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Down Marinas - Northern Ireland

also known as Contae an Dúin

County Down (also known as Downshire) is located in the North Eastern part of Northern Ireland, with the capital at Downpatrick. This area is perfect for holidays, as you can enjoy the lovely view of the villages and towns, the picturesque landscapes and the magic of the mountains. The Mourne Mountains (or the Mournes) offer a sublime view of nature’s truly wonderful work. They are an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, one of Northern Ireland’s most beautiful places and a genuine paradise for adventurers and nature lovers.

If you can’t stop being an active person, not even on vacation, we are pleased to inform you that there are several outdoor fun activities you can engage in to keep your heart rate high. Try cycling, canoeing, climbing, horseback riding, cave exploring, archery, boat trips and many more. Northern Ireland is all about discovering, connecting with nature, learning interesting, cool stuff by experiencing them.

The unspoilt environment of the island, the great mild climate produced over time quality food: seafood, lamb, beef, dairies, vegetables and fruit, they are all among the best in the world. The Irish are particularly famous for being Europe’s greatest source of eels and for growing the Comber potato, on the fertile farmlands of County Down. The traditional food is still alive in the country, and it is a mix of Scottish and Irish heritage. The emblematic dishes have their roots in bread and potatoes, ingredients that are still present in the modern cuisine.

No trip to Ireland is complete without the Ulster Fry, the traditional breakfast, made with tatie bread, sausages, bacon, fresh tomatoes and a fried egg with a runny yolk. Other local specialities include champ (mashed potatoes with butter and fried spring onions), Irish stew (meat, potatoes, carrots and onions), Dulse (seaweed snack). You must also try the potato bread farl, potted herring, Guinness pie, butcher’s sausages, pasties (made from sausage meat, onions and mashed potatoes) and boxty (a starchy potato cake). Eating out is a total delight and complete food experience for foodies everywhere, but mostly for seafood lovers. Book a table at some of these next places and live a truly Irish experience: The Salty Dog, Burrendale, Dufferin Arms, Percy French, Banville House, Wildfowler Inn. Don’t forget about Anchor Bar, Pier 36, Molly Brown’s Kitchen & Bar, The Parson’s Nose or Hugh McCann’s Cafe Bar Deli. There are several food festivals you can attend, where you can meet the producers and buy fresh stuff right from the source: Comber Potato Festival (June), The Festival of Fish (August). Also, check out Hillsborough International Oyster Festival (September) and The Hans Sloane Chocolate and Fine Food Festival (September).

From chic hotels to personalized B&Bs and guest houses, Northern Ireland has accommodation for all tastes and budgets: Rayane House, Dufferin Coaching Inn, Downshire Arms Hotel, Culloden Estate & Spa, The Whistledown Hotel. You may also want to consider Enniskeen Country House, Cherryhill Lodge, Mountain View B&B, The Cairn Bay Lodge and Hunters Lodge Luxury B&B.

The most important attractions you should add to your “to visit” list are Ulster Folk and Transportation Museum, Tollymore Forest Park, Bangor Castle and Gardens, Castle Ward, Murlough National Nature Reserve. Other attractions include Mount Stewart House, Ballynoe Stone Circle, Castlewellan Forest Park, Somme Heritage Centre, Dundrum Castle, Donaghadee Harbour, Kilbroney Park, Inch Abbey and Down County Museum.