Hidden Gems of South Ulster you haven’t heard about…

Waterfall in Crawfordsburn Country Park, Co. Down

Located on the southern shores of Belfast Lough, there are two excellent beaches, spectacular scenery, tranquil walks through wooded glens and a stunning waterfall, Crawfordsburn Country Park provides a relaxing natural retreat. Hedgehogs, squirrels and badgers are just some of the animals which make their home in the woodland glen and when walking along the coastal path look out for seals frolicking in the waves.

Mourne Mountains, Co. Down

The Mourne Mountains are a granite mountain range in County Down. It includes the highest mountains in Northern Ireland and the province of Ulster. The highest of these is Slieve Donard at 850 metres (2,790 ft). The Mournes is an area of outstanding natural beauty and has been proposed as the first national park in Northern Ireland. The area is partly owned by the National Trust and sees a large number of visitors every year.

St. Patrick’s grave, Co. Down

Saint Patrick's Grave

Down Cathedral is a Church of Ireland cathedral. It stands on the site of a Benedictine Monastery, built in 1183. Saint Patrick’s remains are buried in the graveyard. Magnificent stain glass windows, box pews and beautiful organ case enhances this interesting building.

Silent Valley and Ben Crom, Co. Down

An easy family walk in landscaped parkland with spectacular mountain backdrop. There is a restaurant and information close to the dam wall. The walk is steep in places. Walkers can walk another 3 miles up to Ben Crom reservoir and return (another 3 miles) on the same route back to Silent Valley recervoir. A regualr bus service operates in the summer season to Ben Crom.

Beaghmore Stone Circles, Co. Tyrone

Discovered during peat cutting in the 1940s the site at Beaghmore consists of 7 stone circles. All of the rings are associated with cairns and a stone row runs towards these cairns.  It is possible that Neolithic occupation and cultivation preceded the erection of burial cairns and ceremonial circles and alignments: some irregular lines and heaps of boulders resembling field-fences or field-clearance may predate the ritual structures. At some stage peat started to form over the site, and it may conceivably be that the cairns and rows were erected in a futile propitiatory attempt to restore fertility to the soil by attracting back the fading sun.

Enniskillen Castle, Co. Fermanagh

Enniskillen Castle, situated beside the River Erne in County Fermanagh, was built almost 600 years ago by the ruling Gaelic Maguires. Guarding one of the few passes into Ulster, it has been strategically important throughout its history. Today, the historic site houses two museums, Fermanagh County Museum and The Inniskillings Museum.

Devenish Island, Co. Fermanagh

Iconic place in the beautiful lake county that is Fermanagh. It contains one of the finest monastic sites in Ireland. A round tower thought to date from the 12th century is situated on the island, as are the walls of the Oratory of Saint Molaise who established the monastery in the 6th century, on a pilgrim route to Croagh Patrick in County Mayo. It became a centre of scholarship and although raided by Vikings in 837 and burned in 1157, it later flourished as the site of the parish church and St Mary’s Augustinian Priory.

Dún na Rí Forest Park, Co. Cavan

Dun-a-Ri-Forest-Park-Kingscourt

Voted Cavan’s No.1 tourist attraction on tripadvisor. The 565 acre Dún na Rí Forest Park is just outside Kingscourt along the banks of the River Cabra and features a dramatic gorge embracing part of the Cabra Estate, formerly owned by the Pratt family. The Romantic Glen of the Cabra River, stretching the full length of the park is an area steeped in history and legend. It is said that Cuchulain camped there at night, while by day conducting his single handed defence of Ulster against the armies of Maeve. The Normans were here also and in later years the glen echoed to the sounds of Cromwells armies.

Castle Leslie Estate, Co. Monaghan

CastleLeslieSummer2006

Castle Leslie Estate, home to an Irish branch of Clan Leslie and located on the 4 km², Castle Leslie is both the name of a historic Country House and 1,000-acre Estate adjacent to the village of Glaslough, 11 km (7 mi) north-east of Monaghan town in County Monaghan, Republic of Ireland.