Tuesday 20 February 2018

Heading to the Irish Open? Five things to do in Co Down when you're not watching the golf

Murlough Beach at Newcastle, Co.Down
Murlough Beach at Newcastle, Co.Down

Heading to Co Down for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open? We take a look at the top five things to do when you're not watching the golf

1 Mourne Mountains

The Mourne Mountains are not only one of Ireland's most scenic areas but an adventurer's paradise.

Whether you're after a strenuous ascent of one of the famous summits such as Slieve Donard, Slieve Bearnagh or Slieve Binnian, a gentle stroll along the River Shimna in Tollymore Forest Park, or a ramble around the fascinating volcanic landscape of the Ring of Gullion with its rich pre-historic and Christian heritage, there's sure to be a walk for you.

2 Mountain Biking

The last two years has seen a massive growth in mountain biking in Northern Ireland and in particular, in Co Down. With a mouth-watering 27km red trail and a hair-raising 19km black trail, Rostrevor is believed by many to be the top spot for mountain biking in Ireland. When you add not one but two purpose-built downhill trails to the mix, there's no denying it is a mountain bikers' haven!

3 Murlough and Tyrella Beaches

Northern Ireland is home to some of the most spectacular beaches in Europe, with the naturally stunning formations of the coastline providing long stretches of golden sand and impressive sand dunes.

Tyrella Beach is a small, enclosed beach and dune complex within Dundrum Bay and is situated alongside the Mourne coastal pathway. These stunning waters invite water sport enthusiasts all year round. It's also a safe haven for families and groups - where you can explore some fascinating marine life in the many rock pools.

Murlough National Nature Reserve is a fragile 6,000 year old sand dune system owned by the National Trust and is an excellent area for walking and bird watching due to its spectacular location at the edge of Dundrum Bay and the Mourne Mountains.

4 SOAK Seaweed Baths

SOAK Seaweed Bathhouse Spa is situated in the beautiful Co Down seaside town of Newcastle on the picturesque South Promenade. During your visit to SOAK you will be allocated a private bathroom equipped with a Victorian roll top bath, that will be prepared with hot seawater and seaweed. Seaweed bathing has enriched the lives of the people on this island for more than a century.

5 Mourne Seafood Cookery School

Kilkeel is the "Seafood Capital of the Mountains of Mourne". The Mourne Seafood Cookery School is a state-of-the-art cookery school located in the Nautilus Centre, with panoramic views of Kilkeel harbour. You will find the freshest fish and seafood at the home of Northern Ireland's largest fishing fleet. For those seafood lovers this is an ideal way to learn more about what to look for when buying, handling and cooking seafood. It is aimed to be a fun, relaxed, learning experience.

For more information on the Irish Open including accommodation offers, golf in Northern Ireland and ticket information, visit www.discovernorthernireland.com/irish-open-2015 or Callsave 1850 230 230 #2015irishopen

Irish Independent

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