48 Hours in The Mournes
Getting Up To The Clouds
From the slopes of Slieve Donard, Northern Ireland's highest mountain, the glorious Mourne Mountains are a giant's carpet that really does 'sweep down to the sea'. The Mournes are close and easy to access, under two hours' drive from Dublin, but it's like being transported to another world - a magical, uplifting experience.
Into The Forests
The mystical mountain landscape inspired CS Lewis to create the land of Narnia; explore the follies, grottos and cascades of Tollymore Forest Park and you'll understand why. The Cedar Avenue is magnificent and there are river, lake and forest trails of differing lengths. Walking here is unbelievably rewarding; as it is in Castlewellan Forest Park a mere five miles away, and home to the National Arboretum and Annesley Gardens. It's not just the staggering tree collection, one of Europe's best, but also the dramatic setting of mountains and lake - kids will love the huge Peace Maze. Try a couple of nights' camping here and enjoy the peace and tranquillity. Close to the shores of Carlingford Lough are Rostrevor Forest and Kilbroney Forest Park. Mountain, stream, sea and valley all come together here in a celebration of nature.
Getting In Touch With The Great Outdoors
The beautiful mountains themselves are a glorious area for outdoor activity. Whether it's enjoying something you love, or sampling a new or almost forgotten pastime, there's more than enough options to fill your day. This land of wild, upland and rolling countryside is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty - be sure to leave enough time to enjoy the view!
Mourne Mountains, Climb It... Hike It.
For climbers, there are routes ranging from introductory to challenging - all with views that are a perfect excuse for taking a breather. You can also visit the highest climbing wall in Ireland at Tollymore Mountain Centre. For walkers, the diverse landscape is both challenging and inspiring. In the high mountain heart are the vast tranquil reservoirs of Silent Valley and Ben Crom; they're accessible to all and provide beautiful walking routes. Down in the foothills, the green lanes of the Slieve Croob area really are rugged and unspoilt. Easy terrain or high peaks - it's your choice.
Where the Mountains of Mourne Sweep Down To The Sea
The popular seaside town of Newcastle is the picturesque gateway to the Kingdom of Mourne. A perfect opportunity to indulge yourself in a local SOAK seaweed bath or book a treatment at the luxurious Slieve Donard Resort and Spa. Unwind further with a stroll along Newcastle's new boardwalk promenade. Further along the coast don't forget to stop at Cranfield, near Kilkeel, one of Northern Ireland's many Blue Flag beaches. Visit the internationally important Murlough National Nature Reserve, the first of its kind in Ireland. The magnificently isolated rippling sand dunes and heath are a favourite with birdlife. The vista of the mountains meeting the sea is unbeatable and the beach is one of the best in County Down.
Amongst the wide choice of local golf courses is the famous Royal County Down, one of the world's top ten links. Reclining along Dundrum Bay, it deserves its beautiful and challenging reputation. Other golf courses in the area include Warrenpoint and Kilkeel.