By Nadia Williams
Dundalk
Ireland
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Nestled at the foot of the Cooley Mountains, Dundalk’s unique location has seen it entwined in some of Ireland’s most important events, both historical and legendary. Situated half way between Dublin and Belfast on the country’s east coast, the largest town in Ireland offers a variety of sights and experiences for tourists, whether your interest is in adventure or sightseeing.

Booking your flight is easy with EscapeWizard.com: follow the link to start your Irish adventure. Just click here to start your search for low fares (www.escapewizard.com/flight.php). EscapeWizard.com suggests you book accommodation in Dundalk as an alternative to busy Dublin or Belfast. It’s easy to do online with the help of EscapeWizard.com, simply follow the link provided (www.escapewizard.com/hotels.php?flag=htl) to choose one of the numerous quality hotels, guesthouses or B&Bs in Dundalk. The town can be reached from either city’s international airport by bus or hired car. While Belfast lies in the UK, and Dublin in Ireland, travel between the two is hassle-free, with no border posts or even indications of crossing from one to the other except a sign that speed limits change from miles/kilometres per hour. However, you should check visa requirements for both the UK and Ireland if you plan to visit both.

Like all Irish towns, Dundalk has pubs galore, most of which serve light lunches, or thick soup with traditional Irish wheaten bread. Sample some Guinness, the local lager, Harp, or have a cup of tea or coffee. Completed in November 2005, Marshes Shopping Centre was designed to blend, from the outside, with the appearance of the town. It holds a variety of clothes shops, jewellers, a pharmacy and supermarket.

EscapeWizard.com recommends you continue your explorations by visiting Carlingford, a twenty minute drive from Dundalk. Established by Vikings more than 1200 years ago, this is now one of the best preserved medieval towns in Ireland. Visitors can enjoy a walk down a narrow, cobbled medieval street flanked by ancient stone buildings, to the intact town gate where prisoners once languished in a dank, barred room. A stone’s throw away is the old Dominican Friary, and back toward the harbour lays the ruin of King John’s castle.

The more active visitor can avail of the services of Carlingford Adventure Centre, which offers activities such as sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, abseiling, rock climbing and night walking. Carlingford lies at the foot of Slieve Foy, the tallest peak in the Cooley range. Hiking enthusiasts can make their way to the top, from where you can see as far as the Dublin mountains on a clear day.

Returning to Dundalk can be an experience in itself. EscapeWizard.com suggests driving along the edge of Lough Carlingford to take in the natural beauty of this serene area. Officially, you’ll enter the UK as you go into Newry, yet tourists would be hard put to mark exactly where the border is. From Newry it’s a short hop along the M1 motorway back to Dundalk.

North of the Cooleys lie the Mourne mountains, an official area of outstanding natural beauty. This range, while nowhere near as tall as most American mountains, provides many opportunities for rock climbers to explore the grey granite. In Ireland, few bolted routes exist, if any. Those less keen on traditional climbing can visit the Tollymore Mountain Centre and practice their skills on an indoor climbing wall. EscapeWizard.com recommends those keen on scaling rock faces use mountaineering.ie or mourneclimbers.com (which has a link to the Northern Climbers’ forum) to get in touch with local climbers.

Ireland is known for its golf courses, and Dundalk is host to some of the best. Over and above Dundalk’s own course, you can swing your club at the Ballymascanlon, Greenore, and Killin Park courses, among others.

After all the exploring, you may feel like some entertainment. While not famed for its nightlife, the town has a lot to offer after sundown. Park Street in Dundalk is lined with quaint pubs, restaurants, and nightclubs. You could take in a bit of theatre at the An Taín, or see a film at the small cinema.

From Dundalk, it’s easy to reach Belfast, Dublin and Galway. Follow the links for EscapeWizard.com’s guides to these exciting destinations.
Hotels in Dundalk
By Rose Overbey
Crowne Plaza
Green Park, Inner Relief Road, Dundalk, Ireland
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Located along the Irish Sea and between Ireland’s two popular cities, Dublin and Belfast, the Crowne Plaza Dundalk Ireland is the perfect place to stay on your trip to Ireland. The hotel also offers beautiful views of the Mourne Mountains. The hotel is also located nearby popular horse racing and greyhound racing tracks, and the hotel offers a package for guests who want to enjoy these local attractions.

The Crowne Plaza Dundalk Ireland offers guests many wonderful amenities inside it’s 14 stories.  A recently renovated health and fitness center offers guests the chance to work out in the hotel. If guests prefer a more extensive gym, the hotel offers guests the opportunity to work out at an off-site center. The hotel also offers guests a variety of housekeeping services on top of daily room service. There is dry cleaning and laundry pick up, as well as same day dry cleaning. Guests can also get their shoes shined at the hotel.

For guests travelling on business won’t miss a beat. The Crowne Plaza Dundalk offers guests a full service business center that features a PC, printer, copying, fax and even a mobile phone rental. There are also nine meeting rooms available, from intimate settings, a 400 theatre style room.

The hotel offers guests two restaurants for fine dining. The Fourteen Below Bar, is a ground floor restaurant that offers a wide variety of food, from wok dishes, to tapas and even sandwiches.  It’s a very chic and stylish setting, but still a very comfortable place to unwind. The other restaurant is the called the Fahrenheit Roof Top Restaurant. It is on the 13th floor and it offers diners beautiful views of the Mourne Mountains and Dundalk Bay. This relaxed atmosphere is the perfect place to enjoy the delicious, quality food the restaurant serves.  The kitchen is also open, so guests can see their dishes created in front of them.

Guests can choose from three different room set-ups. There is the basic guest room, the executive club level and a suite. Each room offers turndown service, cable TV and in room movies. There is a well-appointed mini bar, and a tea maker. The rooms are comfortable and sure to accommodate any guest’s needs.

The rooms are luxurious and the staff is happy to handle your needs.  EscapeWizard.com highly recommends booking your hotel room at the Crowne Plaza Dundalk Ireland. You’re sure to enjoy your visit. You can do so by following this link (www.escapewizard.com/hotels.php?flag=htl).