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Let us help you plan your ideal vacation in County Down...

County Down is a magical county and surely has something for everyone. It forms the most easterly point of Ireland skirting east Belfast and is close to mainland Britain, where the Ards Peninsula juts out into the Irish Sea. There are miles of coastline and an almost land bound sea lough, Lough Strangford. To the south are the forlorn sounding Mountains of Mourne, which, left to the imagination, conjure up creatures out of Irish legend.

Bangor is the largest of the towns on the north coast and from here you can travel south east down the Ards Peninsula or south west towards the Downs and its rounded hills. The Peninsula is breezy but also a delight, on the coast you will see seals, be able to eat the edible seaweed and picnic in the grounds of Grey Abbey on the lough side. Travelling down this piece of land its quiet and wild, Wordsworth and Franz Liszt have visited here.

At the end of the Peninsula where Lough Strangford meets the sea is the town of Portaferry, where the waters are squeezed through a narrow channel creating dangerous tidal currents twice a day, flows of 8 knots are common.

The Lough itself is a sanctuary to birds and wildlife, there are marshes and mudflats which give rise to a rich supply of marine life. There are plenty of appealing places to visit along its shores.

Across the sea narrows from Portaferry is the town of Downpatrick which services as a centre for this particular area. St Patrick is reported as being buried in the grounds of the Cathedral. There is an exciting interpretative exhibition which tells the fascinating story of Ireland's Patron Saint, St Patrick. It's an interesting visitor attraction for all the family and explores the legacy left by the saint. Around the area there are many ancient sites to explore, including Inch Abbey and the Ballynoe Stone Circle.

The famous Mountains of Mourne rise from the Irish Sea and peak at nearly 2,800 ft with Slieve Donard being its highest peak. Walkers will find Mourne Wall, its 22 miles long and encloses the water catchment area for two lakes.

Hugging its base is the little seaside town of Newcastle a good place to stay if you are thinking of walking in the area. There is also yachting, fishing from the harbour walls, golf and walks amongst the sand dunes at Murlough.

On the other side of the mountains from Newcastle lies Warrenpoint and Rostrevor which line Carlingford Lough, there are ruined castles and a priory here.

County Down was also home to the Bronte sisters for those interested in literature, the remains of their father's cottage can still be seen. The Bronte homeland can be found around Glascar and Rathfriland, to the north of the Mourne Mountains.

The visitor will love this county with its ruined castles and priories, long deserted coastlines, moors, mudflats and sand dunes, wild mountains and lush green irish valleys, quiet hamlets and places to just relax and unwind in.

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