Friday, 29 April 2011

Visiting Tollymore Forest Park

At the foot of the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland sits the traditional seaside resort of Newcastle and nearby, the Tollymore Forest Park. On the Easter bank Holiday Monday this is where we headed on a family day out.

River Shimna Panorama

It seemed everyone in Northern Ireland was planning on heading to the coast on the same day so it came as no surprise that we were stuck in a queue on the roads approaching bottlenecks on the way to the Tollymore Forest Park but eventually we made it, paid the £4.40 car entrance fee and joined the parade of hundreds of other cars that once parked sprawled over the tarmac and grass all around the front of the grounds to the park. It was a little worrying that there seemed to be more cars and people then trees on this day in this forest park but after a picnic lunch we headed out onto one of the trails to see what we would find. We just stuck to the red path as we were planning on heading on into Newcastle afterwards so didn't want to be too long.

The red trail passes down a scenic garden path lined with colourful bushes and trees.

Colourful Lined Path

Pink Flowers

At the bottom of this path there is the Shimna River.

Tranquil River Shimna

River Shimna small waterfall

We walked along the path upstream admiring the small waterfalls and pools before eventually crossing a bridge to the other side where there were more views of the river and it's scenic paths to be had.

Rock Lined River

Old Mill by the River

Crazy River Shimna

At the other side of the river was a walk through a section of managed evergreen forest and very tall trees they were, looking up really meant bending your head back...

Trees Reaching for the Sky

We carried on along the path avoiding large groups of people until we reached a shallow lake.

Tollymore Forest Lake

This was the point where I started to notice the lack of wildlife in this forest park. It might just have been the amount of people and dogs present that had scared all the creatures into hiding but take the lake for instance... there were more dogs swimming in the lake then ducks. The reflections of the trees on the water (where the water was not disturbed by pesky dogs) was rather memorising.

Reflection of a tree on the lake

We then crossed back across the river looking back down into the river from the bridge.

River Shimna Rock

Just over the bridge were some some young trees where bluebells were scattered the forest floor.

Bluebells under the trees

What goes up much come down and we'd already had the down so it was time to go back up. A lengthy hill followed, filled again with people and a worrying amount of canines.

This grassy hill was a mess that was peppered by the remains of hard boiled eggs presumably from some Easter egg roll. The dogs were all sniffing and in some cases trying to eat the eggy remains, some a little old and some seemingly being freshly created... as we reached the top of the hill, there were some parents with their teenage kids throwing hard boiled eggs at one another and to their dogs. Must be some 'dog person' tradition or something, I just found it a real inconvenience trying to dodge dogs on the floor and cooked yolk and egg white whilst whistling through the air whilst slightly out of breath and I put my camera away for safe keeping!

Thankful, we reached the top we headed back to the makeshift car park.

Bank Holiday Cars at Tollymore

My mother-in-law was waiting for the four of us to return and after another chill and having to prevent a dog (admittedly a very cute one) from trying to join us in the car, we headed on to Newcastle - the one in County Down that is.

The forest park was very pretty and I'd love to go back at some point in the future to walk the rest of the trails but I think for my own sanity it'd have to be at a quite time and not on a bank holiday Monday.


  1. We were there a few weeks ago. We didn't pay to go through though, as we were just driving around Co. Down and didn't want to spend long either. It's on our to do list for later now! It looks gorgeous.

    I aspire to take such beautiful, bright and vivid photographs when we do go!

  2. I've never been I will definitely have to go after seeing those lovely photos! I love Newcastle and usually just get sucked in to all the cheesy seaside-y part of it and forget how lovely it is around it. x

  3. What beautiful photos! Are you enjoying your new camera? Looks like you have the hang of it. BTW, I *almost* feel sorry for the dog owners who let their dogs eat eggs. What goes in must come out....

  4. @Katie, It really is well worth the trip and thanks, though the camera does all the hard work with the bright/vivid, just under expose the shot slightly :)

    @Ani, that's what we always did too and the park really is surprisingly close to Newcastle, makes you wonder why they don't advertise it more - seems the place is popular though just through word of mouth/passed on from their parents or something.

    @On My Soapbox, Lmao, good point, wonder what egg does do for a dogs 'after effects', do they make suction pooper scoopers?

    With the camera - yeah, it has got it's good and bad points - like the shots are a little soft until I sharpen them and the screen doesn't really give a true reflection of the brightness but I'm getting used to it slowly but surely, still lots of room for improvement + to speed up - Norngirl is probably going to maim me if I get any slower taking shots :P

  5. I think your photos are great! It sounds like a lovely place and I love the photo of the old mill. It is a pity about the crowds, the rubbish and the dogs. My biggest complaint is the dogs off their leads in this country. We once had a Maltese jump right up at my boxer and she literally caught the mutt in her mouth!



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