A bucket isn’t big enough, but we’ll give it a try

You could spend a lifetime discovering the treasures of our region, and of course the people who are lucky enough to live and work here do just that every day. There is so much to enjoy and see in this wee corner of the world that it can be really tough to choose. We thought we might make it a little easier for you with a few must-see and must-do experiences for you while you’re here.

All aboard the alpaca trail

Cranfield Alpacas  offer visitors a new and really lovely way of taking in the stunning views around Carlingford Lough and the Mourne and Cooley Mountains while spending time with their eleven alpacas. Whether you choose the two-hour Alpaca Beach Trek Experience or the shorter Alpaca Field Walk Experience, you will find out more about these majestic animals while guiding them and getting to know them.

Walkers always welcome

Walkers and hikers will want to make sure they join Peter Rafferty on his Men of the Mournes tour. Over the course of around five hours, you’ll have plenty of time to take in the sights, stories and sounds of the enchanting Mourne Mountains in the company of a man who knows these hills like the back of his hand.

Garden heaven

Gardening buffs should make a beeline for the Montalto Estate Gardens. The Nature and Wildlife Half Day tour is guided be Head Gardener, Peter, and Estate Ranger, Wilson. As well as giving you insights into the gardens and recent planting decisions, your guides will tell you more about the mysteries of the Orchard, the wonders of the famous Winter Garden and the story behind the reintroduction of the native red squirrel. That is followed by a fantastic two-course lunch in the beautiful Georgian house.

Freewheeling eating and drinking

If you prefer the idea of seeing the mountains from the comfort of your saddle then the Trails & Ales Experience is an excellent fully guided cycling tour along some great trails in Castlewellan Forest Park . Not only will you find out so much about the locality and its intriguing heritage, but  you’ll get some fabulous views across dozens of peaks with the added bonus of some tasty local beers.

Cook your catch

Those with aspirations of wowing in the kitchen will enjoy the Catch to Cook Experience at the Mourne Seafood Cookery School. Located near the fishing port of Kilkeel many courses focus on seafood and its preparation. Classes run for about three hours in a very relaxed manner.

Discover and dine

NI Food Tours is a great way of getting to see and taste a little bit of everything in the heart of our region. Local Tour Guide Tracey has an in-depth knowledge of where to find great local producers and on your Deep into the Mournes tour you’ll get the chance to make your own soda bread, harvest and eat your own oysters, find out how a cider brewery works and eat at local award-winning restaurants where everything is fresh and local.

From grain to glass and beyond

Bernard and Kerry Sloan began the story of the Whitewater Brewing Company in 1996 when they started brewing beer in the shed. They've moved on quite a bit since those humble beginnings and they are only too happy to tell visitors all about it on a tour of their fifth-generation family farm in the heart of the Mourne Mountains. Their two-hour Grain to Glass Plate Tour has all the right ingredients - great food, good craic and some of the finest beers in the world. Recently they opened the Tap Room the best place to relax with friends  and enjoy a quality pint with some homemade beer-dough pizza. 

Distilled to thrill

If beer is not your tipple then the Killowen Distillery is not too far away. This distillery makes its very own seasonal gin from locally foraged botanicals and its flavour is really quite something. This is Northern Ireland’s smallest distillery, but you’ll find one of the biggest welcomes here! You can find out more about their poitín and whiskey-making on a tour of the distillery. 

A different kind of spirit

Ann Ward runs her meditation and mindfulness retreats at Xhale in the heart of the Ring of Gullion. With over twenty years of meditation and mindfulness experience, Ann knows a thing or two about creating immersive mindfulness experiences. Her weekend retreats focus on meditation and the landscape and after you’ve spent a weekend here on a Sound of Silence Retreat you’ll understand why people keep returning. 

Follow St Patrick’s footsteps

You can continue your path to enlightenment and follow in the footsteps of the island’s patron saint on the guided St Patrick’s Pilgrim Walk Downpatrick. With the help of two Adoration Sisters turned pilgrim guides, Martina Purdy and Elaine Kelly, you’ll explore the stunning countryside around Downpatrick and visit important sites in the saint’s story.  The tour can be completed in a day or done as two half-day trips. Either way, it’s well worth it.

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.

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.

Mourne Seafood Cookery School
Cookery School
Mourne Seafood Cookery School

The state of the art Mourne Seafood Cookery School offers a range of cookery courses and demonstrations on local seafood.

Whitewater Brewery Tours and Tap Room
Brewery/Distillery Tour
Whitewater Brewery Tours and Tap Room

Join us for a look around our brewery, see how we make some of our award winning brews, then head back to the Tap House where you can try some ales and hear some tales.

Xhale Mindfulness
Health & Wellbeing
Four attendees to Xhale Mindfulness meditating in the forest.

Ann inherited her great love of the landscape from her mother, who was born on Slieve Gullion Mountain. She has practiced meditation for over 20 years & delivers immersive, mindfulness experiences, courses & retreats using meditation &the landscape.

The Saint Patrick Centre
Visitor Centres & Museums
The Saint Patrick Centre

The Saint Patrick Centre is the only permanent exhibition in the World about Ireland’s Patron Saint. The History of Ireland starts here in Patrick’s words, which guide you through our amazing multimedia exhibition. Located 2 Hours north of Dublin and 35 minutes south of Belfast beside Saint Patrick’s Grave with a fantastic Craft Store and incredible Garden Cafe. This needs to be your first stop in Ireland.