Cranfield beach is in Co. Down - a very nice setting as it is at the entrance to Carlingford Lough and the Mountains of Mourne are the backdrop. We spent a couple of hours here one sunny, Sunday afternoon.
The beach was very busy during our visit - but it was an extremely hot day. There is a caravan park behind the beach, so I guess a lot of people probably come here to camp and enjoy the great outdoors when the weather is nice. There is a car park, it is free to park, but you need to get there early to be sure of a space. We arrived after lunch and had to wait about half an hour to be able to park.
The beach itself is not the most beautiful beach in the world. Do not come here expecting golden sand - it is mainly sandy (not golden) but also quite stoney. It does though, slope gently into the sea and makes a great place for children to play. A tip - bring a windbreaker or something to shield you from the breeze. It seemed to get very breezy here. It was a hot, sunny day during our visit - elsewhere there was not even a gentle wind, here it was not the case. Most other people seemed to realise this and came equipped. It is south facing though and stayed sunny for ages.
The views out into the bay are lovely and we spotted lots of people taking part in various water sports. After an ice-cream, we left the beach and walked along the shore. Be sure to do this - you get some lovely views and it is nice to look back along the coast.
After our trip to the beach, we drove the short distance to the little town of Kilkeel - apparently this is the capital of the Kingdom of Mourne. We found another beach here - deserted and really beautiful. We walked along, enjoying the beautiful Irish Sea coastline.
Kilkeel is home to Northern Ireland's largest fishing fleet, so the obvious next stop here is the harbour. It is a great place to walk around, have a look at the fishing boats and watch the fishermen prepare to go out to sea. At one time there were 115 fishing boats here, this has declined due to EU quotas and restrictions. They used to catch herring, cod and haddock but now prawns are the main catch as well as crabs and lobsters.
Look out for the memorial to fishermen lost at sea - it is by the Nautilus Centre in the harbour. Fishing is apparently the most dangerous peacetime job - the memorial here makes this apparent.