The foothills of the Mournes around Castlewellan are ideal for cycling, with panoramic vistas and very little traffic. In these parts, the perfect year-round outfitter is Ross Cycles, 44 Clarkhill Rd. (028/4377-8029), signposted from the Clough-Castlewellan Road, .8km ([bf]1/2 mile) out of Castlewellan. The shop carries mountain bikes for the whole family, including children’s seats. You can park and ride, or request local delivery. Daily rates start at around £10, with family and weekly rates available.
The Ards Peninsula’s loughs and offshore waters are a diver’s dream—remarkably clear and littered with wrecks. One of Europe’s finest training centers, DV Diving, 138 Mount Stewart Rd., Newtownards, County Down (www.dvdiving.co.uk; 028/9186-1686), offers diving courses.
For info, tackle, and bait, try the Village Tackle Shop, 55a Newtownbreda Rd., Belfast (www.villagetackleshopbelfast.co.uk; 028/9049-1916), or Kelly Hardware, 54 Market St., Downpatrick, County Down (www.kellyhardwaredownpatrick.co.uk; 028/4461-2193). Sea-fishing trips from Portaferry into the waters of Strangford Lough and along the County Down coast are organized by Norsemaid Sea Enterprises, 152 Portaferry Rd., Newtownards, County Down (www.salutay.co.uk; 078/3113-5298). Reservations are required. To outfit yourself and fish for rainbow trout year-round, visit Ballygrangee Trout Fishery, Mountstewart Road, Carrowdore, County Down (028/4278-8883).
Royal County Down ★, Newcastle, County Down (www.royalcountydown.org; 028/4372-3314), is nestled in huge sand dunes with the Mountains of Mourne in the background. This 18-hole, par-71 championship course was created in 1889 and is still considered to be among the best. Greens fees are £220 to £240, depending on the day and time of year. (In winter and early spring, prices drop to £85–£125.) Not too far away, the Kilkeel Golf Club, Mourne Park, Ballyardle, Kilkeel (www.kilkeelgolfclub.org; 028/4176-5095), is a beautiful parkland course on the historic Kilmorey Estate. Greens fees are around £20 to £35, less on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.