The Cooley Peninsula is Louth’s most hyped tourist destination – though all told it doesn’t quite match up to the glories often claimed in its name. It’s true that the mountains and surrounding rich verdure offer great walking territory and many a stunning seascape, but the countryside lacks the raw, rugged and often downright exhilarating feel of the Mournes over the other side of Carlingford Lough. That said, there’s still plenty here to delight, even if Carlingford village itself has somewhat meretriciously cashed in on its waterside location and, like much of the coast road, features unattractive modern housing developments. From Dundalk, off the N1 Newry road, the R173 skirts the southern slopes of the mountains, taking in flat, dull countryside on the way, while the approach from Newry on the same road, runs first beside the canal, before meeting the lough shore itself, with the peninsula’s mountains ascending to the south.

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