County Down - 74 Attractions You Must Visit

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About County Down

County Down is one of the six counties of Northern Ireland. It covers an area of 961 sq mi and has a population of 531,665. Stretching from the shores of Belfast Lough, out around Strangford Lough, and down into the magnificent Mourne Mountains. You’ll find yourself at home beside castles, beaches, forest parks, stately homes, a Royal Palace and the world's top links golf course.

Types of Attractions in County Down

Activities Around

List of Attractions in County Down

Angus Rock Lighthouse

The Bell Rock Lighthouse, off the coast of Angus, is the world’s oldest surviving sea-washed lighthouse. It was built between 1807 and 1810 by Robert Stevenson on the Bell Rock. The lighthouse operated in tandem with a shore station, the Bell Rock Signal Tower, built in 1813 at the mouth of Arbroath harbour. Today this building houses the Signal Tower Museum, a visitor centre detailing the history of the lighthouse.

Annadorn Dolmen

The Annadorn Dolmen is an imposing dolmen from Down County, more precisely located near Loughinisland. Built on a mound overlooking the Loughinisland Churches, this dolmen is said to date from the Neolithic period, and is today classified as a Historic Monument . To see: it is really worth the detour.

Audleys Castle

Audleys Castle

Iconic Buildings

Old Ruins

Audley's Castle lies in the grounds of the Castle Ward estate, north west of the village of Strangford, in County Down, in Northern Ireland. It is named after its late 16th-century owners, the Audleys, an Anglo-Norman family who held land in the area in the 13th century. It consists of a tower set within a yard which is enclosed by a thin wall, with a simple gate.

Audleystown Court Tomb

Audleystown Court Tomb is an Neolithic dual court tomb located in Ballyculter parish, near the southern shore of Strangford Lough in County Down, Northern Ireland. The tomb was built during the period 3900–3500 BCE. It was first excavated by archaeologist, A.E. Collins in 1952. The Audleystown court tomb has a double courtyard-double burial chamber layout, which is uniqute to Ireland.

Ballynoe Stone Circle

A very large circle of over 50 stones up to 1.8 metres high encloses a space about 35 metres across. It was possibly built as a counterpart to the circle at Swinside in Cumbria. Inside the circle is a long low partly kerbed mound lying east–west. It originally held two burial cists with cremated human remains, one at each end of the mound. The mound has similar (two end burial chambers) features to the Audleystown Court Tomb.

Ben Crom

Ben Crom

1 Day Treks

Mountain Peaks

Ben Crom is a 526 metres mountain in the Mourne Mountains in County Down, Northern Ireland. It is situated beside Ben Crom Reservoir, which is upstream from Silent Valley Reservoir. The mountain is composed of granite. An exposed area on the south west of the mountain shows where the Eocene aplitic granite meets the laccolith top of the older Mesozoic granite ring dike. The summit of the mountain features granite crags which are crossed by basic and feldspar porphyry dikes.

Ben Crom Reservoir

Ben Crom Reservoir

Lake/ River/ Ponds

Ben Crom Reservoir is a reservoir located in the Mourne Mountains near Kilkeel, County Down, Northern Ireland. It was constructed between 1953 and 1957, as the final part of the Mourne scheme to provide water to Belfast which started with the passing of the Belfast Water Act in 1893. From the top of the wall there are wonderful views to Silent Valley, Slievenaglogh Mountain and Ben Crom Mountain. You can then follow a path east to climb to a fine viewpoint over the water.

Binnian Lough

Binnian Lough

Lake/ River/ Ponds

The Blue Lough is situated on the south side of the Mournes and is easily accessed from the Greencastle Port. It is one of the iconic attraction in this area and also there are so many things to see and do here.

Castle Ward

Castle Ward

Iconic Buildings

Old Ruins

Castle Ward is a highly unusual house built in 1762-60 by an unknown architect for Bernard Ward, later 1st Viscount Bangor and his wife. Castle Ward is open to the public and includes 332 hectares (820 acres) of landscaped gardens, a fortified tower house, Victorian laundry, theatre, restaurant, shop, saw mill and a working corn mill. It has a shore on Strangford Lough.

Castlewellan Forest Park

Castlewellan Forest Park

Botanical Gardens

This is one of the most outstanding tree and shrub collections in Europe, located in a dramatic setting of mountains and sea. The garden is a mixture of informal and formal design with terraces, fountains, ornamental gates and flower borders. It was opened to the public in 1967 after the Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture purchased the land from the Annesley family. Features of the park include the National Arboretum, the Peace Maze and Castlewellan Castle.

Castlewellan Lake

Castlewellan Lake

Lake/ River/ Ponds

Cloghy Rocks

Cloghy Rocks

Outdoors - Other

Cloghy Rocks is a wonderful location popular for wildlife watching. As the Strangford Lough tide ebbs, seals haul out to rest on this group of rocks. The nature reserve is a magnet for visitors during the summer months because it is a wonderful vantage point from which to watch one of the largest seal colonies in Ireland. Both Common and Grey seals may be easily viewed. Common seals favour the site for breeding, with pups being born in July.

Clough Castle

Clough Castle

Iconic Buildings

Old Ruins

Clough Castle is an 11th century Anglo-Norman motte-and-bailey castle located in Clough, County Down, Northern Ireland. It consists of a ruined tower house situated on a 7.6 metres high motte. A small crescent-shaped bailey lies next to the south-east of the motte, separated by a 2.1 metres deep ditch. The castle may have been abandoned during the early 14th century before it was rebuilt as a tower house in the 15th century.

Delamont Country Park

A stunning park situated on the shores of Strangford Lough in an area of outstanding natural beauty. This beautiful 200-acre Country Park offers a great day out for visitors of all ages. Whether you are a keen walker, a nature lover or simply looking for a great day out for all the family you will find plenty to entertain you in Delamont Country Park. It is home of the Strangford Stone - the tallest megalith in Ireland.

Donard Forest

Donard Forest lies at the foot of the Mourne Mountains. It has some spectacular views of County Down, including Newcastle, Dundrum Bay, St John's Point and Slieve Croob. The north east section of the forest contains a Heritage Stand of Scots and Corsican pine planted in 1927. A south east section, beside the Glen River, was the former site of Donard Lodge.

Down Arts Centre

Down Arts Centre

Art Centres

Down Arts Centre is the operational base for the arts in Downpatrick and the surrounding area. It produces a busy programme of events all year round, including exhibitions, live theatre and music events and a wide range of classes and workshops for all ages.

Down Cathedral

Down Cathedral

Churches

Old Ruins

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 on the site. Magnificent stain glass windows, box pews and beautiful organ case enhances this interesting building. Souvenir shop and toilet facilities. It is one of two cathedrals in the Diocese of Down and Dromore in the County of Ulster. The cathedral is centre point in Downpatrick.

Down County Museum

This is a special museum, where the rich heritage of County Down is brought to life in fascinating exhibitions, lively events, hands-on activities and award winning education programmesIt has one of the most significant collections of farming artefacts in a local museum in Ireland which will be housed in the new ‘Harvests from Land and Sea’ Gallery. The objects held by the Museum range from large pieces of machinery such as a reaper and binder and a Ferguson tractor, to small hand tools.

Downpatrick and County Down Railway

Downpatrick and County Down Railway

Man-made Structures - Other

The Downpatrick and County Down Railway is a five-foot, three-inch gauge heritage railway in County Down, Northern Ireland. The railway has approximately three miles of track in a triangular-shaped layout, which connects the town of Downpatrick with the historical sites of Inch Abbey to the north and King Magnus’ Grave to the south.It also houses a museum of railway artefacts and rolling stock originating from both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Downpatrick Racecourse

Downpatrick Racecourse

Outdoors - Other

Downpatrick Racecourse is situated one mile away from the historic town of Downpatrick. Racing has been held on the current course for more than 200 years. The first race meeting at Downpatrick was held in 1685. The course now stages only National Hunt racing following the discontinuation of Flat Racing at the track. The feature race at the course is the Ulster National Handicap 'Chase run over a distance of about 3 miles 4 furlongs 110 yards.

Map of attractions in County Down

Comments

For more information about County Down, visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/County_Down