centre and sets off along the river and canal systems through a variety of wetlands, riverside meadows and mixed woodland. After passing through Lagan Meadows and over Shaw's Bridge this section of the towpath finishes at Sir Thomas & Lady Dixon Park, one of Belfast's most popular parks. Or for a more adventurous walk try Divis and Black Mountain which rest in the heart of the Belfast Hills and provides a backdrop to the City's skyline, offering spectacular views across Belfast Lough and as far as Donegal and the coast of England, Scotalnd and Isle of Man.
Some accommodation ideas: After a stroll or hike why not over night in one of the city centre's dog friendly accommodation, why not try Malmaison Hotel or the Hilton.
Want to explore the Glens of Antrim? Then why not take your dog to visit Cranny Falls? The gentle incline of this walk takes the route of an old limestone railway track to the now disused Gortin Quarry. Interpretation panels along the way illustrate the history. It ends at Cranny Waterfall where the moist air is good for plants and insects. Dogs to be kept under the control of their owner. Return the same way.
Some accommodation ideas: Why not check in to The Coach House, Cushendun which is a self catering property. This is where you can start your adventure.
Why not visit Craigavon Lakes with your pooch, where there are a range of walking and cycling paths are set within the Parkland. The route around the two lakes is 3 miles, but there are many more paths besides.
County Down has some great walks - from the iconic Mournes to smaller woodland trails such as Dundrum Castle Woods Trail. The Castle Woods have been an important feature in the landscape above the village of Dundrum for hundreds of years. The woods, surrounding Dundrum Castle, are approximately 7.5 acres in size and were planted between 1820 and 1825 by the Marquis of Downshire, who followed the fashion of the early 19th century demesne planting, with its emphasis on mixtures of native, naturalised trees and exotics. The castle itself dates from the late twelfth century and was a Norman fortress built by John de Courcey. On the summit of a rocky hill it provided a good vantage point for controlling commercial and military traffic along the east coast.
Some accommodation ideas: The Hill Cottage, Downpatrick (self-catering property).
A visit to County Fermanagh is a real treat for any dog or owner. Enjoy lunch in the Boathouse Grill at the Killyhevlin Hotel. After enjoying a hearty lunch why not enjoy a stroll around Florence Court, the house was formerly home to the Cole family, Earls of Enniskillen. It is surrounded by a large area of parkland, garden and woodland, with breath-taking views to Benaughlin and the Cuilcagh Mountains. (If you would like to visit the inside of Florence Court House, there is an area where you can leave your dog and a dog bowl with water is provided.) Or why not enjoy the Florence court Forest Park Yew Tree Walk this trail also passes The Lady's Well but takes its name from the world famous "Florence Court Yew". The return route passes through the gardens of Florence Court House. Another idea may be Castle Archdale which has numerous nature trails, Lough side, woodland walks and cycle trails run throughout this beautiful country park which is located on the shores of lower Lough Erne. Visitors can also explore a butterfly garden, wildflower meadow and deer enclosure and boats are available to hire for those wishing to explore the nearby islands. Pony trekking is also available on site.
Some accommodation ideas: Pure pamper is on the cards at the Killyhevlin Hotel & Health Club (Self-Catering Chalet). Chalet guests can enjoy complimentary use of the Killyhevlin Health Club complete with indoor swimming pool, outdoor hot tub, sauna, steam room, kid’s pool and Techno gym fitness suite.
Why not enjoy the scenic coastline between Portstewart and Portrush. The seascape is an experience not to be missed. As well as the magnificent offshore views, this route also passes by a number of interesting features such as traditional ice houses, stone-built,turf-roofed houses where ice was stored in the winter in order to perserve salmon in the Summer. Or visit Prehen Wood which is one of Northern Ireland's rare and irreplaceable ancient woods and its has a series of numbered waymarks that offer an environmental trails. Or visit Ness Country Park which is in the steep, wooded Glen of the Burntollet River, south-west of Derry City, There is 55 hectares of mixed woodland along with open parkland make up the Park which extends along both sides of the Burntollet River. There are over 7km of stunning woodland and riverside walks including a magnificent waterfall walk. For the less able visitors, there is also a meadow walk which offers easy access walking. Another option is Roe Valley Country Park which is a scenic and tranquil park on the outskirts of Limavady offers spectacular riverside views and woodland walks along with opportunities for salmon and trout fishing, canoeing, rock climbing and orienteering
Some accommodation ideas: After a long day of walking why not spend the night in one of the many Londonderry dog friendly hotels, Derry City Travelodge or Banks of the Faughan.
If you and your pooch want to stretch your legs in Tyrone then why not visit The Park Trail which is set amongst the beautiful backdrop of Dungannon Park - a 70-acre oasis. The walk's interesting paths surround the ground's mature woodland, brightly coloured flowerbeds and the magnificent 13-acre freshwater lake. The high ground offers great view points for the surrounding townland and countryside with views of Lough Neagh on a clear day. Or why not visit Peatlands Park, close to the southern shores of Lough Neagh, was the first of its type in the British Isles and was specifically established to promote and facilitate peatland awareness and issues. The peat here has been forming for about 10,000 years. The site was acquired in 1978 from the IPDC (Irish Peat Development Company) and the Park was officially opened in 1990. Visitors can explore the 265ha (680 acre) site on foot along its many paths and wooden walkways. In fact there are over 16km (10 miles) of paths leading the visitor through the many and varied habitats within the Park.
Some accommodation ideas: Why not check into the Parlour Cottage, Dungannon (self-catering property).
For more Pet-friendly accommodation please check out Pets Welcome Inside and Pets Welcome Outside articles.
*Please note, some locations may have signs to indicate restricted dog access or that you must keep your dog on a lead, so be sure to look out for these or call ahead to check access. Remember to be a responsible dog owner and clean up after your pooch.