Ghan House Carlingford

A short break in Carlingford

Two weekends ago, we took a short break to the picturesque town of Carlingford. Situated on Ireland’s ancient East coast, on the edge of  Carlingford lough, and with the impressive backdrop of Slieve Foy,  the town is just over 100 miles from Belfast (about 75 minutes drive) and a short distance over the border that separates the north and south of Ireland (the very same border at the heart of the Brexit negotiations !)

Carlingford is a town steeped in history, its roots dating back to Viking times and it still retains its medieval layout with castle ruins, narrow lanes and small streets. Its compact size makes it  a lovely destination for a short break with beautiful views across the lough,  brightly painted houses and good quality restaurants , pubs and cafes all within walking distance.

We arrived late afternoon on a Friday, staying for two nights at the wonderful Ghan House (more details below). Come Saturday morning, we were up early for breakfast and out to explore by 10am, camera at the ready, spurred on by blue skies and  beautiful winter sunlight.

These are a few of my personal highlights from our short break…

1.The ruins of the Dominican Abbey and Abbey Mill dating back to the 1300s which we wandered round for some time enjoying the view, with just some crows in the trees keeping an eye on us !

Dominican abbey at Carlingford

abbey mill at Carlingford

Dominican Abbey Carlingford
Abbey Mill Carlingford

2. A old whitewashed cottage. I can never walk by without taking a photo.

whitewashed cottage in Carlingford

3. Pub sign…and check out that blue sky.

pub sign Carlingford

4. Slieve Foy…still covered with a dusting of snow.

Slieve Foy at Carlingford

Slieve Foy Carlingford

5. The relaxed vibe of P J O’Hares Pub where we sat down for a quiet drink before the rugby crowd arrived !

P J O'Hares pub Carlingford

P J O'Hares Pub

6. The view across the graveyard of the Church of the Holy Trinity, now a heritage centre with exhibits displaying the history of Carlingford from Viking times to the present day.

Carlingford 2

7.  Carlingford Lough at dusk…still and silent and simply beautiful.

Carlingford Lough

8.Ruby Ellen’s Tea Rooms – the perfect little spot to warm up with tea and a scone on a bright but chilly morning.

Ruby Ellen's Tea Rooms

9. Ghan House, a beautiful listed Georgian house built in 1727 by a Dublin politician of Scottish descent. We enjoyed really good food here, the staff were very welcoming and after exploring the town all day, we returned here to settle down for an hour in front of a cosy fire with a glass of red wine and a great selection of books to keep us company. Total bliss!

Early morning at Ghan House

Ghan House Carlingford

The garden at Ghan House, with views across to Holy Trinity Church and Slieve Foy

Ghan House

The lounge

Ghan House Carlingford

Ghan House at night

Ghan House Carlingford

10. This sign 🙂

leprechaun sign

All in all, we really enjoyed our short break in Carlingford and would definitely return to explore more of the area. The weather dramatically changed on the Sunday making sightseeing much less appealing, such are the vagaries of Irish weather. I imagine, though, a summer break here would be lovely as there are plenty of walks to take as well as the ferry across Carlingford lough.

Useful links

Ghan House

Visit Carlingford

Have a lovely Sunday x


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