Visitor Experiences – Bringing the Ring of Gullion to Life

Visitor Experiences – Bringing the Ring of Gullion to Life

The Ring of Gullion is full to the brim with exciting experiences. Whether you’re planning your next family break or your latest solo adventure, our forests, mountains, and parks are home to some of the most unique day trips, excursions and experiences around.

Follow in the footsteps of Heros

The Ring of Gullion’s mysterious reputation arises from its associations with legends and the wider area’s rich archaeological heritage. It was along these roads and fields, and over these hills and mountains, that Cúchulainn and the Red Branch Knights, the O’Neills and the O’Hanlons roamed, battled and died. You can read some of these stories about Fionn Mac Cumhaill, Cúchulainn and the Cailleach Beara on this website, but better still, delve into the Ring of Gullion at one of the many visitor experiences on offer or visit the Outdoor Interpretation Centre at Slieve Gullion Forest Park.

Trails and Tours in the Ring of Gullion

Walk in the footsteps of ancient herds, warriors, and fairies. Stroll through abandoned famine fields known as ‘lazy beds,’ a direct link to the failed potato crop of the great Irish famine (1840’s) and the impoverished world of the area’s ancestors.  Open the half-door to a 200-year-old private stone cottage to see original butter-making tools. Visit a ‘booley’ site, an old stone enclosure used for centuries by cow herding girls and butter makers. In memory of this craft, learn how to create your own batch of butter along with an old ritual invoked to prevent the fairies from stealing the cream.

Enjoy an afternoon making art; nestled in the rolling hills of South Armagh in the townland of Ballymoyer at the White Rock Glass Studio. Create unique Ogham-inspired art, learning from a 5th-generation artist who lives in an idyllic farmstead. Visitors are welcomed to the artist’s home and studio (a converted pig barn) to partake in an intimate glass-making experience. As part of a small group, learn the history of the earliest form of Gaelic (Irish) writing, Ogham. Traditionally found on native trees and standing stones throughout Ireland, including Kilnasagart Stone and Drumconnell Stone in South Armagh.

Take a stroll back in time at the Derrymore Demesne, home to an 18th-century thatched cottage rich in history. Tour the villages of Bessbrook and Camlough – Bessbrook dates from 1845 when the mill in Bessbrook was purchased by the Quaker Richardson family. They built the present village in order to provide accommodation for the mill workers, and much of it is still as it was more than 150 years ago. Camlough was an ecclesiastical district in the Barony of Upper Orior. In ancient times this was part of the O’Hanlon’s country

Walk the sixty-two-mile Ring of Gullion Way, and experience some of the key sites from the life of Ireland’s most famous poets, warriors, saints and scholars.

Food and Drink Experiences

The Ring of Gullion, part of the Mourne Gullion Strangford UNESCO Global Geopark, is home to some of the tastiest and most unique foods you can ever try. So you can combine your love of the great outdoors with some of our finest locally brewed craft beers and ciders with our Geopark Tasting menu at Killeavy Castle Estate.

Wellness and Retreats

At Killeavy Castle Estate, you are surrounded by woodlands in the Ring of Gullion. There is a real sense of fresh air and living both in and with nature. Sustainability is at the heart of the hotel owner’s ethos. You can breathe deep, relax and make the most of the hotel’s forest trails or spend the afternoon looking out to Slieve Gullion from the wonderful spa while they prepare your lunch.

Reconnect with nature in the Ring of Gullion. Xhale offers forest bathing, meditation and mindfulness experiences in some of the region’s most tranquil landscapes. Escape from the stresses of everyday life with timeless, meditative techniques.

Foraging Wild Food and Medicine

Fully guided outdoor experiences with a difference are offered throughout the Ring of Gullion by Mountainways Ireland. Walk, Hike and Forage with qualified mountain leaders. Reconnect with much of the tacit knowledge that has been forgotten by many but that is still there, close to the surface in the Ring of Gullion. Foraging walks and workshops, hill walking, and mountain skills training are just part of the range of activities available.

Visit our Destination

To find out all you can do while visiting the Ring of Gullion and the rest of the Mourne Gullion Strangford UNESCO Global Geopark go to our Tourism website