Must-visit beaches to paddle on this summer

It’s June and summertime has officially begun! Time for school holidays, day trips and spending every moment possible outdoors as we soak up our few months of Northern Ireland’s sunny summer weather!

Northern Ireland has miles and miles of coastline featuring some outstanding beaches, stunning scenery and fascinating wildlife, and whether you’re a long-time resident or a weekend visitor to Northern Ireland, our beaches are popular among everyone on beautiful summer days.

Of course, everyone has their favourites but we have put together a list of our favourite local beaches - our hidden favourites and they’re just a short journey from Dufferin Coaching Inn so you can enjoy them during your stay.

Ballyhornan Beach, Co Down

Northern Ireland natives under a certain age haven’t even heard of this place. Located just four miles from Ardglass, the height of activity in Ballyhornan came when Royal Air Force billets were built here for the nearby Bishopscourt air base. When the RAF moved out in the 1980s the area grew quieter and has been described as a lost village. Ballyhornan Beach is the real gem of the local area and, conveniently for walkers, it’s located on the Ulster Way. Thirsty day trippers can even stop off for refreshment in the nearby Cable Bar.

Kilclief Beach, Strangford

For a stunning view of the very mouth of Strangford Lough, you can’t do much better than Kilclief Beach. Kilclief is a tiny village tucked away on the loughshore but it does happen to have its very own castle which stands guards as you paddle in the blue waters. This beach is small but perfectly formed. On a clear day you can see the Isle of Man from the cliff path here.

Murlough Beach

A Blue Flag beach more than six kilometres  in length, a stroll along this coastline will certainly blow the cobwebs away. Nature lovers and bird watchers can take full advantage of the fact that the surrounding dunes are a National Nature Reserve. They feature, among other things, more than 600 species of butterflies and moths. Not a bad place to swim as there is an RNLI lifeguard service on-site in the summer months.

Coney Island

Who said a beach had to be beside the sea? Measuring just seven acres, this tiny island has a big following. It features in a Van Morrison song and was the location for the short film, The Shore. It’s just 1 kilometre  from the shore of Lough Neagh and used to be connected to the mainland by a causeway that can still be seen at low tide. The spot is easily overlooked but its picturesque setting is perfect for a picnic and a (short) walk.

Tyrella Beach

It might not exactly be a hidden treasure but there is a reason Tyrella is such a popular spot. A regular winner of the Blue Flag Award, Seaside Award and the Green Coast Award the beach is stuffed with amenities such as car-free and dog-free areas. It’s even on the South-East Canoe Trail.

Dufferin Coaching Inn is one of the closest places to stay to Tyrella so it’s certainly a must-see during your stay and the perfect spot for a picnic on the beach

What to pack for your Irish summer holiday

Describing the weather in Ireland as ‘unpredictable’ is a huge understatement! There really can be up to four seasons in the one day, so it is important to be prepared, whatever the weather.

If you are lucky enough to be visiting our wee island or if you are venturing off on a ‘staycation’ weekend, it is essential to pack properly for the occasion to avoid any weather mishaps or wardrobe malfunctions.

How to make a big deal out of a small wedding

For many couples, planning a wedding can be a stressful time. From menus to photographers to cars, wedding planning is a job in itself. Opting for a simpler wedding with fewer guests can help alleviate the stress and allows couples to have more time for one another in the lead up to the big celebration.

A more selective guest list does not mean less fun will be had. Fewer people can mean a more personal celebration. The intimate wedding can also come across as much more romantic and spontaneous! Here are a few ideas on how to make a big deal out of a small wedding...

Top secrets for a good night’s sleep

In need of more shut eye? Are you longing for a morning when you can wake up feeling rested and ready for the day? 

Seven to nine hours is often cited as the recommended daily dose of sleep for adults but, for some, the bare minimum can even prove difficult. This might be down to an overactive mind, hectic work schedule, busy household, a spate of insomnia… or all the above!

Hygge-lovers Andrew & Lauren celebrate their big day at Dufferin Hall

“I completely fell in love with Dufferin as soon as I stepped foot in it and knew it was the perfect venue for the cosy wedding I had envisaged,” says bride Lauren.

Newlyweds Andrew and Lauren Blair had a cosy and very personal wedding at Dufferin Hall last September after getting engaged on a romantic break in Iceland. The couple had been dating for two years before tying the knot and chose Dufferin Hall to gather together their nearest and dearest after a ceremony at a nearby church.

A Fairy-tale wedding with personal touches for Grace and Matt Evans

Grace & Matt Evans got married in a lovely autumn wedding on Saturday 19th November and chose to have their special reception among their closest friends and family in Dufferin Hall.  Their romance budded while working in Tesco during university nearly 14 years ago, and they have since lived together in London and now Dublin.