County Down Accommodation:
Annalong
Ballywalter
Banbridge
Bangor
Castlewellan
Comber
Crawfordsburn
Donaghadee
Downpatrick
Dromore
Hillsborough
Holywood
Kilkeel
Killyleagh
Millisle
Moira
Newcastle
Newry
Newtownards
Rostrevor

County Down

Mountains of Mourne

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Lough Neagh Lough Neagh

Information

Population: 516,000
Area: 2,448 sq km
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Food Legends:Folk Customs:
Haunted Britain:
The Ghost Foretells
Cultural Britain:
C.S. Lewis and Northern Ireland
Lore & legend:
Natural Britain:
Ards Peninsula
Holywood Hills
Lough Neagh
Mountains of Mourne
River Bann
Slieve Donard
Strangford Lough

Events

May
International Carriage Driving Festival

June
Castleward Opera Summer Season
Fleadh Amhran Agus Rince
Holywood Jazz & Blues Festival

August
Hillsborough Guinness Oyster Festival
International Maiden of the Mourne Festival

September
Aspects Literature Festival
Hillsborough Guinness Oyster Festival

November
Northern Ireland Festival of Racing

Featured Destination

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County Down - 49 places to stay

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County Down should be given the label of the most inspirational county in Ireland. Not only is it known as the birthplace of the Brontë family, but its varied landscapes - low moody hills, craggy, wild mountains and turbulent riverscapes, provide the most alluring and intoxicating mix for photographers, writers, artists and dreamers alike. It’s also a pretty good place to just relax, take in some great sights and sample Celtic charm at its very best.

The countryside between Banbridge and Rathfriland was home to the father and close relatives of the famous Brontë novelists, Charlotte, Emily and Anne, so the ruins of the cottage at Emdale, where Patrick Brontë was born are a must for literary fans, as is the hilltop parish church and school at Drumballyroney, where he taught.

The granite Mourne Mountains to the South are renowned for their extreme beauty, so keen mountaineers will definitely want to give Slieve Donard a go - at 848 metres it’s the highest peak in the Mournes and the highest in Northern Ireland. Second to that is Slieve Croob, at 532 metres, the source of the River Lagan. If your sights are set slightly lower to the ground, you can lose time exploring all the quaint fishing villages at the foot of these impressive peaks - Annalong, Ballymartin, Kilkeel (the main fishing port of County Down), are amongst those worth visiting.

Lecale Peninsula is the little-visited region between Downpatrick and the sea coast. Here you’ll find fishing port of Ardglass which is home to seven small castles. If castles are your interest, then you must also take a trip to Strangford, a lovely village where the car ferry crosses the narrow sea channel - there are no fewer than five small castles within a few miles of the village; Strangford, Old Castle Ward, Audley's, Walshestown and Kilclief - all well preserved and great to walk around. Strangford Lough is better known as the Piccadilly Circus for birds (with the odd guest appearance by basking sharks as well!) so ‘twitchers’ get your binoculars at the ready. On the shores of Strangford Lough in Portaferry, you’ll find Northern Ireland Aquarium which kids will love. Also near Downpatrick you’ll find Inch Abbey, a Norman foundation beautifully situated on the edge of the Quoile River.

If you’re searching for creative inspiration yourself, you might want to take a room at The Old Inn in Crawfordsburn which is one of Ireland's oldest hostelries, which holds records dating back to 1614. Concentrate hard enough and you might be able to pick up the right vibe from one of its previous guests. They include Jonathan Swift, Dick Turpin, Peter the Great, Lord Tennyson, Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, and C. S. Lewis, who honeymooned there. Alternatively you could wander round Tollymore and Castlewellan Forest Parks or The National Arboretum at Castlewellan which is one of the best in the British Isles.

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Brit Quote:
The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you can see. - Winston Churchill
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On this day:
Welsh Independence Dies with Llywelyn - 1282, James II Abdicates - 1688, End of the IRA Balcombe Street siege - 1975, Buncefield Oil Blaze - 2005
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