Categories: adventurefamilyFunOutdoorsHistoryGeology

The Mourne Mountains, Ring of Gullion and Strangford Lough have just gained official Geopark accredition, so if you're looking for a unique and fascinating outdoor experience in Northern Ireland, look no further than here. This geopark is a designated UNESCO site that showcases the geological wonders of the region, as well as its rich history and culture.

Mourne Gullion Strangford Geopark 

The geopark covers a vast area, including the Mourne Mountains, the Ring of Gullion, and the Strangford Lough areas. Each of these regions offer a unique experience for visitors. The Mourne Mountains are a popular destination for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, while the Ring of Gullion is known for its ancient sites and natural beauty. The Strangford Lough is a stunning estuary that is home to a variety of wildlife.

One of the highlights of the geopark is the opportunity to explore the region's geological history. The Mourne Mountains are home to some of the oldest rocks in Ireland, dating back over 400 million years. The Ring of Gullion is known for its unique geological features and ancient ring dyke. The Strangford Lough is a great place to learn about the impact of glaciation on the region.

In addition to its geological wonders, the geopark is also home to a rich cultural heritage. The Mourne Mountains are steeped in history, folklore and storytelling. The Ring of Gullion is known for its ancient sites and is also home to a variety of traditional crafts, such as woodturning, lacemaking and weaving.  It has a strong ethos of traditional music and singing. Strangford Lough is home to a variety of historic sites, including many castles and abbeys.

A must-visit destination

Overall, the Mourne Gullion Strangford Geopark is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the natural and cultural history of Northern Ireland. Whether you're a hiker, a history buff, or just looking for a unique outdoor experience, this geopark has something for everyone.  

How to plan your trip to the Mourne Gullion Strangford Geopark 

Planning ahead can make your visit to our region that little bit easier. We can give you the best advice, maps, and guides to help you get the most out of your trip so sign up for our free newsletter here.  

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.

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!

Celtic Pendant Woodturning Experience
Craft Workshops and courses
Woman starts imprinting on her handmade wooden pendant

Expert woodturner and storyteller Padraig Carragher is ready to welcome you to his private woodland forest for an exciting and memorable experience teaching you the ways of an ancient Irish craft.

Dancing at the Crossroads
Cultural Learning Experiences
Dancers at Denvir's

Stamp, Clap and Dance your way into the Centuries-old tradition of Irish Dance in ancient Downpatrick. Join Josephine Brennan King, elite former Principal Dancer, and Dance Captain from “Lord of the Dance” for a full immersion into the story and tradition of Irish dance at Denvir’s Inn.

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.

Central Mournes
Walking & Hiking
Central Mournes

A circular route in the central Mournes taking in sites such as Annalong Wood, Slievelamagan, Ben Crom Reservoir, Cove Mountain and Annalong Valley, with views over the Irish Sea and to the Isle of Man.

Strangford Lough
Nature and Wildlife
Brent Geese flying over Strangford Lough with Mournes on horizon

Strangford Lough  is located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is almost fully enclosed by land. It is the largest sea water inlet in Ireland and the United Kingdom and an important habitat for wildlife.  A regular car ferry links the picturesque towns of Strangford and Portaferry.  Strangford Lough is a significant asset in the Aspiring UNESCO global Geopark.   The Lough was formed at the end of the last ice age. Strangford Lough is Northern Ireland's first Marine Conservation Zone and is a special area of conservation for wildlife. Strangford Lough is a key destination for winter migration for many wading and sea birds.  The lough is home to common seals, basking sharks and brent geese.

Ring of Gullion
Landscape/View
Group on lane looking over Ring of Gullion mountains

Slieve Gullion Forest Park is in the heart of the Ring of Gullion. The Ring of Gullion is a unique geological landform – unparalleled elsewhere in Ireland or the UK – and was the first ring dyke in the world to be geologically mapped. The ring of low, rugged hills forms a ‘rampart’ around the heather-clad Slieve Gullion.

Ceili & Craic in the Mournes - Hilltown
Live Music
Ceili & Craic in the Mournes, group of people in bar seated at a table

Break into ceili culture with this delightful, guided tour. Discover our musical heritage in the Mournes with storyteller and singer Sinead and traditional musicians.