Over the summer, I entered the Irish Farmers’ Journal Country Living’s Local Treasures writing competition. They were encouraging people to write about a place that they went to over lockdown that people in general might not know about. When I saw the competition on social media, I immediately thought of Yellow Water, outside the Co Down town of Rostrevor. In October, much to my surprise, I was announced as the winner! My entry was published on 8th October in the weekly farming All-Ireland publication. Since then, friends have text me to say they took their kids there and they never knew about it before. Here is my entry in full – maybe it will encourage you to visit if you haven’t been before!
Yellow Water is such a hidden gem in the Mourne Mountains – it doesn’t even have a brown sign!
A friend told me about it a few years ago and I’ve been telling others since, it’s such a picturesque, peaceful place to visit.
Driving from Hilltown, County Down, take the Leitrim Road which some diehard Game of Thrones fans may have travelled on to reach Leitrim Lodge at which some episodes where filmed from. Drive past the car park for a few miles and you might see reindeer out for a walk – even in July! They reside at Santa’s cottage which has a beautiful wildflower garden in the summer and is open during the festive period for tea with the man himself. A few more miles down the road and a small car park will appear on your left hand side. There aren’t a lot of spaces so park on the road carefully if none are available in the park. As you get out of your car, you will hear the gentle flow of the river and you will notice the colour is unusual – yes, it’s a little bit yellow!
A path across the wooden bridge leads up to another bridge – cross and you can walk through the forest towards Leitrim Lodge or turn right and you can reach Kilbroney Park in Rostrevor. There is also a third option, walk upwards and find large stone boulders and a waterfall. Depending on when rain last fell, the force and therefore sound can be quite dramatic. Beneath it is a large pool which people dive into on a good day.
The path towards Kilbroney Park is suitable for bikes and walkers alike. After a while, the large trees create a cathedral style walkway as you step into a different world and the magnitude of the forest will make you feel like Stuart Little. Enjoy the silence except for the rustle of the leaves and marvel as you look up at the height of the tree tops. After a while, the trees stop for a while and if it is sunny, you can bask in the rays as a view of the Carlingford Lough makes an appearance along with the Cooley Mountains. It is about a three mile walk to Kilbroney Park from Yellow Water car park.
When you return, there are picnic tables in the car park to enjoy a cuppa after the walk as you listen to the river flowing. If you are exploring the Mournes this summer, definitely take time to discover Yellow River. If you are in County Louth, you can take the Carlingford ferry across the Lough and make a stop at the Yellow River. You won’t be disappointed!
This article was written by purplerain