Bluebell Lane is in the heart of the stunning Ring of Gullion Area of Natural Outstanding Beauty. Sitting at the foot of Slieve Gullion mountain (573m) and the Slieve Gullion Forrest Park, Bluebell Lane is an ideal base to explore the rich geology, biodiversity and archaeology of the area. We are within easy reach of a range of activities including walking and hiking, cycling, fishing, horse-riding and golf.
The Ring of Gullion
The Ring of Gullion is a unique geological landform, a ring dyke, with a ring of low, rugged hills around the Slieve Gullion mountain. With semi-wild heath, bog and woodland habitats, this is an area rich in myths, legends and archaeological heritage – the land of Cúchulainn and the Red Branch Knights, the O’Neills and the O’Hanlons, Fionn Mac Cumhaill and the Cailleach Beara.
Slieve Gullion Forrest Park
Slieve Gullion Forrest Park includes a great children’s adventure playground, café, the magical Giant’s Lair Trail and a Sensory Trail. The scenic Forest Drive gives access to the walk to the summit of Slieve Gullion with views across the Ring of Gullion, Mourne Mountains, Cooley Peninsula and Armagh Drumlins where you can explore the ancient passage tomb on the south summit of Slieve Gullion – Ireland’s highest surviving passage tomb, Cailleach Beara’s Lough and the Bronze Age tomb on the north side of the mountain.
Archaeological and Historic sites
There are a number of important archaeological sites in the area including the Ballykeel Dolmain and the Court Tombs at Annaghmare and Ballymacdermot, which is near to the stunning scenic views from Bernish viewpoint and Clontygora Court Cairn.
Bluebell Lane Glamping is within easy reach the Dorsey Earthworks which forms a large enclosure or double set of earthworks thought to be part of Ulster’s defences in the Iron Age and possibly controlling access along an important route to Navan Fort near Armagh; the Creggan Graveyard, Killeavy Old Churches, Kilnasaggart Pillar Stone, Moyry Castle and Roche’s Castle.
The Hill of Faughart is believed to be the birthplace of St Brigid and in the graveyard visitors can see St Brigid’s stone and pillar, her shrine and well. Situated south of Forkill, Armagh at the southern end of the Gap of the North/Moyry Pass, Faughart held huge strategic importance for many centuries and was the scene of many battles, including the legendary battle fought by Cúchulainn in the Táin. Edward Bruce is buried in the graveyard on the hill above the shrine. Bruce, who had taken the title King of Ireland, was defeated and killed at the Battle of Faughart in 1318. Ruins include an iron-age fort, a Norman motte-castle, and a medieval church.
Derrymore House, the historic model village at Bessbrook and Church of St. Brigid in Glassdrummond are also worth a visit. Navan Fort and Visitors Centre is about a 30 minute drive away in Armagh, Northern Ireland.
Walking and Hiking
Bluebell Lane is an ideal base to explore the local area and the Ring of Gullion provide a number of audio guides and information on short, medium and long walks; as well as self-guided geology walks. A number of local tour guides can also provide a tailored experience.
Within the immediate area, the Mass Rock and Famine cottages in the townland of Carrive on the edge of Mullaghbawn are worth exploring – and the sad tragedy of the Hannah has a direct link with the Donnelly family who own land Bluebell Lane. The Market Stone and Hanging Tower also have relevance to the 1798 rebellion.
The Ring of Gullion offers short and medium length routes up 31 miles long. Direct access to the Ring of Gullion is available from Newry via National Cycle Network Route 9 to Slieve Gullion. Bikes can also be hired from nearby Ring of Gullion Cycles. Please note that off-road cycling is NOT permitted on Slieve Gullion mountain.
There are a number of lakes and waterways that provide excellent fishing including at Camlough, which is well stocked with small to medium pike, bream, roach and perch; Newry Canal which is an excellent coarse angling location which previously hosted the World Angling Championships has bream, roach, rudd, perch, eel and trout and large pike in winter. Trout fishing is also available at the upper and lower Cashel Loughs, the fishery at Carrigans Lough and Mullaghbawn Lough. For licences contact Foyle, Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission on 028 7134 2100 or buy online at www.nidirect.gov.uk or contact Newry TIC for day permits.
There are two golf courses close to Bluebell Lane; Cloverhill Golf Club in Mullaghbawn and Ashfield Golf Course in Cullyhanna.
The Greenvale Equestrian Centre, Bennetts’s Equestrian, and Kernan Equestrian Centre are all close to Bluebell Lane.
Swimming and Beaches
There are a number of watersports and open water swimming available at Camlough Lake which is an extremely popular area with locals and beautiful beaches a short drive from Bluebell Lane, including Gyles Quay, the Cooley Peninsula and Carlingford with numerous walks, bars and restaurants in county Louth.
For Kids (and rainy days)
We have a few suggestions for thing to do with kids, or on rainy days. Our number 1 suggestion is Slive Gullion Forrest Park but also check out:
- Sticky Fingers Imaginarium Arts & Story Centre, Newry
- Formula Karting, Newry
- Newry Funhouse
- Sheepbridge Family Entertainment Centre, Newry
- Omniplex, Newry
- Navan Fort, Armagh
- Armagh Observatory and Planetarium
- Gullion Adventures, Meigh
- Watchtower Adventures
Places to shop, eat and drink
Bluebell Lane is in the picturesque village of Mullaghbawn and has two local shops including the Spar which has a Post Office, Off-license and take-away counter. There is also a pharmacy, a bar at the Tí Chulainn Centre and Shanroe pub (temporarily close) and two local take-aways.
Forkhill has two local pubs, MC Larkins and the Welcome Inn with traditional and folk music nights.
Meigh includes the recently restored Killeavy Castle Estate with its fine dining, Johnny Murphy’s Bar which provides an extensive food menu, and Meigh Plaice, a traditional take-away.
The Flagstaff Lodge in Cloughoge has an extensive menu and provides an excellent Sunday carvery. There is also a Post Office, Off-license, petrol station and take-away counter at the Mulkerns EuroSpar.
Camlough has a number of bars, including The Yellow Heifer which has an excellent menu and Toals Bar, the busy Camocha café and a number of take-aways, including La Dolce Vita pizzeria, Jade Garden and Fiships. The local Nisa, Hughes’, has a petrol station, Off-license, Post Office and excellent deli counter, and there is also a pharmacy in the village
Newry and Dundalk are the two closest cities and provide a full range of shops, bars and restaurants.