This Easter, the Ring of Gullion team is offering two avenues to learn more about this great area. Starting with our popular coach tour on Thursday 20th April, starting in Newry, the coach will make its way gently through the rolling hills of South Armagh, visiting built heritage sites of importance in the area.
If you want something a bit more energetic, there is a walking tour on Saturday 22nd April. The tour will travel along the Poet’s Trail taking in stunning views of the area. The walk will start at Tí Chulainn Centre, Mullaghbawn at 11.30am and will be mostly on roads. The tour will be with members of the local Gap of the North Walking Group.
Councillor Gillian Fitzpatrick, Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council explains, “We are delighted to be offering these tours for free over the Easter break. Booking is essential and we are advising anyone who is keen to experience these tours, to book their space as soon as possible on www.ringofgullion.org and click on Events.”
The Ring of Gullion Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a unique geological landform, unparalleled elsewhere in Ireland or the UK and was the first ring dyke in the world to be geologically mapped. It was voted onto the ‘Top 100 Geosites of UK & Ireland’.
The ring of low, rugged hills forms a ‘rampart’ around the heather-clad Slieve Gullion mountain. Rich semi-wild habitats of heath, bog and woodland contrast with the neatly patterned fields and ladder farms. The AONB straddles the Northern Ireland border with the Republic of Ireland in south Armagh. The AONB shares many landscape characteristics with the adjacent Cooley peninsula in County Louth.
Slieve Gullion’s mysterious reputation arises from its associations with legends and the wider area’s rich archaeological heritage. It was along these roads and fields, and over these hills and mountains, that Cúchulainn and the Red Branch Knights, the O’Neills and the O’Hanlons roamed, battled and died.
Gap o’ the North Hill Walking Club walk every second Sunday starting from the Gap o’ the North pub in Jonesborough at 10am. There is a strong local focus on the Cooleys and the Ring of Gullion with occasional trips to the Mournes and further afield. http://gaponorth.co.uk/