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48 hours in Carlingford

Updated: Jun 29, 2021

Whether you're on a hen or stag party or a family friendly weekend, Carlingford has got something for everyone but you'll need stamina!

On a recent pit stop with my partner John and his 8 year old son James to the medieval coastal town.

The Celtic Myths and Fairytales of your childhood, including the legend of Queen Meave, The Brown Bull of Cooley and Cuchulain were all based in the magical Cooley Peninsula.

The minute you get here you feel like you are slap bang in the middle of a fairytale.

2pm: Check into the Four Seasons Hotel

This family friendly hotel is perfectly located for your whistle stop tour of the majestic Cooley Peninisula

Only minutes walk from the heritage town, The Four season's lies in the heart of the village.

Although specialising in weddings the property is perfect for families.

When we arrived we took a quick dip in the stunning 18 metre pool.

The amenities also include a sauna, steam room, jacuzzi and for fitness fanatics there's a great gym.

3pm: Late Lunch in Liberty Cafe

Situated in the very centre of the beautiful medieval town, we enjoyed home made chicken and pesto sambo's and a warm welcome from hubby and wife team Stephen and Yvonne Ross.

If you have a sweet tooth try the home made rhubarb pie, Yvonne's mam has guarded the family recipe for decades and she supplies the home baked delights for this quirky cafe, where everything is made from scratch.

4pm : Leprechaun Whisperer

Kevin Woods or McCoillte is Ireland's last leprechaun whisperer.

His tour will melt even the steeliest of hearts, and it only takes an hour.

When we arrived at Kevin's cavern, he presented the kids with their own personalised leprechauns and told us to sit on these rocks (fairy stones).

He began with his tale in 1989 when a leprechaun suit, bones and gold coins were found on Carlingford mountain in Co Louth Ireland.

Sceptical as anyone Kevin organised a leprechaun hunt that year to try and catch one but none were found.

In 2002 he found the gold coins in a stone wall on Ghan Road which enabled him to speak with "Carraig" the elder of the 236 surviving leprechauns.

By 2009 they were afforded protection by the E.U. under the European Habitats Directive.

He wowed us with tales of the spirit world and deciphered whether any of us would be able to inherit his great gift.

The kids were astounded and to be honest the adults came away as believers too.

Daniel O'Donnell and his wife Majella stopped by Kevin's Cavern recently, it's a must see attraction and will leave you mistified.

5.30 pm - Get on yer Bike and discover the Green Way

The perfect way to see Carlingford is to hire a bike and it gets the kids excited about sight seeing.

We hired ours from Ma Bakers slap bang in the middle of the town.

The Cooley Peninsula is the ideal place to discover the outdoors, the Greenway between Carlingford and Omeath is a fantastic 6.2K walking or cycling path taking you from Carlingford to Omeath.

The track follows the old DN&G railway line between the Carlingford Marina and Griers Quay continuing on to the quaint village of Omeath.

As we cycled past Carlingford Lough the views were simply to die for and you'll find yourself hopping off your bike getting snap happy for those family photo golden moments.

8.00 pm - Oysters at the Carlingford Arms

After our adventurous afternoon and energetic cycle it was time for some grub.

Sharon McGuigan runs this long established pub, situated in the heart of the town.

Known to the locals as the hostess with the mostess, Sharon's family run bar is renowned as the place to go in Carlingford.

Open seven days a week, the seafood served here is freshly caught every day and they've the best seafood chowder too.

We opted for the Carlingford Arms famous Oysters and a pint of guinness.

Kids are welcome too and Sharon's kids menu is excellent and her home made deserts are simply delicious.

After your evening meal you can enjoy a nice bit of Trad music or a cocktail and a bit of Karaoke up in the new Carlingford Arms cocktail bar.

Perfect for those quiet hen nights!

Little James soldering his very own unique pendant at Garrett Mallon's Carlingford Design house

9.00am - Make your own Pendant

After a cosy night's sleep at the Four Seasons and a fabulous hearty breakfast it was time for some creative activities.

Goldsmith Garrett Mallon owns Carlingford Design House and holds classes in his workshop so you can make your very own special silver pendant.

With over 25 years experience in the jewellery business Garrett is also a really patient teacher.

It's such a memorable activity to make jewellery with your loved ones and Garrett tells us what's proving really popular these days is a couple opting to make their wedding rings together.

The finished product, a one off silver pendant.

Garrett set us up in his work shop attached to his gorgeous Design House and we made our very own silver pendants from start to finish.

First up you take a soldering board, use a marker to draw your shape, then use a sharp pin to pick out your perfect tear drop.

Next we placed lots of silver pieces into our shapes and used a blow torch to melt down the pieces (this was the most exhilarating part watching the precious metal change colour like a rainbow).

You then need to file your precious stone at the back so your have a nice flat surface to carve an intital.

Garrett did the next bit as it was tricky, involving dropping our creations in acid, then cleaning our silver up with a magnetic contraption, then a hole needs to be drilled in your pendent and then you get to stamp an initial on the back.

There is so much involved but the result is fabulous.

10.30am - Carlingford Adventure Centre and Skypark

After leaving with our jewels it was time for the piece de resistance of our trip, Skypark.

Only open a year it's a an obstacle zip line adventure park in the Sky.

From zip lines, rock climbing towers, suspension bridges, Tarzan swings, tightropes, rope bridges, cargo nets, base jumps and tree houses, you and your family will have hours of fun navigating the course.

If you have 3 hours you can complete the entire course and our instructor Matt spent precious time going through every single safety aspect, so we felt really safe.

I must admit I felt a little bit like Bridget Jones tackling the zip line.

Terrified but loving the Skypark!

Of course my partner's son James is 8 and he had no fear at all and looked like Tarzan zipping around the place.

The archery was heaps of fun for adults and kids.

James learning archery with Carlingford Adventure Centre Instructor Matt

Then it was onto the body zorbing, we got strapped into a giant plastic ball and we were rolled down the hill.

It feels like a cross between a roller coaster and a bumper car!

Not scary at all!

12.30pm - Lunch at Ruby Ellen's Tea Rooms

After all that activity it was time for a nice afternoon tea at Ruby Ellen's. Family run would you believe Donna who's sister Sharon runs the Carlingford Arms is the manager of the tea rooms.

Quaint and tasty everything is home made and what's so lovely about it is three generations work here, it's a family affair.

1.15 pm - Laser Tag and Ziptopia

After our nice light bite at the Tearooms we finished off our 24 hours on a high.

Instructor Matt collected us in his jeep and brought us deept into the forest.

It was lashing rain at this point but we were not deterred.

Soaring through the air on a load of Zip Wires suspended above a quarry overlooking the beautiful Carlingford Lough was the highlight of the trip.

James was dead keen on playing laser tag and so we joined in with a another group and we felt like drowned rats but it was the best 24 hours in along time despite the exhaustion

2pm - Home

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