This post, the second in a series of 32 covering the entire island, offers a few ideas for things to do on a weekend in Country Armagh. The following is just one sample itinerary based on the information in our book Exploring Ireland: a guide to the Irish outdoors, where you will find plenty more details, ideas and inspiration.
WALK Slieve Gullion
Slieve Gullion is the centrepiece of a landscape formed over 50 million years ago when cooling lava left a circular ring of hills with a larger mountain at its centre, known as a ring dyke.
The easiest route up the mountain is the steep 1.2km climb from the Slieve Gullion viewing platform. At the 573m summit you will find a neolithic passage tomb whose entrance is aligned with the setting sun on the winter solstice. A longer 15km walk starts in Slieve Gullion Forest Parkand loops around to the viewing point, climbing to the summit before descending to the north and returning via a road. See walkni.com for details.
EXPLORE Coney Island
This tiny wooded island on Lough Neagh has a long history of human habitation stretching back to the Stone Age. Still visible today are the remains of a 13th-century Norman motte and a 16th-century stone tower. Boat trips run from Kinnego Marina, camping is permitted by advance arrangement with the marina.
Note dogs aren’t allowed due to nesting ground birds.
VISIT Navan Centre and Fort
This ancient ceremonial monument is considered one of Ireland’s most important archaeological sites. It consists of an earth bank and ditch 250m in diameter. At the heart of the enclosure is an earth mound, which archaeologists believe was created when a huge wooden temple was filled with rubble and burnt before being covered in earth. Why they went to so much trouble is still a great mystery.
EAT Yellow Door
This deli restaurant in Portadown specialises in freshly baked breads and scones, soups and delicious tray bakes. They have another deli in Lisburn as well as a café at Hillsborough Castle.
STAY Bluebell Lane
This charming glampsite at the foot of Slieve Gullion has three wooden pods (sleeps 2), a shepherd’s hut (sleeps 3), a safari tent (sleeps 5) and a lovely stone cottage (sleeps 6). There is a communal kitchen, a fire pit and a small play area. During your stay you can try your hand at woodturning or relax with some forest bathing.
The above list reflects just a tiny fraction of the information in Exploring Ireland which has details of over 1700 things to do and places to see across the entire island of Ireland.