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The county of Down is one of the most popular in Northern Ireland, famous for being the home of the largest mountain range in the whole of Ireland - The Mourne Mountains. The area surrounding the Mournes is known throughout Ireland and afar as an area of outstanding natural beauty, with seaside towns like Annalong, Ardglass, Dundrum and Newcastle, all providing spectacular views of the mountains, with the charm of a small Irish seaside resort.
With many popular fishing villages, Down has built up a great reputation throughout Ireland for being a bit of a food haven, with some of the finest local produce available on the island of Ireland. The county also has strong links to St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland and the cause for celebration of Irish culture and heritage throughout the world every year on March 17th. St. Patrick has strong ties with the popular town of Downpatrick (named after the saint), and the St. Patricks Centre and Down Cathedral allow you to explore the history and legacy of this Irish saint.
If it's an adventure break that you are after, then Co. Down has it all. From wind surfing and watersports along the coast to walking in the mountains and hitting the trails at some of the national mountain bike courses, Down has that little something for us all. If you love exploring nature and getting out and enjoying the great outdoors, you'll want to add Kilbroney, Tollymore and Castlewellan Forest Parks to your 'to-do' list.
Another great attraction is the Ards Peninsula, with popular towns including Newtownards, Bangor, Strangford and Portaferry. This coastal route leads you to the North Coast of Northern Ireland and offers some breathtaking scenery. A short ferry trip from across Strangford Lough allows you to take in all the beauty of this area before docking in Portaferry for a quick visit to Northern Ireland's only Aquarium.
If you're looking to hit the shops while enjoying an outdoor, adventure filled holiday in Down, then the city of Newry which borders Armagh and Louth is a must visit. Newry has two large and popular shopping centres which are home to popular high street shops. The town of Banbridge is another popular shopping district and home to many small, boutique shops, allowing you to hunt out something unique.
For the golfing enthusiasts among you, County Down has a worldwide reputation for being home to some of the finest Links courses in the world. Ardglass Golf Club and Royal County Down are up there with the very best and used regularly by some of the world's best golfers. Another famous golf course is Holywood Golf Club, the place where golf sensation Rory McIlroy honed his skills and developed the talent we all enjoy today.
Hotels like the Slieve Donard Hotel & Spa Resort in Newcastle and the Culloden Estate & Spa in Holywood have really helped to give Down a reputation as one of the finest places to stay in when visiting Northern Ireland.