A spectacular 360° bird’s-eye view of Spelga Dam

In a bid to enhance our user’s experience and ability to explore Ireland via our website, we have teamed up with Virtual Visit Tours: a unique platform which offers its users virtual tours of some of Ireland’s most sought-after destinations.

And, where better to get a birds-eye view from than the Spelga Dam in Northern Ireland?

This destination has been a major site of interest for tourists and locals, outdoor adventurers and nature enthusiasts for decades and now you can get an opportunity to explore it without the hassle of travel!


Located in Spelga in County Down, Northern Ireland, this man-made reservoir is utterly enchanting, surrounded by dramatic mountain ranges with far-off stretches of deep blue and wilderness green as far as the eye can see.

Both the reservoir and dam were built as part of a project in 1894 with the intention of supplying water to all of Belfast. The building of Spelga Dam and Reservoir took place between 1953 and 1957.

The design was spearheaded by a local engineering firm, R. Ferguson and S. McIlveen, while the physical construction was undertaken by the recognised British developer, John Laing & Sons.

The building of both Spelga Dam and Reservoir faced some serious challenges during construction that famously slowed down the project. After beginning the project, it became apparent that the dam was sinking into the bedrock, over 130 feet!

The stunning vast expansive of deep blue water has a volume of 2,700,000 cubic metres and a total catchment of 5.4 kilometres ² – just take a look on Virtual Visitor Tours and see for yourself.

Where Is Spelga Dam and Reservoir?

Spelga Dam and Reservoir is located in Newry, County Down in Northern Ireland. Situated on the East Coast of Ireland, Spelga is only an hour from Belfast and not much more than 90minutes by car from Dublin.

Awe-inspiring Irish mountain ranges such as the Mourne Mountains, Slieve Muck and Slieve Bearnagh, are all in the nearby locale offering tonnes of sights when in the area.

Endless views of mountain ranges which flow down from this Spelga Reservoir and Dam (which stands at over 1,200 feet above sea level) to the shoreline add to the magic of this quintessentially “Irish” countryside setting.

Points of interest in the locale can be accessed by car. There is also the Mourne Rambler Bus Service (operated by Translink) which runs a loop from Newcastle around the Mourne Mountains for budding adventurers looking to do a little exploring.

The service runs throughout the balmier months, usually from the start of May to the end of August. Day tickets cost £5.50 for an adult and £2.75 for a child.

Why Visit Spelga Dam and Reservoir

Spelga Dam and Reservoir is a popular destination for those who love a little outdoor adventure. Day-trippers, hikers and hill-walkers, family-groups and locals all looking for a good ole’ leg stretch are seen in abundance around these wild country ways.

The mountains that wind, twist and tower around the Spelga Dam and Reservoir offer fantastic hill-walks, hikes and waterside trails for every level of adventurer including for children. Whether it be winding woodland forest treks or riverside ramblings, the area is bountiful with terrain to explore.

Nearby waterfalls and mountain ascents which offer towering vistas over the countryside with birds eye views down to the sea are also a major draw. Not far from Spelga, the Slieve Donard trail is a popular option for those looking to climb to an impressive vista.

Spelga Dam, Reservoir and the surrounding countryside are also popular with those curious about native flora and fauna as well as those who are interested in bird-watching. Photographers will rejoice in the unspoilt beauty of this landscape (hop onto Virtual Visitor Tours and see for yourself!).

Local legend also has it that the remote road which lies in from the Spelga Dam is a magic road. Visitors can park their cars and watch as their motors unexplainably and miraculously roll up-hill! Don’t believe us? See the many reviews online which praise this unexplained wonder, or better off, try it for yourself!


There is an official on-site car park at Spelga Dam and Reservoir. The rate for a car is £4.50.

In the Summer months, oftentimes a food truck will be parked on-site offering hot plates and refreshments for those looking to relax after a long day of adventure in the surrounding area.

The 360 Virtual Aerial View

Explore the famous dam in the virtual tour box below:

Note: You can click on the “enter full screen” button in the tool bar to bring the image to a full screen.

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