Saint Patrick's Way: The Pilgrims Walk - 9 Day Self-Guided Walking Tour

Down Cathedral, Downpatrick


Walk in the footsteps of ireland’s early Christian beginnings 

Starting at the Navan Centre in Armagh, this 82 mile signed walking trail connects key sites relating to Saint Patrick and Christian Heritage. It takes you through some of Northern Ireland’s most spectacular scenic landscapes before ending at Saint Patrick’s final resting place, in the grounds of Down Cathedral in Downpatrick. It incorporpares exisiting walking routes including the Newry Canal Way and Mourne Way.

Record your journey on a special Pilgrim’s Passport collect your stamps at the 10 specified locations along the route and present your completed stamped Passport at The Saint Patrick Centre to receive your Certificate of Achievement. 


Prices / Dates

Price:  £815 per person sharing

Single Supplement: +£400

Solo Traveller Supplement: +£160

Tour Dates: 15 March to 31 October

Tour Grade: Moderate

Accommodation: 2 Night Hotel + 6 Night Guesthouse or B&B

Included / Excluded

Day 1 - Arrival in Ireland and Travel Armagh

Arrival into Armagh by public transport from Belfast or Dublin Airports 

On arrival into Armagh you have the opportunity to explore the cathedral city of Armagh the home of the head of the major churches in Ireland.

Take the short journey out to the Navan Centre and start your Pilgrims Journey walking back to Armagh.

Distance 5 km / 3 miles Assent: 50 m  / 160 ft

Approximate walking time: 1.5 / 2 hours

Day 2 - Armagh to Sarva

After breakfast in Armagh you will depart on the St. Patrick’s Trail from the city along minor roads and country lanes through the Armagh countryside to Scarva on the Newry Canal.

Distance: 25 km 16 miles / Ascent 300 m 980 ft

Approximate walking time: 7 / 9 hours

Day 3 - Sarva to Newry along the Newry Canal

An easy walking day along the banks of the Newry Canal - the oldest canal in Ireland built in the 18th century to transfer the coal from coalfields of County Tyrone to Carlingford Lough for export. Now mostly disused it offers a sanctuary to birds and small wildlife who inhabit its banks.

Distance 20km 12 miles / Ascent 50 m 160ft

Approximate walking time: 4 / 5 hours

Day 4 - Newry to Rostrevor

Starting from Newry soon you will be rewarded with wonderful views of Carlingford Lough and the Cooley & Mourne Mountains on either side. This area on the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland borderlands is steeped in folklore which is told in Rostrevor in both Words & Music. The charming village of Rostrevor on the shores of Carlingford Lough is said to have inspired C.S. Lewis in his writings of the tails of Narnia. St. Bronagh’s a disciple of St. Patrick set up a monastery in the area whose ruins can be seen today and date back to the 6th centenary. 

19km 11.8 miles / Ascent 400m / 1312ft

Approximate walking time: 4 / 5 hours


Day 5 - Rostrevor to Hilltown - Day 1 in the Mourne Mountains

Today your walk will take you into the Mourne Mountains, firstly through Kilbroney Forest then onto open hillside trails to the village of Hilltown. Your overnight accommodation is located in a charming little farming village. With fewer than 1000 people, Hilltown has the impressive eight pubs in the high street, a legacy from 18th-century smugglers who shared out their contraband here.

Distance 14km 9miles Ascent 350m / 1148 ft

Approximate walking time: 4 / 5 hours

Day 6 - Hilltown to Newcastle - Day 2 in the Mourne Mountains

Returning to the trail from your accommodation, you will quickly rise into along the River Bann - Northern Ireland’s longest river - whose source is located in the Mourne Mountains -  and across the western Mourne Mountain hills of Spelga and Spaltha and enjoy views back into the local countryside and the inner Mourne Mountains. For the second half of the day you will enter Tollymore Forest Park before rising up to the outer reaches of the park into the shadows of Slievenabrock Mountain, you will quickly be rewarded with views of Newcastle and The Irish Sea at Dundrum Bay before meandering along quiet country trails into the seaside town of Newcastle. 

 Distance 22km 14miles / Ascent 550m 1800 ft

Approximate walking time: 6 / 7 hours

Day 7 - Newcastle to Dundrum

After the last two days in the Mourne Mountains today is a very easy day walking along the beach from Newcastle and through the 6000 year old sand dunes of Murlough Nature Reserve to Dundrum, where you can explore the ruins of the villages 12th Century Norman Castle and its views of inner and outer Dundrum Bay and relax in the evening sampling some of the villages famous seafood cuisine. 

12 km 7.5 miles / Ascent 80m 260 ft

Approximate walking time: 3.5 / 4 hours

Day 8 - Dundrum to Downpatrick

The final walking day into Downpatrick starts along old disused railway tracks on the shores of inner Dundrum Bay before joining minor roads and country lanes as you make your way to Downpatrick. Be sure to stop of on route and explore the 35m 3000-4000 year old Ballynoe Stone Circle, just off the trail

22 km 14 miles / Ascent 300 m 980 ft

Approximate walking time: 6 / 7 hours

Day 9 - Departure from Downpatrick

From Downpatrick you will make your onward journey by public transport. But not before collecting your certificate of completion from the Downpatrick Centre.

A few words from our customers...

I am a single woman traveller embarking on a self-guided hiking trip. While it's common for woman to embark on such adventures these days, it's my first time ever to be on a self-navigated hiking trip overseas. This is why I feel so grateful that I have the Footfalls as my backbone
We thoroughly enjoyed our weeks self-guided walking on the Connemara and Western Way. This emphasized for me that Footfalls are there with you along the way albeit in the background. The B&Bs chosen were excellent and taxi pick-ups were very efficient. Even though the Way is well sign-posted, Christopher had provided us with very comprehensive route notes. Overall a very well organized and enjoyable week. Thank you Christopher and Teresa.
Anne & Ita