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Scenic Drives

Scenic Drives

Strangford Lough and Lecale District. 

The area enclosed by Downpatrick, Strangford, Ardglass and Tyrella is known as the Lecale District, made famous by Van Morrison in his song Coney Island, which, incidentally is a headline between Ardglass and Killough.

Start this tour in Killyleagh where the castle is the last in Ulster to be continually occupied for the past three decades. Just outside Killyleagh on A22 you pass Delamont Country Park, then you are travelling along the banks of the River Quoile before reaching Downpatrick.

A busy town with many places of interest including The Saint Patrick Centre, the Grave of St Patrick next to the Down Cathedral, the County Gaol in Down County Museum and the Downpatrick Race Course. Heading east from Downpatrick and on the other side of the River Quoile you will find Saul where St Patrick built his first church in Ireland.

Around the coast, lies the picture postcard village of Strangford. It has good restaurants and pubs, and a cosy harbour from where the ferry to Portaferry departs on the hour and half-hour. Heading along the coast towards Ardglass look out for a small carpark (2 miles from Strangford) from where you can see the seals basking on the rocks below.

It is 8 miles from Strangford to Ardglass, one of Northern Ireland’s three major fishing ports. Seven castles, a marina and golf course make Ardglass well worth a stop.

3 miles along the coast is the very elegant village of Killough with its charming sycamore lined street. Further along you come to the magnificent, award-winning blue flag beach of Tyrella. 

Mournes Sweep Down to the Sea

One of the most astonishing views of the Mourne Mountains is from Tyrella Beach. From here the Mournes really do look like they are tumbling into the Irish Sea.

Follow winding roads 4 miles through Drumlin country to Clough (good example of Motte and Bailey) then through Dundrum, 3 miles. The sand dunes at Dundrum are among the highest in Europe. This is also home to the famous Dundrum Bay Oysters.

4 miles south and welcome to one of Northern Ireland’s most famous seaside resorts, Newcastle. Great for families, ramblers, rock climbers, water sports enthusiasts and golf fanatics. Enjoy a stroll along Newcastle's award winning Promenade.

This is the start of the Mournes Coastal Scenic Drive which passes Bloody Bridge and Maggies Leap en route to the charming fishing village of Annalong, 7 miles, with its old corn water mill back in action. Continue along the coast a further 5 miles to the bigger fishing port of Kilkeel where Northern Ireland’s biggest trawling fleet is based. Visit the new Nautilus Centre overlooking the harbour.

Skirting the Mournes for 8 miles more you are now on the north shore of beautiful Carlingford Lough. On entering Rostrevor you will pass one of the most ancient woodlands in Ireland, Oak Forest. The town offers boat trips and pleasant waterfront walks.

2 miles west lies Warrenpoint, another fantastic family orientated seaside resort. Look out for Narrow Water Castle which stands guard at the entrance to Newry Canal, the oldest in the British Isles.

8 miles from Warrenpoint, along a sweeping dual carriageway lies the bustling border City of Newry, providing a gateway between north and south. Newry is surrounded by magnificent scenery, mountains and coastline. Steeped in fascinating history and heritage with excellent shopping and leisure facilities, Newry offers a warm welcome. 

Contacts:
 

Downpatrick Visitor Information
The Saint Patrick Centre,
53a Market Street
Downpatrick, BT30 6LZ
T 0 28 4461 2233
F 0 28 4461 2350
E downpatrick.vic@nmandd.org

Newcastle Visitor Information Centre
10-14 Central Promenade,
Newcastle, BT33 0AA
T 0 28 4372 2222
F 0 28 4372 2400
E newcastle.vic@nmandd.org