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Places to Stay between Belfast and Dublin (Driving by car)

Places to Stay between Belfast and Dublin (Driving by car)

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Australia
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This is my families first trip to Ireland (have a 3 year old).

We are driving and are looking for some advice.

Which town/city do you suggest we stay to break up our drive between Belfast and Dublin? 

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.



Posted Sat 11 Aug 2018 2:03 PM
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Island of Ireland
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Hi Caterina!

Lovely to hear you'll be coming over to Ireland for a road trip and will be taking your toddler along!

Have you decided on a route yet? There's a really scenic drive to be taken between Belfast and Dublin. I'd suggest skipping the main road to Dublin, but instead taking the smaller roads towards Portaferry along beautiful Strangford Lough with its many little islands. The ferry between Portaferry and Strangford will only take you around five minutes. From Strangford, continue to Downpatrick - the place where St. Patrick is buried in the cathedral. From there, drive on to Newcastle, by the rolling Mourne Mountains (great for a hike!), down to Kilkeel and on to Warrenpoint. 

Close to the road to Dublin, there are another two highlights which are not to be missed and will only require a small detour. Between Dundalk and Drogheda, you'll find the remains of Monasterboice, which boasts one of the most impressive high Celtic crosses on the island. A bit further down south, the Boyne Valley with its century-old castles and even older prehistoric burial mounds are waiting to immerse you in history.

Any of the places mentioned will prove a great break of the drive. You can check out approved accommodation using our search tool.

For some fun kid activities, I've created this personal Scrapbook for you. 

I hope this is of some help, and I'm sure some other members will jump in with some other suggestions!

Joris

Posted Sat 11 Aug 2018 6:29 PM
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Thank you Joris! That really helps. Looking forward to planning our trip.
Posted Sun 12 Aug 2018 1:26 PM
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Hi Joris,

I have a 3 year old too and the journey from Belfast to Dublin takes about 2 hours in a car if you go via the motorway and is possible in one go if you can catch them at nap time. If you do need to stop, there are a few good motorway stops if you need loo stops ! 
1) Applegreen Service Station just outside Belfast
2) Sainsburys in Lisburn - large supermarket, toilets just inside the main door, cafe on site.
3) Applegreen in Castlebellingham - toilets, showers, food, indoor play area.
3) Applegreen in Lusk - same as Castlebellingham.

However, as the other poster suggested, the journey is fantastic if you go off the motorway route, here are my kids favourites and they aren't too far off the main road :
Kilbroney Forest Park just outside Rostrevor, on the coast of County Down. They have a Narnia trail through the forest and it's a fun walk to stretch the legs and see the sites from CS Lewis' the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe book. There is also a really good playground and cafe beside the carpark. The views are fabulous. It is said that CS Lewis took inspiration from this landscape for his description of Narnia in his books.

The Giant's Lair at Slieve Gullion Forest Park is also an excellent stop. It''s just past Newry if you are coming from Belfast. Fab playground and cafe beside the car park but if you walk up through the woods to the left of the playground you'll go through a fairy door and into the fairy woods, it's a magical place with plenty to keep a 3 year old (and parents) enchanted. 
Both are free entry and are amazing facilities. My kids (and I) love going there.

Sandra
Posted Tue 21 Aug 2018 12:49 PM
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Hello Caterina.

How are you? We haven't heard from you in a while, so I thought of dropping you a message to check on how the trip went. I am very keen to hear about what you managed to see and do throughout your visit. Feel free to share your experience and suggestions with us in Tell your Story forum.

Have a nice day.

Francesco
Posted Tue 2 Apr 2019 8:21 AM
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