The beauty of the Foyle and Carlingford sea areas is best appreciated from the water.
Lough Foyle is only a few hours sail from the Scottish isles! Sailing into the lough past the twin sentinels of Magilligan and Greencastle Martello Towers (graceful stone artillery forts built to protect these shores from invasion) the cruise passenger will marvel at the beauty of one of Ireland's largest sea loughs, bounded by the Donegal hills of the Inishowen peninsula to the west and the stark fastness of Benevenagh's cliffs to the east.
Cruising through the Narrows into the River Foyle, ships will pass wooden jetties near the modern commercial port of Lisahally. This is where the Atlantic U-Boat fleet of the German navy arrived to surrender at the end of hostilities in 1945, a mere flavour of the wartime and general maritime history of this area!
Once berthed in the centre of Derry or Londonderry, take a stroll along the top of the 400 year old city walls, taking in the superb views and absorbing the ambience of this lively, historic city; tour the historic neo-gothic style Guildhall, viewing fabulous stained glass windows and intricate woodwork; spend some time in the Tower Museum and learn about the Spanish Armada wrecks off these coasts; sneak some quiet time in the majestic solitude of St Columbs cathedral; venture back on the water on board the Toucan One cruise boat; visit the Workhouse Museum to discover the role played by the city in World War Two; relax under the spreading oaks of Saint Columb's Park; or explore the myriad of other interesting attractions, riverside walks and parks before unwinding in the city's many good restaurants and bars!
Leading off the Irish Sea is Carlingford Lough, only a couple of hours under steam from the English and Welsh coasts.
Sail into the lough between the Mountains of Mourne "sweeping down to the sea" (just like in the song by Percy French) and the Cooley Mountains - look carefully and you will be able to pick out the outline of Finn McCool reposing on Slieve Foy above Carlingford village, his feet in the waters of the lough!
Once ashore the cruise passenger can relax in the seaside resorts of Omeath, Rostrevor and Warrenpoint or sample the delights of the city of Newry, learning about its history in the museum housed in the 400 year old Bagenal's Castle in the city centre - a castle only rediscovered in recent years during renovation works on a bakery!
Carlingford village is particularly rich in heritage! Stroll along the winding streets, passing Norman castles, gatehouses and tower houses; then slip into the many comfortable cafes, restaurants and bars of this relaxed seaside gem.