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"Where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea" (Percy French)
This popular song has made the Mournes the best known mountains in Ireland. Distinctive and self contained, the Mournes are tucked away in the south east corner of Northern Ireland, with 12 shapely summits rising about 2,000ft on the eastern side. The Mourne Mountains (Beanna Boirche) include the highest mountain in Northern Ireland (Slieve Donard). The Mournes are located in an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and are partly owned by the National Trust. The Mourne Wall crosses 15 summits and was built to enclose the catchment basin of the Silent Valley. The Mourne Wall is a listed building.
The Mourne Mountain range includes:- Slieve Donard (850m) The highest mountain in Northern Ireland, Slieve Commedagh (767m), Slieve Binnian (747m), Slieve Bearnagh (739m), Slieve Meelbeg (708m), Slieve Meelmore (704 m), Slieve Muck (670) and Slieve Loughshannagh (620m)
The word Slieve is derived from the Irish word Sliabh meaning Mountain. On a clear day the Isle of Man and Wicklow Mountains can be seen from the Mourne Mountains. The Mournes are popular for hiking and forest walks. There are also a number of scenic driving routes including the Mourne Coastal Route.
Can you drive through the Mourne Mountains?
There is no road through the mountains but there are a number of scenic driving routes to explore, including the High Mournes Scenic Loop, Slieve Roosley Scenic Loop, Whitewater Scenic Loop and the Mourne Coastal Route.
Are the Mourne Mountains difficult to climb?
There are a number of tough climbs but the views are spectacular. It is always recommended you wear appropriate clothing and hiking boots to go into the mountains. Check the weather and bring some snacks.
How Long does it take to Climb Slieve Donard Mountain?
It depends on the pace of the walker and the weather conditiions but for those who are looking a leisurely walk it is suggested to leave about 6 hours to complete the walk up and down. For the more experienced walker it can be done in about 4 hours. The route is linear and the distance is approximately 4.6km to the summit.
Where are the Mourne Mountains located?
The Mourne Mountains are located in County Down about 30 miles south of Belfast and 60 miles north of Dublin.
The Mourne Wall
The Mourne Wall is 22 miles long and consists of natural granite stone which was constructed using traditional dry stone walling techniques. It was built from 1904 to 1922 and was overseen by the Belfast City and District Water Commissioners. The wall was built to keep livestock (cattle and sheep) from contaminating the water supplies and took 18 years to complete. It passes over fifteen of the highest mountains in the area - Slieve Bearnagh (727 m), Slieve Meelmore (684 m), Slieve Meelbeg (708 m), Slieve Loughshannagh (619 m), Carn Mountain (587 m), Slieve Muck (674 m), Slievenaglogh (445 m), Moolieve (332 m), Wee Binnian (460 m), Slieve Binnian (747 m), Rocky Mountain (525 m), Slieve Donard (850 m), Slieve Commedagh (765 m), Slieve Corragh (691 m) and Slievenaglogh (586 m).
The Silent Valley Reservoir was built between 1923 and 1933 to hold the water from the catchment area enclosed by the wall.
The Mourne Mountain Rescue Team are a group of volunteers who are based in Newcastle at the foot of Slieve Donard. They work together with the statutory agencies in the area, including the PSNI, Coastguard, Northern Ireland Ambulance Service and The Hazardous Area Respnse Team. Please read their safety advice before walking or hiking in the Mountains.
Where would I get a route map for the Mourne Moutains?
Maps and guides are available to purchase in the Newcastle Visitor Information Centre
Also check out our Maps and Brochures section to download a guide.
- Guided Tours Available
- Accommodation nearby
- Route maps available
- Visitor information - Newcastle Visitor Information Centre 10-14 Central Promenade, BT33 0AA Tel 03301374046
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