Tollymore Forest Park – Northern Ireland
Do you know these kind of places you see in movies and they are so beautiful it makes you think it is in another planet? Well, Tollymore Forest Park is one of this kind! But, luckily, it is located here in this world, in Northern Ireland!
I still can’t believe I saw this place with my own eyes, that I was there in this fairy tale scenario. I wanted to visit Tollymore a long time ago, but there was always something in the way. So, last November, on my Birthday, I decided to plan a hiking trip there, to enjoy these jaw-dropping landscapes.
Tollymore Forest Park is located near Newcastle town, on the foot of the majestic Mourne Mountains. From Dublin, the trip by car takes more or less 2 hours. If you go by public transport the journey is longer, you have to take a bus from Dublin to a town called Newry and, from there, take another bus to Newcastle.
Tollymore was the first designated forest park in Northern Ireland, and it is a very special and unique place. There you can find a variety of trees, caves, arches in a gothic style, and the River Shimna. This river floes through the park, passing by 16 bridges, the oldest of which dates from 1726. It’s amazing!
Inside the park there are 4 options of walks (click here to find more details), from easy to more challenging ones. We chose our walk when we got there. Unfortunately, it was raining a lot that day and, because of the conditions, the River Trail was our choice. It is a circular 5.2km walk. I still want to go back there and hike the longer, more challenging Mountain Trail.
I have no words to explain the River Trail, it was certainly one of the most beautiful walks I have done in this island (and my first one in Northern Ireland). I truly felt as if I was inside a movie; it is so beautiful that you can’t believe the place is real.
The trail goes alongside the River Shimna, passing by all the bridges. Every step was a moment to savour.
It was about a two-hour walk through this magical place. This was also the wettest hike I’ve ever done, it rained constantly for 2 hours. But, this didn’t discourage us! If anything. the rain just added a special touch to its atmosphere.
We were wearing waterproof clothes, and I was dry for the most part of the time. But, my leggings started to get really wet around my knees by the time we were finishing. The problem was that I didn’t bring any spare clothes, and I was very stupid to keep wearing my wet leggings all the way back home. As a result I got sick the next day. But, I was happy; I really loved my birthday hiking-trip.
Because of the rain I didn’t take pictures with my camera, I used my phone instead. Although, I believe you guys can get an idea how stunning this place is through these images.
No wonder Tollymore Forest Park is part of the tv show Game of Thrones. Do you guys remember in the first season, when the Starks found the direwolves in a forest? Yes, this forest is Tollymore! It was really cool to be there and recall the Game of Thrones scenes.
I highly recommend this trip whether you are a Game of Thrones fan or not. It is unreal, so beautiful that you feel like crying!
Have you guys celebrated your birthdays with a hiking-trip? Would you like to visit Northern Ireland as well? Share in the comments.
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