Atticall is a small, pretty, village set in the heart of the beautiful Mourne Mountains. Facilities include horse riding, golf at nearby Kilkeel Golf Club, sightseeing, wakling, climbing, a low-budget hostel, community centre and GAA ground. The RC Church is Atticall is new, having been completed in 2011. A deposit of stones is thought to have been left at the end of the Ice Age which runs through Atticall. This is known locally as “Stoney Rigg”. The remains of this can be seen on Slieve Muck.
Annalong, a pretty seaside village resting at the foot of the Mourne Mountains, is a popular fishing and holiday resort.
Harbour and Cornmill
Annalong Harbour is one of Ireland’s most picturesque harbours and boasts a restored Cornmill, both of which have inspired many artists. The water wheel at the Cornmill can be seen in operation during guided tours. Set against a magnificent panorama of the Mountains of Mourne, the Harbour is an excellent base for exploring a varied and unspoilt coastline.
Bloody Bridge derives its name from a massacre in 1641 at the instigation of the Irish Chieftain Sir Conn Magennis. This is a popular starting point for walkers wishing to venture into the Mournes. Bloody Bridge is an excellent point from which to take a break and enjoy the views of coastal plains and the majestic Mournes.
Ballymartin is a small village outside of Kilkeel on the road to Newcastle. It has a local pub where you can hear live traditional music. St Joseph’s Church, which was entirely rebuilt in 1825, is a large impressive church in the centre of the village. There is also a caravan park and coastal walks from where you will get magnificent views of the Mourne Mountains and coastal region.
Hilltown was originally known as the eight-mile bridge – eight miles from the city of Newry. This area was re-named after Lord Hill, a member of the powerful Downshire family and one of the largest land owners in County Down. Hill developed the village in 1766 to provide employment in the linen industry.
Today there are seven public houses on Hilltown’s main street. This is perhaps a legacy from 18th century smugglers who shared out their contraband here, having transported it on ponies from the coast near Newcastle, across the Brandy Pad to the Hare’s Gap.
Lough Island Reavy Reservoir
Lough Island Reavy is a small reservoir built near Kilcoo in 1837. It was originally designed to regulate water levels in the River Bann, after an exceptional drought at the height of Ulster’s linen boom left insufficient water to run the mills in Banbridge. With the advent of electrical power, the number of mills dependent on water dwindled from approximately 30 to 6 by 1960. Today there are no working mills in Banbridge and the reservoir is used solely as a domestic water supply. There is evidence of the existence of a crannog in the flooded valley forming the reservoir.
Two miles from Hilltown, on the B8 Hilltown to Castlewellan Road, is Goward Dolmen. The top stone measures 13ft by 10ft by 5ft and it covers a single chamber.
Killowen is a small village near Rostrevor, on the shore of the scenic Carlingford Lough.
Outdoor Eduation Centre
Using the outdoors, adventurous residential experiences are designed to deliver quality social, personal and educational opportunities which will enhance and compliment the development, awareness and environmental responsibility of young people and their leaders. Contact the centre to discuss particular requirements: target group, type of programme, costings, etc.
Directions: Killowen outdoor education centre is located in the village of Killowen and can be accessed from t he A2 Rostrevor Kilkeel Road.
Tel: (028) 4173 8297 Website: www.selb.org
Situated in the foothills of Slieve Croob, approximately 8 miles north west of Castlewellan, this stone-age ‘tripod dolmen’ is one of the most striking in Ireland. This site offers superb views of the full expanse of the Mourne Mountains.
Finnis Souterrain is known locally as ‘Binder’s Cove’. The word cove is sometimes used locally for a cave.
‘Binder’s Cove’ was probably used as a food store or hiding place during times of strife. In Ireland souterrains are often found inside or in close proximity to a ringfort, however there is no trace of a ringfort here.
Located about 3 miles north west of Leitrim village, this is one of the best places from which to enjoy a panoramic view of the Mournes along with the Cooley Mountains and Slieve Gullion further south. Here can be seen many examples of “lazybeds” which were raised ridges, 2 to 8 feet wide, used for the cultivation of potatoes and other vegetables at a time of great population pressure prior to the great famine of 1845-49.
Across the road from the car park is a small shrine marking the site of an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which reportedly occurred here in 1954.
Leitrim Lodge Car Park. Altataggart (The Hill of the Priest)
In the hills of the townland of Leitrim, parish of Clonduff, is Altataggart mass rock where mass was secretly celebrated during the period of the Penal Laws. Introduced into Ireland from 1695, these laws sought to restrict Catholics and Protestants deserters in favour of the established Church of Ireland. Sites like Altataggart were used across Mourne for religious worship and education for the best part of a century until the Penal Laws began to be repealed in the late 18th century.
Nesting at the foot of the world famous Slieve Donard, Mountains of Mourne, Newcastle is Down’s second largest populated town and its natural attractions draw thousands of visitors annually. Newcastle has been made famous in song by Percy French as the place where ‘the mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea’. Something for everyone, including family activities, historic attractions, walking, water activities, golf, amusement arcades, shops, pubs and restaurants. Newcastle Tourist Information Centre is located on the Promenade.
Tel: (028) 4372 2222
Nearby ‘Maggie’s Leap’ is an impressive chasm cut into the rock by the crashing waves of Dundrum Bay, but unfortunately not accessible from the land.
It is said that a young local girl named Maggie leapt from one side of the chasm to the other as she was being pursued by a suitor (or a soldier, or a bull, or a witch, depending on which version of the tale you care to believe). Maggie was carrying a basket of eggs when she performed the jump, but not one of the eggs was broken.
On 13 January 1843, boats from Newcastle and Lower Mourne set out for the usual fishing stations and were caught in a gale. 76 men perished, 46 of whom were from Newcastle. They left 27 widows, 118 children and 21 dependants. A Public Subscription was raised and cottages were built for the widows and dependants. The cottages are known as Widows Row. A local song about the disaster says “Newcastle town is one long street entirely stripped of men”.
The Granite Trail
Starting from Newcastle Harbour, the Granite Trail leads off to Bogie Hill and up on to King Street. Here sees the start of the old Bogie Line, a cleared strip of forest on a 1 in 3 incline up towards Millstone Mountain Quarry. The mature woods and forest either side of your path are full of interesting flora and fauna with views over the harbour and Dundrum Bay. At the top of Donard Wood and over the stile follow the path past Millstone Mountain Quarry and on to the viewpoint near Thomas’s Mountain Quarry.
There is a car park available at the Harbour.
Open all year round.
Seaforde Gardens and Tropical Butterfly House
Hundreds of free flying tropical butterflies, also parrots, reptiles and insects. Beautiful gardens including a maze with many rare trees and shrubs. Facilities include a gift shop, tea room and children’s playground.
Opening times: Easter-end of Sept, Mon-Sat 10.00am-5.00pm, Sun 1.00-6.00pm.
Price: contact (028) 4481 1225 or check website for prices.
Directions: on the A24 between Ballynahinch and Newcastle.
Tel: (028) 4481 1225 Website: www.seafordegardens.com
Tropicana – Outdoor Fun Pool
Those who enjoy the wet side of life can have fun in Tropicana, Newcastle’s outdoor heated leisure pool with giant waterslide. Tropicana also have a toddlers paddling pool with Nellie the Elephant slide and a friendly crocodile. A crèche for 3 to 5 year olds and summer scheme for 6 to 13 year olds are organised to keep the children entertained.
Opening times: open daily during July and August.
Tel: (028) 4372 5034
Cocos Adventure Playground
Cocos is a large indoor adventure playground. Children under the age of 14 will have fun on the large selection of slides, assault courses, activity tower, cable ride, ball pools and soft play for toddlers.
Tel: (028) 4372 6226
Located on Newcastle’s South Promenade, Soak is Northern Ireland’s premier Seaweed Bath House – indulge yourself in a truly unique, therapeutic, luxurious and fun experience. Booking is advisable.
Tel: (028) 4372 6002 Website: www.soakseaweedbaths.co.uk
Royal Co Down Golf Club
36 Golf Links Road, Newcastle
Two links courses, both 18 holes, 30 miles south of Belfast. Caddies available, meals available.
Best day for visitors:
Course 1 (Championship Course) – Mon, Tues & Fri all day, Thurs am only, Sun limited tee times between 1.00-3.00pm.
Course 2 – weekdays see Website, Sat after 2.00pm.
Directions: follow Dundrum Road into Newcastle. Turn off left onto Railway Street, at mini roundabout turn left down Golf Links Road. Golf Club situated at end of road.
Tel: (028) 4372 3314
Newry was granted city status in 2002 as part of Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee celebrations. Sitting at the entry to the “Gap of the North”, close to the border with the Republic of Ireland, Newry has long been an important centre of trade because of its position between Belfast and Dublin. The River Clanrye, which runs through Newry, forms the historic border between Counties Armagh and Down.
Newry Heritage Trail
The Heritage Trail takes you through the many attractions of the city. The long trail lasts about 1 hour 45 minutes and the short trail approximately 45 minutes. Pick up the Heritage Trail at Newry TIC and explore the history and heritage of Newry.
Castle St, Newry, BT34 2DA
A 16th century fortified house and adjoining 19th century warehouse has been restored to house Newry & Mourne Museum and Newry Tourist Information Centre.
Opening times: Mon-Sat 10.00am-4.30pm, Sun 1.30-4.30pm
Directions: Newry City Centre
Tel: (028) 3031 3170 Website: www.bagenalscastle.com
Newry & Mourne Museum at Bagenal’s Castle
Bagenal’s Castle, Castle St, Newry, BT34 2DA
Opened in 1986, Newry & Mournes diverse collections include material relating to prehistoric, Newry’s Cistercian foundations, Ulster’s Gaelic Order and the relationship with the English Crown, the building of a merchant twin and the first summit level canal in the British Isles, the working life and folk traditions of rural and mountain areas. You can find the history of the Gap of the North, robes of the order of St Patrick and a permanent exhibition on farming, fishing and folklore in the Mournes and South Armagh.
Opening times: Mon-Sat 10.00am-4.30pm, Sun 1.30-4.30pm
Directions: Newry City Centre
Tel: (028) 3031 3182
Buttercrane Shopping Centre
Buttercrane Quay, Newry
Located in the City Centre, is has many of the high street favourites including Dunnes and Primark. 1000 parking spaces on site.
Tel: (028) 3026 4627
The Quays Shopping Centre
Newry, BT35 8QS
Located in the City Centre, is has many of the high street favourites including Debenhams, Sainsburys, Next and River Island. The Quays also contains a 9 screen cinema. 1300 parking spaces on site.
Tel: (028) 3025 6000 Website: www.thequays.co.uk
The Omniplex Cinema in Newry is located within the Quay’s Shopping Complex.
Tel: 0871 720 0400 Website: www.omniplex.ie for listings
143 Belfast Rd, Sheepbridge Inn, Newry, BT34 1QU
Cheeky Monkeys offers an indoor adventure playground for children aged 12 and under.
Opening times: Mon-Sat 11.00am-6.30pm, Sun 12 noon-6.30pm
Directions: from Newry City head towards Belfast on the A1
Tel: (028) 3026 2317/(028) 3026 4453
Bank Parade, Newry
Designed by William Batt and constructed in 1893, it was one of the last works of the old Newry Town Commissioners whose crest dated 1891 can still be seen on the bridge. The style of the building is broadly classical. Reputed rivalry between Counties Armagh and Down over its location led to the Town Hall being built on a three arched bridge astride the Clanrye River, the county boundary. On the bridge is the Russian Trophy, a 19th century cannon captured during the Crimean War. This was given to the town in recognition of the men from Newry who volunteered to fight in the war. The Russian Eagle can be seen on the barrel of the gun.
Tel: (028) 3026 4780
Newry Sports Centre
61 Patrick St, Newry, BT35 8TR
Facilities include a large sports hall, activities hall, squash courts, handball/racquetball court, health/fitness club, treatment room, class studio and large car park.
Opening times: Mon-Fri 9.00am-10.00pm, Sat 10.00am-5.30pm, Sun 2.00-5.30pm.
Tel: (028) 3031 3130
Unit 4, Greenbank Business Centre, Warrenpoint Rd, Newry, BT34 2QX
Formula Karting is home to Europe’s largest indoor track. There are three mind-bending tracks on three levels, with overpasses, tunnels, underpasses, ramps, bridges and banked corners. With top class equipment and purpose-built race karts, this facility provides some of the best motor sport action for days and evening entertainment.
Opening times: Mon-Sat 10.00am-late, Sun 11.00am-late
Directions: from Newry City Centre, head towards Warrenpoint (A2). Greenbank Industrial Estate is on the right-hand side at the roundabout.
Tel: (028) 3026 6220
The Cathedral of St Patrick & St Colman
Hill St, Newry
The most commanding building in Hill St. Built in 1829 of local granite to a cost of £8,000, it was the first Catholic Cathedral opened after the granting of Catholic Emancipation. The tower and transept were added in 1888 and the nave extended in 1904. The interior marble work and mosaics took 5 years to complete.
Opening times: daily 8.30am-5.00pm
Rathfriland is a market village set on a hill between the Mourne Mountains, Slieve Croob and the town of Banbridge. You will find a town square and market house (built circa 1764), and war memorial as well as shops, restaurants and pubs.
Bronte Homeland Interpretative Centre & Trail
A centre dedicated to the life of the Bronte’s. Patrick Bronte, father to Charlotte, Emily and Anne, was born into a farming family in Co Down on 17 March 1777. The name Bronte or Brunty, in various forms, has been associated with this delightful part of Northern Ireland for over 200 years. The area of Co Down which is now known as the Bronte Country lies to the south of Banbridge. Further information available from Banbridge Tourist Information Centre.
Tel: (028) 4062 3322
Rostrevor is situated in the foothills of the Mourne Mountains overlooking Carlingford Lough. It takes its name from the Landlords of 1641, Sir Edward Trevor, whose wife was named Rose, hence the name ‘Rostrevor’. The village itself is in the Parish of Kilbroney – ‘Cill’ (Kil) meaning Church and ‘Broney’ of Bronach – St Bronach is the Patron Saint of these parts.
The Fairy Glen
The Fairy Glen provides a short, easy stroll through beautiful scenery. Starting at the bridge in the village of Rostrevor, follow the Kilbroney River upstream for half a mile.
Opening times: access all year.
The 97 acres which form Kilbroney Park lie close to the shore of Carlingford Lough in the shadow of the forest-clad Slieve Martin. Planted in 1931, mostly with coniferous species, the forest has a breathtaking two mile forest drive providing panoramic views over Carlingford Lough, an old oak plantation dating from the 18th century, the famous 40 tonnes ‘Cloughmore’ or ‘Big Stone’ and a host of animals ranging from grouse and Irish jays to pine martens, red and grey squirrels, foxes and badgers. The park offers a wide range of facilities and services which include tennis courts, children’s play area, café, playing fields and barbeque and picnic areas. A well-serviced caravan and camping site caters for 52 touring vans and 30 tents. Open spaces and pathways in Kilbroney Park allow relaxing strolls and links directly into the forest park where trails lead through oakwoods and planted slopes of sitka spruce, douglas, fir and pine. The Cloughmore car park at the end of the forest drive, 230 metres above sea level, provides views of the surrounding forest and is a good starting point for the three waymarked trails. The trails vary in length from 1.25 miles to 4.5 miles and take the visitor to various areas within the forest to enjoy the many magnificent views and beauty of the woodlands.
Opening times: access all year
Directions: Kilbroney is located in the village of Rostrevor and can be accessed from the A2 Rostrevor/Kilkeel Road.
Tel: (028) 4173 8134
Cloughmore Stone “Big Stone”
A huge boulder left over from the glacial period. Legend has it that this ‘big stone’, located 1000ft above the village of Rostrevor, was thrown there by the Irish Giant Finn McCool during a fight with a Scottish Giant. From Cloughmore Stone panoramic views over Carlingford Lough and the ancient oak plantations can be seen.
This monument was erected in 1826 to honour Major General Robert Ross who fought in both Europe and in America wars of independence. It was also to celebrate a victory over the American forces at Bladensburg. The monument was restored in 2008.
Tel: (028) 4175 2256
Kilbroney Old Graveyard
The graveyard contains the remains of the 12th century church of St Bronach and St Bronach’s well, over which a shrine was built in 1936. There also can be found the grave of Giant Murphy who at 8ft 1in was the tallest man in the world in his day.
Opening times: open daily all year round
East Coast Adventure
Rostrevor House, Lower Knockbarragh Rd, Rostrevor, BT34 3DP
A premium adventure and team building provider, East Coast Adventure has 40 adventure and team building activities, together with food and accommodation facilities.
Tel: (028) 4175 3535 Website: www.eastcoastadventure.com
Warrenpoint is a relatively recent town rising to prominence in the Victorian era as a seaside resort made accessible by the coming of the railways. The town was centred upon the Square and the old town dock. As it grew as a resort town, Warrenpoint was carefully planned with a well laid out network of wide streets, neat Victorian terraces, a public park and a promenade where visitors and those who could not afford gardens could enjoy the open space and sea views.
Burren Heritage Centre
Burren Heritage centre is where you can experience over 5000 years of history in one building. It was a national school built in 1839 and is situated in the picturesque drumin area above Carlingford Lough.
Tel: (028) 4177 3378
The Harbour, Warrenpoint
The Docks, Warrenpoint, BT34 3JR
Regular scheduled services to North England, Rotterdam and Scandinavia mean that Warrenpoint is the ideal centre for onward distribution. Facilities at the port include berthing facilities for mussel boats and recreational crafts in the Town Dock area.
Tel: (028) 4175 2878 Website: www.warrenpointharbour.co.uk
Warrenpoint Golf Course
Lower Dromore Rd, Warrenpoint
18 hole parkland course set in the beautiful backdrop of the Mourne and Cooley Mountains.
Best day for visitors: Mon, Thurs, Fri, Sat
Directions: 6 miles south of Newry
Tel: (028) 4175 3695 Website: www.warrenpointgolf.com
Narrow Water Castle
There has been a keep on the site of Narrow Water since 1212, originally built by Hugh de Lacy, first Earl of Ulster, as part of the Norman fortifications designed to prevent attacks on Newry via the river. The original was destroyed in the 1641 Rebellion. Access can be gained to the castle in July and August. Across the dual carriageway is one of the grandest houses in Ireland, also known as Narrow Water Castle.
The Coronation Stone
Bridal Loanan, Warrenpoint
The stone of destiny, or coronation stone, of the Magennis clan is preserved on its original site. Legend tells how the Magennis clan and all of the sub-clans, who owed allegiance to ‘The Magennis’, would fill the surrounding countryside while the Chieftain of the clan was inaugurated by placing his foot and staff of power into slots in the stone.
Opening times: open daily all year round