Medieval walls and moorland walks
Carlingford is a delight of a town that offers fantastic views, a myriad of walking trails and a warren of medieval streets full of cafes, pubs and seemingly all the ice cream in the world.
Located close to the Northern Ireland border and just a 25 minute drive from the main Dublin to Belfast road Carlingford acts as the perfect pitstop to break up the journey or even as a weekend destination. Carlingford is mainly a magnet for domestic tourism during weekends and it does get busy which makes parking into a game of Tetris, especially in summer, but a quiet weekday, when you seem to have the walking trails to yourself, is when Carlingford is at it's most alluring.
For the hardcore walking enthusiast, Slieve Foye mountain rises to 589m above the town and is the big offroad walk in the area for those with the inclination. There are also three fairly well signposted walking trails which start in the town and wind their way amongst the surrounding countryside. The Slieve Foye and Barnavave looped walks head into the forest above the town and are undulating and for those with at least 2-3 hours to spare and the Commons is a shorter, more accessible 40 minute effort. For instant payoffs on foot or on a bike there's also the flat Carlingford-Omeath greenway that hugs the Carlingford Lough shoreline - excellent views and suitable for anyone.
The town itself is a historical delight. It's always nice when a seaside town isn't just a resort town but has a bit of history and something else to do other than a beach. In Carlingford, aside from a good number of pubs and cafes is a pretty substantial collection of pretty intact medieval buildings. There's King John's Castle, with pride of place overlooking the lough (lake), and the Mint, Thoisel and Priory which offer a walk through the centuries of medieval Carlingford. Hit up the Carlingford Heritage Centre for self-guided tour maps or book onto the guided tours at 11.00 and 15.00 (must be booked in advance and have minimum of four booked on) if you want to get a grasp of what you're looking at.
There's also the option to not do much at all. From the shore, one can simply enjoy the views of Carlingford Lough with the Slieve League Mountains and Rostrevor Forest across the water or wander along the harbour walls and look back on the town. One thing Carlingford doesn't have though is a beach, so beach towels and speedos will not be needed.