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An extraordinarily beautiful dune landscape

Murlough National Nature Reserve is a fragile 6000 year old sand dune system 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 and the Mourne Mountains.

There is a network of paths and boardwalks through the dunes, woodland and heath from where you will see an array of butterflies and wild flowers, as well as access to one of the finest beaches in Co. Down.

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, one of which, the Marsh Fritillary butterfly, is of European importance. The site is internationally important for wintering wildfowl and waders.

Summer walks

Murlough National Nature Reserve heathland © Rebecca Stevenson

Murlough National Nature Reserve heathland

At this time of year there's nothing quite like a walk at Murlough, particularly when the bluebells are colouring the landscape and the song of the cuckoo can be heard in the distance. Summer is a great time to walk the trails and a brilliant way to see the wildlife that Murlough has to offer.

Download one of our walking trails.

Murlough north point nature trail

Murlough south end nature trail

Upcoming events

  • null © National Trust/Murlough

    Summer bounty walk

    Renew and refresh your senses with a guided walk along Murlough Bay.

  • Murlough National Nature Reserve Week on the Wildside © Murlough National Nature Reserve

    Week on the wildside

    Children will love the range of activities on offer - enjoy summer fun at Murlough.

  • Marsh fritillary at Murlough NNR © Murlough National Nature Reserve

    Butterflies and moths

    Learn about the management and conservation of Murlough's amazing butterflies and moths. 

Array of wildlife delights


The home of the marsh fritillary butterfly and an array of wildlife delights. Watch out for our day flying moths - the cinnabar and the six-spot burnet moth can be found in abundance.

Bring your camera and snap some shots of our many species of birds and butterflies.

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