Louth Adventures - Outdoor Family fun adventures around Co.Louth
Updated: May 8, 2021
It is so good to be able to go further than 5km again and we are so excited to share with you all the lovely family adventures we will have in our wee county Louth. My husband and I aren't originally from Louth so a lot of the places we visit, we found by chance or were suggestions by friends. All the places listed below are places that are outdoors and that we have tried and tested and are our own review on the place we visit.
There is so much to explore and do especially outdoors between forests, parks, walks, beaches and playgrounds and best part they are free! We will continue adding to the list as we visit different places so that you can come back to it time and time again and maybe find some new places to discover. We will also have a blog post on other counties too just check them out under the category county adventures on the main page.
Of course when the 5km rule lifted there was only going to be one place we were going to go first and that was to the beach.
Blackrock Beach, Blackrock:
Blackrock beach is in the village of Blackrock, just outside of Dundalk. Its a lovely sandy beach, great for collecting shells and making sand castles however when the tide goes out it goes out to sea and all that is left is a wide open area with sand and with lots of little rock pools around. You need to be very careful as the tide comes in as it comes from both directions and you can get easily caught out if you have walked out the lengthy distance to reach the water. It is always best to check out the tide times before visiting if you want to have a swim. When the tide is in, it is a lovely spot for a paddle or a swim. As the promenade is right on the beach its also a great spot to just sit on the wall with an ice cream or a coffee and watch the world go by on a warm day.
Clogher head beach and Harbour:
Clogher head beach, cliffs and harbour is situated between Dundalk and Drogheda. Its sandy beach is absolutely breath taking that seems to go on for miles. There is very little parking at the beach so on a warm day parking is a nightmare, however it is a place you could spend the whole day in, the water is crystal clear and there is a coffee shop right on the beach that does amazing coffee.
The cliff walk (not much of an actually cliff!) is to the left of the beach and is quite a long walk for little legs as it goes from the beach right around to the harbour. We went about half way along it and it was great for exploring the little rock pools, shell and stone collecting and some cool rocks to climb on when they are dry just be careful when the rocks are wet as they are super slippy!
You can drive around to the harbour and there is plenty of parking facilities to the right in the car park along with a fish and chip van on the harbour that is now open again and sells fresh fish that was caught that day. There is also public toilets. The little walk on the harbour is lovely but you need to be careful with little ones as it is a working harbour and there can be a lot of activity going on where the boats are. As it is a working harbour there is lots of wildlife activity around it and if you walk right down the end you might even spot some seals in the water. They seem to be very friendly and very curious when they see people walking about. They even put on a playful display for us to the boys delight! Its a great place to spend the day in with lots to do and see.
Gyles Quey, Dundalk:
Gyles Quey beach is just outside Dundalk, on the way to Carlingford. It has a pier and two sides to the beach. On the left of the pier where the car park is the beach is full of stones and the water is not safe to swim in. To the right of the pier there is a small sandy part of the beach which is lovely and sheltered on a warm day and the sand is great for sand castle building! The water is fine for a paddle but I did find the few times we were there the current was quite strong the further you went out and I am a good swimmer so in my opinion I dont think it is safe enough to swim in. There is also public toilets at the car park and a pub and shop at the top of the hill at a caravan site.
Templetown Beach, Co.Louth
I have no idea how we have not found this Beach before now! It's about 20/25mins outside of Dundalk town on the Carlingford road, you take the signposts for Bush Primary School. If you put it into google maps it will take you right there. It's a beautiful sandy beach that goes on forever, parts are covered in pebbles and it has great sand dunes. The water was so warm, next time we will be taking our togs!
It has public toilets, plenty of parking, picnic benches, outside water tap to wash your feet and I was told that there is a lifeguard there on the summer months so it's super safe for swimming. I think I have found my new favorite spot in Co.Louth and I cant wait to go back and spend a whole day here.
Click the link below to check our our reel on Templetown beach
We headed to Port Beach via the coast route through Annagassan and oh my the beach was absolutely beautiful. It was quite windy the day we went but that didn't stop the boys going in to the water. Lovely sandy beach with plenty of parking, it has a small car park but there is plenty of parking on the left hand side of the road, great for collecting shells (we found some really cool ones to add to our collection), great for making sandcastle, has public toilets, water tap and loads of picnic benches up on the grass area. I was told that there is lifeguards on duty in the summer months so super safe to swim in, if you stay in between the lifeguard flags. It is quite rocky going down to the beach at the part we went so it would be difficult for a push chair or a wheelchair but I did see someone push a buggy along the sand. The waves were quite high the day we went and the boys loved jumping over them. The sand however is what I call sticky sand (sand wit lots of little pebbles and broken shells in it) so make sure you bring baby powder to help wipe the sand off the kids other wise it can be quite sore when brushed off. The beach goes on for miles and it would be a lovely place even just for a walk.
Click the link below to see the video of Port beach in all its glory:
Annagassan Harbour and beach:
On the way back from Port beach we stopped at Annagassan and had a picnic on the harbour. We had a little walk around too. There is a great walk a long the beach from the harbour, beach is pretty stoney, not great for sand castles but great for stone and shell collecting. The water is not safe to swim in with lots of warning signs of strong currents and quick sand signage around the harbour area. We did see some people kayak and paddle board on the far side of the beach as you leave Annagassan and head for Port. Lots of picnic benches at the Harbour for your picnic and at the far end of the beach has a little green area, some sand and limited parking along the road.
Do let us know if you visited anywhere today in Co.Louth incase we haven't been there yet! We always love finding new places to visit.
Beaches we have yet to visit are Termonfeckin Beach, Morningtown Bay Beach, and Greenore. If you know of any beaches in Co.Louth we are missing please write in the comment section and we will add it to our list!
Ravensdale forest is situated near Drumnacarra, Ravensdale just outside of Dundalk town. It is a popular walking spot for hill walkers. You can park at the Lumpers Bar for 3 euro or buy something from the Basecamp cafe and parking is free. However the walk from there to the base of the forest is quite far for little legs. There is some parking at the entrance of the forest although it is very limited, but we have always been lucky to get a parking spot. As you walk up the lane to the left there is two tracks which you can also take. We took the one to the right as it makes it more interesting for the boys. They find walking up the road part long and boring even though the track is longer! We still haven't managed to walk the whole way up to the top yet but its a great outdoors adventure through the paths in the forest for children. The views as you go up are breath taking and you can find some lovely scenic spots for your picnic. Not buggy friendly and surface can be quite uneven even on the road part up to the top. Great place to hike with the kids.
Click the link to check out our reel of our hike up through Ravensdale Forest.
Rathescar Lake is just outside of Dunleer. It was easy to find when I put it into the sat nav. There was plenty of places to park. We followed the path around to the right of the lake and went for the walk around the outside of the lake first. Its a lovely pathed walk (stones) with water on one side and tress on the other. We seen lots of cows in the fields too! There was plenty of ducks and ducklings around and two swans but be very cautious of the swans as they were trying to peck the boys feet as they stood near the water. There is some great climbing trees just past the car park as you begin your walk. Seen lots of people with buggy's so it is buggy friendly. We had wellies on as it was raining yesterday but there was only one or two places that was muddy.
Another forest we know of but have not yet visited is Townley Hall Woods. If you know of any other Forests that are in Co. Louth please do pop them in the comments so that we can add it to our list and check them out.
Parks and Playgrounds:
Blackrock playground and park:
Blackrock also has a lovely playground, sensory walk, basketball court and park at the back of the community centre. When you come into the village you take the turn to the right, pass the school on the right and then you will see the community centre and football pitch to the left. It has plenty of parking. You follow the path between the community centre and the pitch up to the park. It is one of our favourite parks to visit. The playground has plenty of things for the kids to do with picnic beaches around the outside of the playground fence. It has a big wide open green area and a lovely little sensory walk. It a great place to take the kids with their bikes as it is very flat so very buggy friendly.
St.Helena's Park, Dundalk:
St. Helena's park is situated between Fairgreen Road and St. Helena terrace in Dundalk town. You can park across the road in the Lidl car park and cross the road to the park. This road is quite dangerous to cross and I would suggest walking up to the traffic light to cross. The park itself has a large green area great for picnics and even a game of football. The playground is quite big but also can be quite busy on warmer days however there is plenty of things for both small and big kids to enjoy. There is a beautiful band stand in the middle of the park and a lovely pathed walk around the whole park which is great for little ones on their bikes.
Ice House Hill:
This park is great for the kids to cycle their bikes in, play football in the green and great for flying kites on a windy day. It has lots of grassy hills which are great fun for running down, lots of trees for climbing and you might even spot a squirrel or two! Nice park to go for a picnic and a walk. It has a small lake in the middle of it with lots of ducks too. Our boys love taking their bikes here for a cycle.
Clarke Park, Marshes playground, Dundalk:
This small playground is situated at the Marshes shopping centre. There is no free parking so you have to park in the shopping centre which is paid parking. The playground itself is quite small and is more suited to smaller kids but its good a spot if you have to pop into the centre and the kids and hubby spend the time there instead of waiting in the car.
Aisling Park, The Clump, Dundalk:
This park is situated between Marian park and Aisling park. It has a large playground suitable for all ages, astro turf pitch, skate board park and a lovely walk around the park. There is lots of hills and lots of little paths through the grass area and trees of the park which are great to explore with little ones.
Carlingford playground is behind the tourist centre on the left as you approach the village. There is lots of parking. It is more suitable for smaller kids in my opinion under 6 as it doesn't hold my 6 years old attention for to long. It is a lovely little park with lots to do for little ones. We would stop of here before we go for a walk around the village and the pier.
Cooley community Playground:
This playground is just past Lordship before you come to the turn off to Carlingford in front of the Cooley GAA pitch. It is a lovely playground with a lot of grass in it which can get very muddy on a wet day so best to take your wellies but has great climbing frames and tunnels for the kids to explore. Lots of parking, great for all ages.
Lordship Play ground, Lordship, Dundalk:
This playground is on the road to Carlingford in a village called Lordship right beside the GAA ground. This playground is great, it can get quite busy on a good day but again there is plenty of equipment for kids all ages so it never feels overly crowded. There is also a coffee shop over looking the playground which does lovely food and great coffee. There is plenty of parking and there is toilet facilities in the cafe.
Muirhevamor playgound, Dundalk:
Muirhevamor playground is beside the Muirhevamor community centre in Dundalk town. Its quite small and more suited for younger children.
Stephenstown Pond, Knockbridge:
Stephenstown Pond is just outside the village of Knockbridge. It has a beautiful walk around the lake where you can see lots of ducks, swans and other birds. There are a few fairy doors too around the walk to look out for. The playground is fabulous possible one of the best we have gone too. It is so big with lots of different equipment for all ages, lots of swings, climbing frames and even a little trampoline in the ground. Even on a busy day there is plenty of room for everyone and never feels like you are on top of anyone. There is a little green area that is great for picnics, there are a small number of benches but I would advise you to take a picnic blanket too just incase. It also has a little coffee shop and toilet facilities however the toilet facilities are not always opened. Lots of parking and it costs 2 euro to exit the car park, which I dont mind paying as it goes to the upkeep of the grounds. You could easily spend the best part of the day here if you brought a picnic with you.
To see more pictures of Stephenstown Pond click the link below
Kilkerley playground, Kilkerley:
This is a lovely little playground beside Kilkerley school and community centre. Plenty to do in the playground and plenty of parking beside it.
Ramparts Playground, Drogheda:
This playground is brilliant for all ages with three sections with age appropriate equipment. My boys loved it as it had lots of different climbing frames and swings in it. This playground in St. Dominic's Park and there is a lovely walk along the river. It is a great place for a bike rides and a picnic. Lots of parking beside the playground and very accessible for buggies and wheelchairs.
The boys loved this playground as there was plenty of things to climb on and lots of swings. There was a see saw, rope climbing frame and a zip line. For toddlers there really is only some swings and a round about. The steps up to the slide is not suitable for small children.
Omeath, Louth Village, Ardee fairgreen, Castlebllingham, Killanny all have playgrounds too but its been quite some time since we have visited them.
Other places in Co.Louth that have playgrounds but haven't yet visited, Tinure, Clogher head, Tullyallen, Moneymore, Drogheda, Boice court Drogheda. If you know of any we have missed please let us know in the comment section at the end of the post.
Navvy Bank, Point Road, Dundalk:
The Navvy bank is a beautiful flat walk along the river in Dundalk (buggy friendly). There are a few outdoor exercise equipment along the way along with a lovely sitting area right at the very end where the views of Dundalk bay are just beautiful. Nice place to go for a family walk and at times there is a coffee trailer at the beginning of the walk so you can enjoy a coffee while you walk.
Riverway walk, opposite St. Helena's Park, Dundalk:
You can park in the Lidl car park opposite St. Helena's park. We walk along the footpath in the park itself before coming out onto the road at the bridge and cross over the bridge on the footpath. You need to be careful on the bridge with small children as when the lorries fly by, a massive gust of wind comes with it, enough to blow an adult over! The walk itself is lovely and there are two points were you can walk on the board walk by the river which is nice. We always walk to the top, cross over the road and get an ice cream in the garage before walking back. It is also a good spot to take the kids bikes or scooters along the walk as it is completely flat. You can always stop of at the playground on the way back.
Walk behind Oriel Park, Dundalk Cricket Club. Dundalk:
This walk was our best find of the first lockdown. It is behind Oriel Park and along the outside of the Dundalk Cricket Club grounds. It has large open fields with pathways cut through the fields that give you lots of little walks through the fields. As you come to the end of the walk before it veers off to the left, there is an opening to the right through a small forest which is great for exploring and it even has a tree swing! Not buggy friendly and parking is on the main road.
Great place for finding lots of wild life especially tadpoles and frogs.
Other walks that are on our list but haven't got to yet are Carlingford to Omeath Greenway and The Fairy tree, Knockbridge. Please do let us know of any walks near you if you live in Co.Louth.
Old ruined 13th century castle 7ish km outside of Dundalk on the Dungooley Road out of Forkhill however if you put Roche Castle into google maps it will take you right there! The road up to it is very narrow and there is very little places to park ( about 2 cars across the road from it) so you need to be careful not to park over gateways and make sure you leave enough room for passing cars. Walking up to it the field is very rocky and steep and you need to careful, even the walkway into the actual castle entrance is quite dangerous because of the rocks and steep incline on both sides. Inside the castle there is plenty to explore and it is a beautiful spot to have a picnic on a dry day. There is a few information boards inside the castle giving you some history on it. On three sides of the castle there is a very steep drop so care is needed especially with children when looking out the windows of the castle however the views from it are breath taking and you can see for miles and miles. When you come out of the castle and walk up to hill you can get great views. Would not recommend it for smaller children or children/adults steady on their feet as the ground is very uneven.
Old Mellifont Abbey:
This is an old Cistercian abbey that was once the home to a community of monks. It is located close to Drogheda and you need to put in Old Mellifont Abbey into the satnav otherwise you will end up in the Mellifont Abbey in Collon which happened to us! It is the ruins of the Abbey and there is lots of little information boards around it with interesting facts on the place. Children aren't allowed to climb on rocks but my boys did enjoy running around all the paths, they said it was like a maze. We visited it as it was on route to where we were going that day and spent about a half hour in it. Lots of parking and toilet facilities, its all gravel so would be hard to push a buggy around it.
Battle of the Boyne and Oldbridge house:
It is the site of which the Battle of the Boyne happened in 1690 and it is a lovely place to visit for walks and great spot for a picnic. There is lots of different walks you can do around the grounds and its a great place for bikes. We first headed into the gardens which the boys played tag through out the walk! Then we found a spot on the grass area for our picnic. There was lots of people around but yet plenty of wide open space for everyone. After our picnic we got ice creams and coffee at the cafe beside the gardens and had a walk. There is also a coffee trailer. The boys enjoyed looking at the old cannons but a bit disappointed they couldn't climb on them! We spent about an hour here and next time we come we will definitely take our bikes with us.
Places we have yet to visit Townely Hall.
Outdoor adventure that cost money:
Long Acre Alpacas, Ardee:
We heard about this place thanks to one of our followers on Instagram. It is a family run Alpaca farm out by Ardee run by Catherine and Matthew. Due to covid for now you must pre-book your time slot in advance and you can do so very easily through @long_acre_alpacas Instagram page. When messaging through Instagram Matthew told me of the two options they have. The first one was a 40 min trek with the Alpaca's or the other option to just a visit to the farm. As our boys are 4 and 6 I didn't think they would be fit for a 40 minute walk with the Alpacas so we opted for the farm visit which was 5 euro each (price April 2021).
As you come into the farm there is a car park with lots of tractors in the surrounding sheds to Mr4 delight! As you walk into the farm there is a little shop with some Alpaca merchandise and fresh eggs for sale. Catherine and Matthew both met us at the little shop and walked us up to were the Alpaca's were. They told us all about them, lots of facts, their names and the boys had lots of opportunities to ask questions about the Alpaca's too. They even got to feed them some grass and dandelions. The boys also got to meet a very friendly donkey and valais black nose sheep that was also in the field with the Alpacas.
We got to take two of the Alpaca's for a walk around the field and the boys loved it. As we went around Catherine told us lots of information about the two Alpaca's we were walking and of course one had to stop for a wee which the boys thought was so funny! Don't you know that it will be the one thing they will be telling everyone about!
We headed then into a fenced area where there were two lambs, a goat and a kid (a baby goat). They were very friendly and the boys soon realised that they liked the leaves on the trees so they had great fun picking the leaves off and feeding them. I think the boys could have happily stayed in there with the lambs and goats! There was lots of hens, ducks and other birds walking around the farm too.
There was a lovely little picnic area in one of the barns where we had a picnic not before washing our hands in the public toilet. The path around has a lot of stones so might be difficult for buggies however the walk around isn't very long for little legs. It was a lovely hands on and interactive experience, and I just loved the personal touch that Catherine and Matthew gave to the whole experience. The boys had a great afternoon and I would highly recommend a trip to it and we can't wait to visit again.
Smyths Farm, Dromiskin
Smyths Farm is where you can buy fresh and flavoured milk in glass bottles and the have some delicious flavoured milk. We bought three 500mls bottles with flavoured milk which cost 12 euro for the three but the next time we go it only costs 1.50 each to refill. You can also buy fresh milk and flavoured milk in 1 litre bottles too. Our 4 year old hasn't drunk milk in a very long time and he loved it! Lots of parking, kids can see some hens, some tractors and lots and lots of cows in the fields. Its a good spot to stop off on the way home for some milk. Visit @smyths_farm_dromiskin on Instagram.
And yes that is our 4 year old insisting on wearing a pair of goggles!!! To be four again and not have a care in the world!
These are only the list of what we have visited so far but please do let us know either in the comments or email firstname.lastname@example.org of any other places we have missed and you would recommend to visit outdoors in Co. Louth.
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Why not follow us on Instagram @playwithmemammy or check out our hightlight on our page Louth adventures for more pictures of the places we have visited and dont forget to check back every so often for new places that will be added.
All pictures and text are my own