Murlough National Nature Reserve is a fragile 6000-year old sand dune system framed by the Mourne Mountains. The reserve is owned by the National Trust and managed as Ireland’s first Nature Reserve since 1967. It is an excellent area for walking and bird watching due to its spectacular location at the edge of Dundrum Bay. The Reserve features a network of paths and boardwalks through the dunes, woodland and heath that allow the visitor to walk among butterflies and wild flowers. The dune fields at Murlough are the best and most extensive example of dune heath within Ireland, with over 600 species of butterflies and moths. The site is also internationally important for wintering wildfowl and waders. There are also several accesses to one of the finest beaches in County Down – Murlough Beach.
This morning, Jeff and I drove to the village of Dundrum and parked the car at Keel Point. From here, the panorama was absolutely stunning: the vivid colours of Dundrum Bay with a low tide where remarkable and the skyline of the Mourne Mountains in the background added a scenic element. Despite being sunny, it was an extremely windy day: luckily, we were well covered. We started our walk by crossing the bridge over the bay. We followed the signage with the yellow arrow and arrived straight to the dunes. It was truly a fascinating walk, in the midst of an incredible mix of colours. The walk was very pleasant and eventually led to the beach. Here, the wind was so strong that walking was a bit of struggle. However, the view was all worth the effort.
In the end, we walked about 7 km, with the sun now hidden behind the clouds. When we reached the car we were exhausted by the wind, but we were very happy of having visited the Reserve. This is a must if you are vising Ireland.