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6 Free Things to do in Carlingford this Winter

There is no place like Carlingford but when the sun ain’t shining, people fear that there is nothing to do or see in Carlingford but they are wrong! We have put together a list of fun things to do in Carlingford this Autumn and Winter season for FREE.  At a recent community think tank, we discussed the reasons people come to Carlingford. One that always stands out is, of course, the location of Carlingford and the Cooley Peninsula, a spot of outstanding natural beauty.

However, it is not just what you can see when you get here. There are the smells, the sounds, the feeling and the people that provide a place with its artistry and charm. While we recommend you visit for a few days and enjoy some fine food, culture and fun activities, there is a lot to do in our little town. Check them out…

1. Take a drive

Take a spin, this is perfect if the weather isn’t just as sunny as it should be.

Have you ever been to a place where things go backwards?

Less than a 15 minute drive from Carlingford you’ll find a place known locally as Magic Hill. There is a section of road that goes downhill and if you stop the car at the bottom and release the brake, the car will roll backwards up the hill! It needs to be seen to be believed.

To help you on your way; As you leave Dundalk, take the R173 to Carlingford. Halfway along you will spot a Texaco Petrol Station. Take the first left after this, where you’ll see a sign for McCrystals Food Store and signs for the Táin Trail and Oriel Trail. Follow the road around and past McCrystals until you reach a T-Junction. Turn right and immediately left on the other side, again following signs for the Táin and Oriel Trails. Follow the road straight to the brow of the hill, go down into a dip and stop immediately next to the big mushroom.

Have fun!

2. Bird Watching

Bird watching is not just for bird enthusiasts. It can be a relaxing and enjoyable pastime for anyone. Carlingford has beaches and mudflats with mountains and woods nearby. Buzzard, Raven and Dipper are found on the Carlingford Mountains, while the forests on Slieve Foye support Jay, Crossbill, Long-eared Owl,Woodcock and Grasshopper Warbler. You can bird watch from many locations if the weather is poor and even from the conmfort of your vehicle

From the pier at Carlingford in Winter, scan the bay for Grebes, Divers and Scaup. Rarities have included Black-throated and White-billed Divers and Slavonian Grebe. Continue past the Carlingford Sailing Club, back to the main road scanning for water birds. Harbour seals lounge on the rocks, and Whimbrel and Common Sandpiper occur on passage.

Continue on to a small inlet, Shilties Lough, and from the smaller road, look for Lapwing,Teal,Wigeon, Kingfisher and Yellowhammer. Greenore Port is excellent for Black Guillemots in Spring and for terns, which nest on nearby Green Island. Ballagan Point is good for seawatching (Long-tailed Skua have been seen). At Whitestown beach, Mediterranean Gulls and White Wagtails are regular and Sand Martins nest in the sand-cliffs.

You can download a guide to birdwatching for carlingford.

3. A Cycle Along The Greenway

Enjoy a cycle along our brilliant Greenway, if you have your own bikes then great it’s free but if not we have lots of rental companies in Carlingford to cater to your needs including electric bikes. The great thing about the Greenway is that the Carlingford Marina offers a great spot where you can warm up with a hot cuppa or drink.

Book online or on the day with…

E-Bikes and EscapeHQ Bike Rental


On Yer Bike

4. Let the Walking do the Talking!

Fancy a Walk? Well then you’re in luck.

Carlingford is going to spoil you with an abundance of strolling or hiking options. There are lots of maps available for varying abilities or you can keep walking along the signposted routes until your heart is content. Pop into our office for n array of maps and advice.

The routes guide you through the village and up the mountainside of Slieve Foy. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a leprechaun!

Don’t forget that no matter which route you decide to take, always ensure to you have a good pair of trekking shoes, raingear, keep hydrated and have a mobile phone. We recommend a flask of hot tea 🙂 It is always advised that you make somebody aware where you are going and when you plan to return.

Take the family on a trek. There are many mountain trails, for big kids challenge them to climb to the top of the highest mountain in Louth and don’t forget to bring the sandwiches for the top. Educate little ones with an abundance of nature along the trails from sheep, horses, bugs to the wild heather, bog cotton and waterfalls.

5. Crafty Carlingford

There is a wealth of talent in Carlingford, including textile art, wood-turning, printing, vintage spoon jewellery, visual art, fused glass, handknits, polymer clay craft, preserves, scented soy candles, hand-stitched bags, gift cards, and much more besides. There are a plenty of shops offering great products from locals artists and craftspeople.

Carlingford Craft, The Craft Barn and the Garrett Mallon Design House are among some of the top spots for searching for locally produced merchandise. Look out for the big shopping night in December which allows for unique discounts across the entire village.

6. Explore the History of Carlingford

Carlingford really has some incredible history to share and behold. The history and stories of Carlingford span right through the ages of Celtic myths and Legends. Carlingford has some of the finest examples of architecture from the medieval period, with Castles and Merchant houses located throughout the town. Each of the locations is adorned with a plaque explaining a brief history of the landmark.

You can also use our website to help find the locations and read the accompanying history.

Carlingford has many castles and historical sites. Explore the periphery of King John’s Castle. Create tales to entertain kids of Thosel Arch, The Dominican Priory and the Carlingford Mint. See how many castles you can count in the village. Locate the Famine village along the Barnavave Loop. Visit the ruins of the church of Cill Mhuire and graveyard situated at Templetown.

The Carlingford Heritage Centre situated in the middle of the village will have an abundance of historical knowledge, a great way to educate the kids and yourself on those days where it is far too cold to brave the elements 😀

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