The medieval village of Carlingford is the perfect destination for a daytrip or base for a short break. Carlingford is perched on the Cooley Peninsula at the foot of Slieve Foye and on the shores of Carlingford Lough. Famed for its first-class oysters, sought after by the world’s top chefs, and steeped in history, there is no shortage of things to do in Carlingford. Carlingford is one of the 14 scenic viewpoints as featured in the sea louth scenic seafood trail, and a sea louth passport stamp collection point.
Here is our pick of the must-dos while you are in Carlingford:
1. Walk or cycle the Carlingford Lough Greenway, a sea louth scenic viewpoint in its own right. The route winds along the shoreline between Carlingford Marina and Omeath, and enjoys sweeping views of the Lough, Slieve Foye and the Mourne Mountains. Bike hire is available through On Yer Bike in Carlingford Village and at the beginning of the Greenway at the Marina; or from Carlingford Greenway Bike Hire located in the Old Cinema on Newry Street. Don’t forget to grab your sea louth passport stamp!
2. Sample Carlingford Oysters at PJ O’Hare’s, one of the sea louth participating restaurants. Carlingford is synonymous with oysters, which have been harvested here since medieval times. Today, two family-run producers, the Carlingford Oyster Company and Cooley Oysters are leading the charge in cultivating these prized delicacies, and Carlingford Oyster Festival has been celebrating these jewels of the sea for over 40 years!
3. Take a trip on the Carlingford Lough Ferry. Travel as a foot passenger or take the car, enjoy the magnificent scenery and look out for Finn, the Lough’s famous resident dolphin, along the way.
4. Enjoy a guided walking tour of Medieval Carlingford and King John’s Castle in the company of expert local guides.
King John's Castle tour: daily at 3pm. Meeting point at Carlingford Tourist Office, Station House - includes entrance into the castle - the tour is inside the castle walls (€5 for an adult, €2 for a child, €12 for a family of four).
Medieval Town Tour: Mon, Tues, Wed at 11am. Meeting point at Carlingford Tourist Office, Station House (a tour takes you past the Tholsel, Mint, Priory, Taaffe's Castle, etc. (€8 for an adult, €3 for a child, €20 for a family of four.
5. Visit Templetown Blue Flag Beach, a hidden gem situated down the winding country roads of the Cooley Peninsula. The south-facing sand and shale beach is perfect for families, with ample car parking and lifeguard during the summer months. Templetown is another ‘sea louth’ passport stamp collection point!
6. Dine in at least one of the 8 participating restaurants located in and around Carlingford. Enjoy a locally sourced seafood dish to qualify for a restaurant stamp; you will need two of these stamps in addition to 10 of the 14 scenic viewpoint stamps in order to complete your sea louth passport.
7. Take to the skies and see Carlingford and the Mourne Mountains via Ireland’s longest treetop zipline, Ziptopia at Carlingford Adventure Centre, or if you don’t mind getting wet, try your hand at a water sport activity on the Lough.
8. Enjoy a tour of Carlingford Brewing Co. A tour (with all-important tastings) takes around 90 minutes, and here you will learn about the origins of the brewery and the local landmarks that have provided inspiration for its beers. Pre-booking required.
9. Admire Carlingford from the water with Louth Adventures, on board the restored 1940’s tugboat, ‘Breinne’. Tours depart from Carlingford Harbour and take around an hour.
10. Scale Slieve Foy, steeped in mythology and local legend. The highest of the Cooley Mountains, its outline is said to resemble a sleeping giant, and legend has it that the giant, Finn, stood on the mountain while fighting his rival, Ruscaire.
Don’t forget to call in to the stamp collection points along the trail to collect your sea louth scenic viewpoint stamps.
Keywords: sea louth, scenic seafood trail, Carlingford top 10, things to do in Carlingford, best things to do in Carlingford