Do you believe in fairies and giants?

By ELEANOR MCGILLIE 15 March, 2017

VISITORS coming to Northern Ireland have a plethora of places to explore in Northern Ireland. While you’re here, I promise you will enjoy a magical hunt for fairies and giants! Eleanor McGillie went on a magical mystery tour of Sliabh Gullion.

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Slieve Gullion (Sliabh Gullion) is a mountain in the south of County Armagh, Northern Ireland. The mountain is the heart of the Ring of Gullion and is the highest point in the county with an elevation of 573 metres.

The views from the top are spectacular but it’s what lies beneath which is a major pull.

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This place is intriguing and, although it’s only in the last few years locals have really starting using it as a huge playground, it remains a gem which should be explored by everyone because there are fairies and giants to be hunted down and the clues are in the landscape.

A group of us went in January when there had been a heavy enough dump of snow. It was cold but it was absolutely stunning because this is a place where you can roam tranquil woodland trails, lose yourself in the views across the Ring of Gullion, Mourne Mountains, the Cooley Peninsula and Armagh Drumlins and enjoy the top class facilities for hikers and families.

This is considered the most ambitious children’s arts project commissioned in Northern Ireland. The Giant’s Lair at Slieve Gullion, is open to boys, girls, elves and fairies. This is a must-visit attraction.

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The Giant’s Lair Story Trail takes visitors on an unforgettable journey of intertwined fairy house and arts features creating a fantastical childhood land of mystery, dragons, giants, witches and fairies. The art in the Giant’s Lair is all inspired by the rich tapestry of local legend and mythical folklore on over a mile of woodlands at Slieve Gullion Forest Park – and believe me, it’s plentiful.

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I am not joking when I say that it’s unclear whether the adults with me, or the 15 children, enjoyed this adventure the most. We all took great fun in following  in the footsteps of Flynn the mischievous fairy, who has one important job – not to allow anyone to wake Slieve Gullion. Not an easy task. It might look like a mountain but truth be told it’s really a sleeping giant!

This is top class. It’s enchanting and mysterious and because we were there in January, we were able to have a good old fashioned snowball fight.

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This mountain is magical. You just have to look at this view captured by my friend and photographer Rebecca Nicholson or RHG Photography.

Anyone coming to Northern Ireland for the North West 200 will love it here. Not only is there so much to explore in the mountain but there is so much to explore with the Slieve Gullion Scenic Drive through 10km of woodland and mountain heath with bursts of colour along the way.

The Scenic Drive is open to public vehicles and car parking is available in the main car park beside the play park and courtyard. For visitors using the mountain walking trail, a separate car park at the top of the scenic drive has recently been upgraded.

The sights along the route are simply beautiful. A way-marked trail leads from the scenic drive to the ancient passage tomb on the south summit of Slieve Gullion, continuing on to Cailleach Beara’s Lough and Bronze Age tomb and down the north side of the mountain.

Live It Experience It’ is a group of journalists and travel writers who tell the story of our members. We work  collaboratively with our members, which are tourism businesses, to promote Northern Ireland through water, air and land based activities, food and drink and great places to stay. Together we let our visitors know of all of the amazing things Northern Ireland has to offer.  To become a member business in of ‘Live It Experience It’ call our office on 028 3756 8436 or please submit your information through our online form. T&Cs apply –  Sign Up Here Let us tell your story! Live It Experience It is the NW200 tourism partner for 2018. 

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Eleanor McGillie

About Eleanor McGillie

Eleanor spent eight years working in the south west of England - one of the UK's most popular tourism hotspots. During her stint working with key players in the tourism sector she developed a love for all things outdoor adventure. As a journalist she got to travel to remote corners of the world to write travel features about the experiences of a particular place. Northern Ireland's story needs to be told and needs to reach new audiences. Live It Experience It aims to attract tourists from outside Ireland, people from Ireland and people who live in Northern Ireland but aren't aware of the extent of the adventures on our own doorsteps. Eleanor is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) at Associate Level