After our recent pit-stop at Parkanaur (the only place in NI you can see white deer), we made a note that a proper adventure in the area was needed ASAP.

So when the team at Explore Omagh & Sperrins got in touch, pointing us in the direction of a few road trip routes (and us having a whole weekend free to explore) we jumped at the idea.

Accommodation and a bite to eat was plotted in… the rest of the adventure would be simply seeing where the roads would bring us.


….at the bottom of this article.

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After the usual Applegreen stop first thing in the morning to stock up on picnic supplies, we made a beeline to the Sperrins mountains area - about halfway between Omagh and Cookstown.


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An Creagán is a visitor centre just at the foot of the Sperrins - you’ll find a series of walking trails around the forest and boglands, plus various community project areas and exhibitions to explore. There’s also a restaurant and cottages on site if you’ve a bit longer to see the area.

After checking out inside the visitor centre, we headed off on the shorter walking trail…

What’s that song - if you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise?

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What a random, quirky, brilliant idea. One that both the small and big kids are sure to laugh at!


Legs sufficiently stretched and starting to feel a rumble in the tummies, we got another few miles behind us, venturing further into the Sperrins area.

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And if having a picnic with five inquisitive cows wasn’t enough, a few miles down the road we came across 20 chickens who wanted to play… chicken… with our car…

Definitely free-range!


The next few hours were spent dropping in and out of valleys, following leafy roads and winding rivers, crossing old stone bridges and fighting the urge to photograph absolutely everything.

This was probably our favourite road we stumbled across - somewhere in the “Barnes Gap” area, in the central Sperrins.

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A handy, easy map to download here shows the best drives.


We arrived at our hotel for the night just as the rain began to POUR.


That was the only exterior pic we got of the hotel as we dashed inside. You can see more here.


It’s what’s inside that counts anyway.

As the sun quickly disappeared on the day, we had a nosy around the spacious yet cosy room, before spending the night in the hotel’s lively restaurant and bar - O’Brien’s.

Brilliant variety on the menu - after the outdoor adventures earlier we craved simple, wholesome nosh.

Success ✔️

DAY 2…


With being five minutes away and not having been since primary school, we couldn’t pass it.

The blue skies returned for a Sunday morning two and a half hour stroll, following the 30-odd points on the map.

A series of interactive displays and themed characters along the way told us how life in Ireland was back then, when a mix of factors (the potato famine being just one) led to so many people venturing to America for a new life.

More info here.


Big thanks to those on Instagam who replied to our Story on the day, saying we should definitely go check out Gortin!

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Gortin Glen Forest Park sits at the western side of the Sperrins, about 6 miles north of Omagh.

The five mile long, one-way driving route through the forest is stunning - perfect for those wanting to see the area but maybe not having the time (or maybe mobility) to throw the old walking boots on.

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Stopping at one of the scenic lay-bys to get stuck into our flask of tea (and grab a few snaps)…

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…we saw something move in the bushes near us.

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Yes, we ran back to the car and put the engine on.

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This curious chap seemed friendly enough, but we weren’t taking any risks.

As we slowly drove past, he kept a keen eye to make sure we could equally be trusted.

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We sat for about 15 minutes watching as he grazed on the road behind us.

If the next car hadn’t scared him off, we’d probably still be there two weeks later.



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We rounded off the weekend with an early dinner at The Millstone Restaurant - about halfway between Gortin Glen Forest and Omagh.

Like last night, we wanted simple, warming food after the outdoor action earlier. And again, while we got it in the form of a great Sunday chicken roast and seafood chowder, let’s take a minute to admire these desserts first!

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That first tower of dreams is from a special, Malteaser meringue with caramel sauce. The other is an unbelievable banoffee pie. Full marks for both!


Thanks to all those who entered via our Facebook and Instagram channels.
The winner, drawn at random across all entries is…

(Details now in your message inbox Toni 👍)



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Giveaway Terms and Conditions (of which instructions form part)

1. Promotion is run by NI EXPLORER in conjunction with The Mellon Country Inn and Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh.

2. Giveaway open to Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland residents aged 18 years and over, except employees, families, agents or anyone professionally connected with the NI EXPLORER, The Mellon Country Inn and Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh.

3. By entering, you agree to be contacted by the parties involved about the giveaway and for the parties to use the information submitted for any purpose in connection with the promotion.

4. Giveaway starts on Tuesday 6th November 2018 at 2pm and closes on Monday 12th November 2018 at 11.59am.

5. There is one prize consisting of:

- an overnight stay for two people in The Mellon Country Inn - must be taken between Sunday to Thursday (subject to availability) and before 31st March 2019.

- entry for two people to the Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh (again, must be taken before 31st March 2019).

Transport to/from the locations is not included in this giveaway.

6. Entry to the giveaway is by mentioning on the Facebook or Instagram post which friend you would bring, if you were selected as the winner.

7. Entrants can enter as many times as they like – winner will be selected at random across all entries on Facebook and Instagram.

8. The winner will be announced on this page. Winner will be contacted by private message on the social platform they entered, and have 48 hours to accept prize, otherwise a new winner will be drawn.

9. Winner’s contact details will be passed to The Mellon Country Inn and Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh to arrange the prize.

10. Prize is not transferable and no cash alternatives in whole or in part are available.

11. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook or Instagram. By entering this promotion you understand that you are providing your information to the parties involved and not to Facebook or Instagram. Your information will not be used for any other purpose than to be contacted if you have been chose as the winner.

12. NI EXPLORER, The Mellon Country Inn and Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh reserve the right to vary, alter or terminate this promotion due to unforeseen circumstances. The decision of NI EXPLORER is final and binding and no correspondence shall be entered into.