If you haven’t yet visited the Ancient Cathedral City of Armagh, now is the time to hotfoot it and enjoy a summer ramble around one of the most visually stunning and historically intriguing locations on the island of Ireland. From pre-historic landscapes to an unmatched Georgian architecture, modern day Armagh is built against a rich backdrop of antiquity as seen through its iconic buildings and beautiful open spaces.
As with any city, the best way to get to know Armagh is by foot. Meander down cobbled alleyways and uncover hidden city gems as you go, stumble upon the splendour of the city’s Georgian architecture, step back in time at some of the city’s most historical landmarks or head for the hills and ramble through the rolling countryside whilst immersing yourself in dramatic landscapes and breath-taking scenery. With the delights of Armagh city’s vibrant city just a quick step away, it’s the perfect place for a summer adventure with the family or for the solo traveller.
Check out our guide to some of the best walks in the borough…
Escape the city at The Mall
Located in the heart of Armagh, The Mall is a key attraction for anyone who loves to enjoy an oasis in the city centre. Once a venue for horseracing, cock-fighting and even bull-baiting back in the 19th century, today the Georgian landscaped park is now a top walking spot for locals and visitors alike. Conveniently located, The Mall is the perfect spot to start further exploration of the city, with many of Armagh’s visitor attractions just a stone’s throw away. With a 3.9-mile route, a walk through the grassy expanse will see you hit an energetic 9,000 steps, all the while surrounded by some of the city’s famous buildings. Enjoy statues and sculptures along the way as you roam the Armagh Courthouse and Gaol before taking in Armagh County Museum and the beautiful Georgian terraces of Charlemont Place.
Address: The Pavilion, The Mall W, Armagh BT61 9AJ
Take a spiritual walk at Palace Demesne
A short walk from the heart of Armagh city centre sits the undulating parkland of the Palace Demesne, one of the glories of Armagh and the residence of the Archbishops of the Church of Ireland from 1770 to 1975. Spanning some 300 acres, the Demesne itself is the creation of Archbishop Richard Robinson. With ambitions to make Armagh a city worthy of being Ireland’s Christian capital, Archbishop Robinson became known as ‘the builder of Armagh’ and after a visit to the Demesne you’ll see just why. Once a venue for boxing matches and horse racing, the Demesne has been transformed to a heavenly utopia, with magnificent meadows and formal gardens including a ‘Garden of the Senses’ providing a unique and engaging sensory experience. With a modern play park and outdoor gym, there’s something for everyone to enjoy a memorable summer walk in the great outdoors.
Address: Palace Demesne & Public Park, Armagh BT60 4EN
Soak Up the City with an Official Guided Walking Tour
Unravel the mysteries of the ancient city soaked in myths, legends, history and heritage and discover the story of the city and its citizens from the pre-Christian era right up to modern day times with a guided walking tour. A leisurely walk will take you through the city centre’s main attractions, spanning a 1km route. This 90-minute tour starts at Armagh County Museum and, along the way, your guide will entertain you with facts and anecdotes as they escort you towards the Hill of Armagh, where you will be treated to a feast for the eyes with the panoramic vistas from Ard Mhacha, height of Macha.
Address: The Mall East, Armagh BT61 9BE
Walk in the footsteps of ancient ancestors at Navan Fort
Take the opportunity to intertwine history and a hike with a visit to Navan Fort. The impressive earth mound offers fantastic views over Saint Patrick’s city or, for a lighter ramble, take in the charming woodland walk that circles its base. Navan Fort is believed to be a site of pre-Christian significance. Its Gaelic name, Eamhain Mhacha, gives reference to Irish mythology and Navan Fort is said to have once been the headquarters of the Red Branch knights of the king of Ulster, Conchobar mac Nessa. If history is your thing, it’s the perfect place to step back in time.
Address: 81 Killylea Rd, Armagh BT60 4LD
Become enchanted with Gosford Forest Park’s trails
Not far from the village of Markethill is Gosford Forest Park. Rich in wild, rugged beauty and abundant in flora and fauna, it offers some of the best walks and hikes in Armagh. With multiple enchanting forest trails to choose from, visitors will be spoiled for choice and enamoured by this park’s beauty. The Gosford Forest Park Circular Walk takes visitors on a stunning forest trail through the grounds of a former country house, wander past ponds and pretty gardens, before spotting views of the 19th century Gosford Castle. The park also offers a number of top facilities from playparks and family mountain biking to horse and walking trails. For a more active family day out, explore the 590 acres of woodland, grassland, streams and forest trails by mountain bike or saddle up for a spectacular horse-riding trek.
Address: Gosford Forest Park, Markethill BT60 1GD
Take a Pilgrim’s Journey at Saint Patrick’s Way
For serious walkers or Saint Patrick enthusiasts, the pilgrim’s pursuit is one of the best walks in the island of Ireland. Starting in Armagh and ending in Downpatrick, this trek is sizable at some 131 kilometres (82 miles) in length. The route begins at the Navan Centre and travels through key sites associated with Ireland’s Christian heritage and Saint Patrick. The endpoint? Not surprisingly, the trek finishes up at the resting place of the man himself. Not for the faint-hearted, the route is popular with groups and pilgrims alike and it offers some of the best scenery in Ireland. Every pilgrim walk is rewarded – a pilgrim’s passport system is in place to bring an added dimension to your experience. Stamp your “passport” along the route and walk away with a souvenir that documents your journey.
Address: 81 Killylea Rd, Armagh BT60 4LD
Get Energised at Loughgall Country Park
Set on 188 hectares of open farmland, orchard and ‘lough’, visitors will feel they have truly escaped it all with a trip to Loughgall Country Park. The Orchard Walk covers 2 miles across paths within the spectacular natural surroundings of the park, and form part of the Highway to Health walking routes, a series of waymarked walks throughout Northern Ireland. A rural haven, Loughgall Country Park also has a range of activities on offer from golf and fishing to adventure and cycling trails, an outdoor gym, football and tennis.
Address: Loughgall, Armagh, BT61 8HZ
Or, why not go beyond the city to explore some of the borough’s best walking trails…
Go big – lose yourself in Northern Ireland’s largest park
Spanning over 259 acres, it probably comes as no surprise that Lurgan Park offers some of the best walks and hikes around. Expect winding woodlands and manicured lawns that dance their ways around forest trails. With thriving native wildlife and tonnes of activities, including tennis courts, rowboat hires, and fishing spots, this is a great place to enjoy with family and friends alike.
Address: Windsor Ave, Lurgan, Craigavon BT67 9BG, United Kingdom
Experience Tranquility at Solitude Park
The urban park at the heart of Banbridge covers 10.5 acres in the town centre. A perfect place to relax, visitors can escape the hustle and bustle of the town and enjoy the tranquility of the River Bann as it moves through the park. Refurbished in 2009, Solitude Park comes complete with the beautiful ‘Ornamental Gardens’ that reflect the area’s proud industrial heritage and the crucial work of the historic linen mills and railway line. With a state-of-the-art children’s play area, the Green Flag Award winning park is a great option for a peaceful stroll and a way to get away from it all.
Address: Solitude Park, 48 Rathfriland Road, Banbridge, BT32 3LA
Bask in the Splendour of Summer at The Argory
Built in the 1820s, The Argory is now a National Trust property and visitors from across the island of Ireland flock to see its beautiful gardens and 320-acre wooded estate bordering the River Blackwater. A range of walks will suit every ability of visitor, from a wander round the gardens to exploring the woodland and riverside trails. Dogs are welcome on leads in the grounds and gardens. For more outdoors fun, The Argory is also home to an adventure playground and environmental sculpture train.
Address: The Argory, 144 Derrycaw Road, Dungannon, BT71 6NA
For more information or walking trail inspiration, visit www.visitarmagh.com