Glenveagh boasts several well-signposted walking trails, suitable for all levels of fitness, and even a shuttle bus from the visitors centre to the castle if you are feeling particularly lazy! No matter which route you choose, you will be amazed by the beautiful views of mountains, lakes and glens that await you at every turn. The park is home to a huge variety of wildlife, including the largest herd of red deer in Ireland, and if you’re very lucky you may even spot one of the famous Golden eagles, which were reintroduced to the area in the year 2000, having previously been extinct in Ireland.
Scrabo tower was built in 1857 and is situated at the top of Scrabo Hill, just outside of Newtownards. It is approximately a 10-minute walk from the Scrabo Car Park. The tower overlooks Strangford Lough and the whole of the Ards Peninsula. From the top, you have views of the Ulster Flying Club runways and on a good day Scotland can be visible. The Tower itself hosts an exhibition, kids’ activities and a video on the history of the Tower.
In the south east of Ireland standing alone among the rocks lies one of the oldest functional lighthouses in the world today. Hook Lighthouse is on the hook peninsula on the south coast of county Wexford and has been alerting sea fares to the dangers of the coast line for an incredible 800 years. Originally built by renowned Knight William Marshal, Hook Lighthouse has a long tradition in all things maritime from the original build, to the monk’s settlement through to the high times of sea trade in the eighteenth and nineteenth centauries the hook is well worth a visit. I took the family for a day out and this is what we discovered.
Driving into the small market town of Boyle off the main Dublin to Sligo road you can’t avoid the magnificent eye-catching arches of Boyle Abbey. This beautifully ornate stone structure was built by an order of monks called the Cistercians in 1161. The gatehouse now hosts a visitors centreand guided tours are available and highly recommended. Without the tour you will miss out on much of this fascinating history of the Abbey. Building work progressed on the Abbey up until about 1218. Now this meant that the Abbey incorporated two distinct architectural styles from this period. Consequently, the Abbey has both Romanesque as well as the later Gothic styles of arches. Just over two hours from Dublin by car Boyle...
Once you've gotten those steps in, it's always lovely to stop by the tea room in the main house. They have a beautiful courtyard with seats out the front that are exactly what you need after your walk. If it's something more substantial you're after, then there's a lovely country house called Springfort Hall that's a 5 minute drive away.It's a family run hotel and the owners take great pride in it.You can choose between bar food and a formal dinner, with most food sourced from local suppliers. The flourless chocolate brownie is to die for!