Newcastle, County Down, the lovely little town where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea. It is about fifteen miles from Rathfriland to Newcastle. There are several ways to get there, including a very scenic route through the mountains, but the most direct route is through Castlewellan. Going this way we pass the Lough Island Reavy reservoir.
Newcastle is a thriving holiday resort with several caravan sites, hotels and bed and breakfast establishments. There are many cafes, hot food take-aways, restaurants and ice-cream shops. On a good day it's a great place to visit. Unfortunately there are a limited number of good weather days for visiting Newcastle! Sometimes it can be very blustery and cold but isn't that the way with most UK seaside towns?
Rain or shine, the husband and I usually make a weekly trip to Newcastle; more often during the summer months.
We aren't really interested in the touristy things like these swan boats.
These are situated in a park that is built at the side of the Shimna River just before it empties into the sea. It isn't a very big river, as you can see. Most of the time that is. When there is heavy rain or snow melting up in the mountains, it swells considerably.
We like to walk along the promenade and just take in the sights; see what everyone else is up to. Here are some pictures taken as we walked along the promenade one evening this summer. This first one shows the highest peak in the Mournes range - Slieve Donard.
|A second plane - the red one didn't mysterially turn yellow!|
There is a simple stone memorial on Newcastle North Promenade to commemorate another flight. In 1910 Harry Ferguson made a flight along Newcastle beach to win the £100 prize offered by the town's Sports Committee for the first powered flight over a minimum distance of two miles. His first attempt ended badly but he persevered and, eventually, according to a contemporary newspaper report, flew a distance of almost three miles along the foreshore at a low altitude varying between 50 and 150 feet.
Water sports are also popular.
|Is he playing a guitar?|
There's yacht sailing too. You can see the wee harbour at the right.
Another really big attraction for tourists in Newcastle is the Royal County Down Golf Course, regarded as one of the best in the world. It is frequented mainly by Americans and is host to golf tournaments that attract the Who's Who of the professional golf world such as Tiger Woods and Tom Watson. The golf course is situated next to the enormous neo-gothic Slieve Donard Hotel. Some famous guests of the hotel include Charlie Chaplin and Desmond Tutu .
Now comes the big confession. One of the main reasons for the husband and I heading to Newcastle is the recently opened Base cafe. It stays open late all year round, something that very few other cafes do in our locality. It is very small but has a seating area in the basement that is very comfortable.
As we're normally in Base in the evening we take hot chocolate rather than coffee. It is the best hot chocolate I've had anywhere.
The art work was accidental! But it really pleased the person who made the hot chocolates as well as pleasing us. So much so that I took pictures of it!
So that was Newcastle. Our local seaside town. Hope you liked the quick, though rather belated, tour.