Categories: adventurefamilyFunOutdoorsHistory

It's that time of year when it's good to get out, get some fresh air around you and explore the Mourne Mountains & Ring of Gullion and all its natural beauty. Whether you want to visit a forest park, hike a mountain or do an activity, our region is abundant in outdoor happenings.  There is plenty to see and do and lots for you to participate in to ensure a memorable experience.

Castlewellan Forest Park, with the famous Peace Maze, gardens and trails surround the beautiful lake in the heart of the park.  It offers exciting water activities with Life Adventure Centre.  It’s a superb destination for you and a group of your friends or family.

Make a trip to the famous Narnia Trail in Kilbroney park which provides plenty of selfie opportunities.  Or climb up to The Cloughmore Stone which sits 1000ft above Rostrevor, surrounded with stunning views over Carlingford Lough.

Visit Delamont Country Park, Killyleagh, a great place for taking in nature, walking by the lovely Strangford Lough and allowing the kids to play in the Adventure Playground while you enjoy the ambiance and organise the picnic.

The picturesque Slieve Gullion Forest Park, located in the Ring of Gullion, has plenty to see on the forest trails and the scenic drive. There is so much for the kids to explore, follow Fionn’s Giant Adventure where you will hear enticing stories of the Giant! Don't forget to check out the action packed Adventure Playpark.

There are plenty of walks in this area that that aren’t in forest parks. Some are even free or have a small admission charge.

The Granite Trail in Newcastle, offers the opportunity to see artifacts from the once booming granite industry. Walk along the mountain exploring the woodlands, streams and rivers. There is no charge for the car park in Donard Park, Newcastle.

Discover the gardens and walkways in Montalto Estate Ballynahinch, choose from the alpine garden, winter garden, formal garden or lost garden walks.  There is always a bloom throughout every season of the year.

Soak up the outstanding beauty at The Silent Valley Reservoir. Explore the various walking trails up in this mountain park and enjoy the history, peacefulness and unique landscapes of this special place.


Hiking, Bushcraft & Foraging

If you want to perfect your survival skills this Great Outdoors Month, we have a superb selection of events and hikes for you to check out. Bushcraft is an essential skill to learn for the adventurers out there, you never know what you might encounter, so be prepared.

The Finnebrogue Woods Bushcraft is the perfect environment for learning Bushcraft. You’ll be taught fundamental survival skills and campcraft, how to build a shelter and how to make a fire. They also provide Finnebrogue Wild Food and Foraging in which you will be safely guided through identifying and collecting seasonal wild edibles of greens and learning how to cook the meals on fire pits.

After taking part in bushcraft why not get your hiking gear, test your stamina and your survival expertise.  Show off your knowledge, camping and hiking skills in the Mourne Moutains and Ring of Gullion.

Navigate the Ring of Gullion Way discovering a space of rare natural history. Home to ancient burial chambers that date back to 3500 BC. Come and experience the great history and views.

If you are on a budget grab your map, hiking boots and coat and take on Slieve Donard, Commedagh and Bearnagh yourself or with a group of friends. Test your navigation skills, but be sure to stay safe and leave no trace!  If that's a bit daunting book a guide.

Have you ever been looking up a cliffside on your hike and thought, I’d like to try climbing that? Try your hand at rock climbing. Your instructor will teach you how to tackle the beginner jitters and make the ascend up the cliffside, how exhilarating!

Learn the dos and don’ts of foraging at Foraging in the Foothills. Gain the knowledge of how to identify various weeds and plants, have some snacks and walk along Slieve Gullion's foot learning the craft.

Falcon Outdoors offer you the opportunity to learn with qualified instructors, earn an outdoor skill or perhaps even participate in a multi-day expedition!


Golf

If golf is your passion, you won’t be disappointed in The Mourne Mountains and Ring of Gullion Area.  We cater for beginners through to professionals and boast one of the top ten golf courses in the World, Royal County Down.  Use your golf pass to book three rounds of golf in this magnicent region.


Outdoor Fun.

In The Mourne Mountains & Ring of Gullion there are so many choices in our region for splendid events and lots of activities in which nature reigns supreme. So let us tell you how to enjoy every moment.

Saint Patrick's Way, Camino and Canoe Adventure is a guided walk with the added bonus of canoeing the Quoile Pondage to Inch Abbey, how fun!

Cloughmor Adventures is that place that has it all, from water activities, mountain biking, mountain walking, archery and much more, the best reason to visit during outdoors month!

Animal lovers, we have the greatest event for you - the Alpaca Beach Treks.  Take one of the cute Alpacas for a leisurely stroll down country lanes, enjoying the stunning views of Cranfield beach.

If a clifftop walk excites you then the Ballyhornan Coastal Path must be explored and there's no better way of doing it than joining a Legends of Lecale Peninsula walk.

On the wonderful Castleward Estate, Strangford we have Clearsky Adventure Centre who can provide a family, fun filled day out or weekend stay. Have a shot at canoeing, climbing, abseiling, kayaking, cycling, mountain biking with plenty more to choose from.

If you would like to be rewarded with a craft beer and some nibbles after a cycle through one of Northern Ireland’s most beautiful regions, with the added luxury of electric bikes, then the Bike Mournes & Ales Tour is the ideal day out for you.

For thrill seekers out there who fancy something more extreme the Rostrevor Mountain Bike Trails Red Route offers some challenging mountain biking where efforts are rewarded with incredible coastal views and exhilarating single-track descents.

Our region is rich in lakes for fishing, enjoy "Go Fishing Day" in June and head out to Camlough Lake which is well stocked with small to medium pike, bream, roach and perch.

If you are looking for a fabulous day out check out the Carlingford Lough Cruises departing from Greencastle, Co Down.  Choose your cruise and enjoy the spectacular views of the Mourne Mountains and much more while enjoying music, snacks and beverages.


We do also have plenty for you to plan and look forward to and enjoy in the upcoming months.  In the summer the children and toddlers will be excited to visit Tropicana Outdoor Heated Fun Pool, perfect for a sunny day out in NewcastleCastle Park also features swan pedalos, crazy golf and paddle go-karts.  

Keep up to date with our Giant Adventures there is a full programme of events to keep you entertained all year round.

The great outdoors in Mourne, Gullion and Strangford is waiting for you to explore.  What are you waiting for?

Castlewellan Forest Park
Forest Parks
View of the Annesley Walk in Castlewellan Forest Park

Located on Forest Park View, Castlewellan, County Down, in a dramatic setting of mountains and sea, Castlewellan Forest Park has one of the most outstanding tree and shrub collections in Europe. The beauty, vigour and perfect shape of the trees in the National Arboretum attract tree enthusiasts from around the world.

Life Adventure Centre
Activity Centre
Paddling boarding on Castlewellan Lake

Epic adventures are on offer all year round at Life Adventure Centre. Their extensive range of activities include mountain biking, stand-up paddleboarding, wet bouldering, rock climbing, sit on top kayaking, coasteering, electric biking and open canoeing - something for everyone!

Kilbroney Park
Forest Parks
Kilbroney Park

Kilbroney Park Forest features riverside walks and an arboretum. There is a two-mile forest drive which showcases panoramic views over Carlingford Lough. There is also a Play Park with children's play area and tennis courts, an Information area and a café all on site.

Delamont Country Park
Public Park
Child climbing and another on a slide in the play park, at Delamont Country Park.

Situated on the shores of Strangford Lough in an area of outstanding natural beauty, Delamont Country Park, Killyleagh offers peace, beauty and tranquillity. The stunning views across Strangford Lough and the relaxing atmosphere make Delamont Country Park a place to enjoy that 'away from it all feeling'. It is home of the Strangford Stone - the tallest megalith in Ireland. This beautiful 200-acre Country Park offers a great day out for visitors of all ages. Whether you are a keen walker, a nature lover or simply looking for a great day out for all the family you will find plenty to entertain you in Delamont Country Park.

Fionn's Giant Adventure at Slieve Gullion Forest Park
Walking
A family reading a sign at the entrance to Fionn's Giant Adventure  at Slieve Gullion Forest Park.

Follow Fionn's Giant Adventure (previously known as the Giant's Lair) at Slieve Gullion Forest Park. Follow the trail, there's so much to explore. Seek out fairies, spells, music and more.  Help is at hand as you'll have fairies and warriors to help you follow the trail.

Montalto Estate
Historic Sites, Houses, Castles & Buildings
Picture of Montalto House, Montalto Lake and Boathouse all within Montalto Estate in Ballynahinch.

Montalto Estate in Ballynahinch is a mystical and enchanting estate, set in magnificent natural surroundings. Visitor experience includes access to the estate's beautiful gardens; historic walks and trails and an exciting play area where children can engage, explore and learn.

Silent Valley Mountain Park
Lake / Reservoir
Image of Silent Valley

The Silent Valley Reservoir was built to gather water from the Mourne Mountains and is the main water supply source for most of County Down and a large part of Belfast. The famous Mourne Wall was constructed to enclose the reservoir's catchment area.

Finnebrogue Woods Bushcraft
Craft Workshops and courses
Finnebrogue Woods Bushcraft

Step into the wild with an expert bushman. Do you have the skills to survive in the wild? Do you know what’s good to eat in the woods and how to find it? It’s time to find out. Join one of Finnebrogue’s bushcraft or foraging experiences and put yourself back in touch with nature.

Foraging in the Foothills - Mountain Ways Ireland
Guided Tour
Foraging in the Foothills Banner

Brian from Mountain Ways Ireland is a wild food enthusiast and folklorist and have been for all of his life. Tapping into a lifetime love for the outdoors, centuries old tacit knowledge handed down through his family and years of my his research and experimentation, Brian will guide you on a foraging journey that reveals the hidden potential in even the most familiar of wild plants, those plants that surround you, the ones you walk past every day whether you live in the countryside, town or city.

Legends of Lecale Peninsula
Sightseeing
Duane with a tour group

Storyteller Duane Fitzsimons’ tours of the Home of Saint Patrick are filled with amazing legends, artefacts, and folklore.

Cranfield Alpacas Experience
Guided Tour
Cranfield Alpacas Experience

Feel the stresses and strains of daily life vanish in the presence of beautiful animals and majestic scenery of the Mourne Mountains.

Men of the Mournes
Historical Tours
Men of the Mournes

Join expert mountain guide Peter Rafferty as he stretches your imagination - and your legs - as you discover the sights and sounds of this special mountain range.