In my last Trekking NI Article, I talked about my adventures on the Skellig Islands, located in Co. Kerry on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. This time I decided to stay closer to my home environment of the Mournes and explore the coastline.
I was born and raised in Co. Down. I feel extremely lucky to have grown up in this part of the world as I got to experience both land and sea, from the mountains themselves to the coastline and what it had to offer. I particularly love the spectacular beaches of this area.
In this article, I will take you on a journey and share with you my top three beaches of the Mournes. I chose this topic because I feel people have forgotten how important and how appealing these beaches are. I selected these beaches to be in my top three as they each have something different which attracts people to them.
1. Murlough Beach
I chose this beach to be at the top of my list because it is a special place in the Mournes, in my opinion. You get breath-taking views of Slieve Donard from here, along with the sound of the rushing Irish Sea waves.
What makes Murlough stand out for me among the other beaches in the Mourne area is the fact that it is a National Nature Reserve and owned by The National Trust. These two factors put together means Murlough is a protected area, not just for the beach and the sea, but for the animals and the plants that live and grow here.
I believe this is excellent in the long-term for the health and wellbeing of the site, as litter or rubbish is never left on the beach, protecting the Irish sea and the wildlife that may inhabit the beach or surrounding area. This is future-thinking as we need to protect our coastlines and the animals that live there, because leaving litter behind can cause them to lose their lives. Remember, we share the planet with other living things!
2. Cranfield Beach
There was no doubt or question about it, Cranfield Beach automatically took the second place on my list. From its historical lighthouse to the photogenic landscape that surrounds the area, it’s an amazing coastal spot.
Growing up, Cranfield was one of my favourite locations in the Mournes. What appealed to and intrigued me the most was the mighty lighthouse called The Haulbowline Lighthouse. It was built in the 19th Century and is still an icon of the Cranfield Beach area today.
As a photographer, it is one my favourite places to photograph still to this day, as you get a real sense of calmness while taking in views of the sea and the surrounding area.
Cranfield is outside the town of Kilkeel and is located on Carlingford Lough, across which you can see Co. Louth.
During the summer months, Cranfield Beach is known to become a spot for tourists as there are several caravan sites nearby. Therefore, the beach is usually busiest during the summer months but becomes quiet during the rest of the year. However you decide to visit Cranfield Beach, remember to relax and enjoy the views. Take your camera, capture some shots of the waves, and enjoy the views of what Carlingford Lough has to offer.
3. Warrenpoint Beach
So far, we explored a beach that is about future-thinking and discovered a beach that’s known for its historical lighthouse. Now our journey takes us 15 – 20 mins south of the town of Kilkeel to Warrenpoint Beach.
This beach is all about creating a fun environment for the generations growing up in the town and the surrounding area as it hosts a number of different water sports, including banana boating, jet skiing and kayaking. Therefore, this place is for now and the future, a place where people can come together and create memories.
Cranfield and Warrenpoint Beach are both set on the edge of Carlingford Lough. The lough reaches from south of Co. Down to the North of Co. Louth, so no matter where you are in Carlingford Lough, you will be able to experience both counties.
Standing on Warrenpoint Beach, you will witness the town of Omeath in Co. Louth across the Lough. This area is full of breath-taking views both from the Mourne Mountains and the Cooley Mountains across the water in Co. Louth.
Now that our journey is at an end, it’s time to get out and experience what we learned about these three incredibly different beaches, all right on your doorstep in the Mournes. Go ahead enjoy and get snapping those views!
Some helpful advice
Remember to always take your rubbish home with you – think of our waters and the animals that may pass by these locations. Take a camera or use your phone to capture some beautiful views and memories you will remember forever. If it’s a hot day, please be careful. Take water, a snack and of course sun-cream to avoid getting burned.
Other than that, I hope you can one day explore these locations!
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