Northern Ireland’s Mourne Mountains have inspired writers, film makers and songwriters and continue to cast a spell on all who go there.
The beautiful Mourne Mountains in County Down have been the dramatic backdrop for Game of Thrones®, the inspiration for C.S. Lewis’s Narnia and the stuff of poets’ musings.
There are many ways to enjoy the Mournes’ stunning landscape – scale its highest peaks, ramble in its foothills or bike the Mourne Loop.
And there are also lots of thrilling adventures to experience and people to meet along the way.
One of the best and most enjoyable ways to explore the mountains is in the company of a guide who knows them inside out.
On a Walk the Mournes hike, Peter Rafferty will explain the geology, flora and fauna of the mountains, recount stories of the men who built the 22-mile-long Mourne Wall and of the smugglers who transported goods via the high mountain trails.
For mountain bike enthusiasts, the Mournes offer the perfect playground. Head to Life Adventure Centre for a guided mountain bike experience, available on traditional or electric bikes to suit every ability.
Game of Thrones® fans will love the walking tour of filming locations in gorgeous Tollymore Forest nestled at the foot of the Mournes.
Wrapped in Stark woollen cloaks, participants will visit the spot where the opening scene was filmed when Rangers of the Night’s Watch find dismembered bodies in the snow, the location of Tyrion and Jon’s campfire on their way north to The Wall and the bridge where the Starks find a dead direwolf and her pups.
A different kind of walk can be enjoyed at Cranfield Alpacas, situated near beautiful Carlingford Lough with splendid views of the Mourne Mountains. Field or beach walks in the company of gentle alpacas provide the perfect de-stressing experience.
Golfers should not miss playing a round at Royal County Down Golf Club in Newcastle, where the mountains, as the Percy French song says, ‘sweep down to the sea’. Set against the magnificent backdrop of the Mournes, these hallowed links have been voted the number one course in the world by Golf Digest three years in a row and recently picked up the award for Northern Ireland’s Best Golf Course.
If it’s the culinary flavours of County Down that beckon, sign up for a Northern Ireland Food Tour. These bespoke tours visit artisan producers in the area uncovering the local ingredients and stories behind their success. Leading the tours is Tracey, who also runs traditional Irish bread-making classes in her farmhouse in Killinchy.
However you wish to enjoy the Mournes – climbing, biking or simply admiring from afar – you will find they embody the giant spirit of Northern Ireland and never cease to inspire.