Official tourism website for Mourne Mountains and Ring of Gullion

Searching for Gold in the Mournes Experience

Leitrim Lodge Car Park, Sandbank Road, Newry, Co Down, BT34 5XX
Searching for Gold

Book Tickets Online


Ireland is famed for its Gold Archaeological Artefacts, with many housed in the Gold Collection of the National Museum of Ireland. Indeed, of the 100 or so Lunula found in Europe, 80 have been found in Ireland.
Lunulae are a crescent moon shaped neck collar.

The big question is, where did all this gold come from? The National Museum of Ireland states, 'The sites most likely to have been recognised and exploited by prehistoric people are alluvial deposits from rivers and streams. This 'placer' gold is weathered out from parent rock and can be recovered using simple techniques such as panning.'

One piece of research in 2009 came out definitively stating "It is a great satisfaction to be able to suggest, with solid evidence, that the Irish early Bronze Age ornaments were not only made of Irish gold but probably of gold from Co Down's Mourne Mountains,"

This research was based on looking on the percentage of impurities, silver, and copper, in the gold items and comparing it to all the other gold sources in Ireland and their respective level of impurities. The correlation with the Gold Artefacts and gold the researchers had panned from the Mourne Rivers was strong enough for them to be as strident as they were in their conclusion, but as often stated "Correlation is not Causation"
What makes this an even greater story is that subsequent research by the University of Southampton in 2015 suggests that few if any of the Irish Gold Artefacts are made from Irish Gold and most probably the gold came from Cornwall. This research is based on an analysis of a Lead Isotope in the gold, a bit like a signature that each piece of gold has.

This experience is to tell the story of this geological debate and to go and look for the gold in the Mourne rivers, in particular the Carcullion, the Leitrim, the Rocky Rivers and the River Bann just below Spelga Dam.


Event Facilities

  • Booking Required

Parking & Transport

  • On site parking

Add Searching for Gold in the Mournes Experience to your Itinerary

Check availability for Searching for Gold in the Mournes Experience (opens in a new window)

Close window

Call direct on:

Tel +44 (0) 28 4372 4348

Map & Directions

What's Nearby

  1. Bagenal’s Castle located in historic Newry is a 16th century fortified house and…

    0.63 miles away
  2. Leisleitrim Fort is a fine example of a multivallate rath ( a rath with several banks and…

    0.64 miles away
  3. Dating from the Iron Age period around 10 BC, the enclosure comprises two roughly…

    0.64 miles away
  1. Corliss Fort is one of the best-preserved bivallate raths in County Armagh.

    0.64 miles away
  2. This is undoubtedly the most commanding building in Newry and is arguably the most…

    0.74 miles away
  3. Newry Town Hall hosts theatre performances, education programmes, local amateur groups,…

    0.92 miles away
  4. This monument is an extremely well preserved Neolithic burial site with three chambers. …

    1.52 miles away
  5. This 18 arch viaduct, close to Newry, is a prominent feature of the south Armagh…

    2.45 miles away
  6. A National Trust Property, Derrymore House is an elegant thatched cottage that stands…

    2.61 miles away
  7. A ¼ acre garden in a 19th century linen village. As the garden is divided into areas…

    3.14 miles away
  8. The site contains two early churches situated back to back. Even earlier, it was the…

    3.49 miles away
  9. Known locally as the ‘King’s Ring’, this court tomb has a prominent position in the…

    3.63 miles away
  10. This unusual megalithic monument is set on the eastern edge of a low ridge, overlooked by…

    3.81 miles away
  11. Excellent example of a tower-house and bawn built about 1568 at a point where the Newry…

    4.3 miles away
  12. The Slieve Gullion Forest Trail, a magnificent 10km Scenic Forest Drive will be…

    4.65 miles away
  13. Follow Fionn's Giant Adventure (previously known as the Giant's Lair) at Slieve Gullion…

    4.65 miles away
Previous Next

Map & Directions

View Maps and Visitor Guides
View what the Mourne Mountains & Ring of Gullion has to offer and some of the best things to see and do during a visit.
E-newsletter sign up
Sign up for the Mourne Mountains & Ring of Gullion newsletter for inspiration and travel tips.
Back to Top

Visit Mourne

Tourism Northern Ireland


Don't Miss