tollymore forest park

The other day, hubs took me to Tollymore Forest Park. It’s 1600 acres of fantastic [mostly] wilderness located at the foot of the Mourne Mountains in County Down, Northern Ireland, about an hour away from Belfast.

When we were almost there, I noticed  a wooded hill about a mile off the main road with something that looked suspiciously like a Norman castle peeking out of it. It was. We stopped at it on the way back and I had a wee nosy and took some photos. You can read my Dundrum Castle post here.

It’s worth mentioning that Tollymore Forest Park is one of the Northern Ireland locations where Game of Thrones is filmed. Parts of Dracula Untold were also filmed here. Funnily enough, we crossed paths (literally) with a GoT tour group who were all dressed up in their furs and capes. I should have secretly snapped a photo but I did not.

Here are some of the photos I took that day, but they hardly do the place justice.

A view of the Mourne Mountains from Tollymore Forest Park

A view of the Mourne Mountains from Tollymore Forest Park

Gothic-style Barbican gate entrance built in 1780

Gothic-style Barbican gate entrance built in 1780

Horn Bridge - one of the first bridges you come to when you enter the park.

Horn Bridge – one of the first bridges you come to when you enter the park.

The path just across Horn Bridge

The path just across Horn Bridge

The Shimna River

The Shimna River

The Hermitage built in 1770

The Hermitage built in 1770

A slightly closer photo of the Hermitage on the Shimna River

A slightly closer photo of the Hermitage on the Shimna River

The Shimna River

The Shimna River

The Shimna River

The Shimna River

Parnell's Bridge - You can see this bridge in the very first episode (and some subsequent episodes) of Game of Thrones, which is largely filmed in Northern Ireland

Parnell’s Bridge built in 1842 – You can see this bridge in the very first episode (and some subsequent episodes) of Game of Thrones, which is largely filmed in Northern Ireland

A close-up of the arch of Parnell's Bridge

A close-up of the arch of Parnell’s Bridge

The Shimna River... again. It's beautiful here.

The Shimna River… again. It’s beautiful here.

The air is crisp and clean here and smells of spruces and firs and cedars.

The air is crisp and clean here and smells of spruces and firs and cedars.

I could live here.

I could live here.

Some bees decided to have a Very Important Meeting right at the edge of one of the paths. This cluster was about 18" from top to bottom.

Some bees decided to have a Very Important Meeting right at the edge of one of the paths. This cluster was about 18″ from top to bottom.

A close-up of the bees. I actually did get closer to them instead of zooming in with the camera. A few of them flew over to me to investgate but must have decided I wasn't a threat because i received no bee wrath.

A close-up of the bees. I actually did get closer to them instead of zooming in with the camera. A few of them flew over to me to investgate but must have decided I wasn’t a threat because i received no bee wrath.

The centre of Ivy Bridge, built in 1780... obviously.

The centre of Ivy Bridge, built in 1780… obviously.

Another view of the Shimna River

Another view of the Shimna River

A Grey Heron on the Shimna River. It wasn't terribly concerned about me and let me snap a few photos while it walked around looking for trout.

A Grey Heron on the Shimna River. It wasn’t terribly concerned about me and let me snap a few photos while it walked around looking for trout.

The grey Heron closer up.

The grey Heron closer up.

Another view of the Mournes as we were making our way back to the car park.

Another view of the Mournes as we were making our way back to the car park.


I had packed us some sandwiches and drinks, and we made a day of it. What a beautiful place! I’d like to go back again sometime because I didn’t get to see everything I wanted to see, and maybe next time I’ll take some sort of map with us because we sorta kinda got lost-ish in the woods and had to estimate our way back to civilisation. It’s a good thing i was a Girl Scout for those 10 years (or so).  🙂

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