The Mourne Mountains are situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty and are home to some of the most picturesque mountain districts in Ireland. Slieve Donard is Northern Ireland’s highest mountain, rising to 850 m/2,550 ft.
The Mourne Mountains are a gentle and graceful granite domed and heather-covered mountain range, containing 12 peaks grouped together and covering an area of approximately 12 km/7.5 miles. The mountain area remains unpopulated and without roads, preserving the quality of this unspoiled wilderness. You will also find a huge variety of flora and fauna and a wealth of heritage, myths and legends in this beautiful place.
“Oh, Mary, this London’s a wonderful sight,
With people here working by day and by night.
They don’t sow potatoes, nor barley nor wheat,
But there’ gangs of them digging for gold in the streets.
At least when I asked them that’s what I was told,
So I just took a hand at this diggin’ for gold.
But for all that I found there, I might as well be
where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea.
William Percy French, 1854-1920
Prices / Dates
Price: €240 per person sharing
Single Supplement: +€112
Tour Dates: Friday, 16 April to Sunday, 18 April 2021
Tour Grade: Easy to Moderate
Included / Excluded
We will depart from Wicklow at 18.00 hrs for Newcastle, driving time is approximately 2.5 hours, depending on traffic. Newcastle is translated from its Irish name "An Caisleán Nua" and shelters at the foot of Slieve Donard. The town is divided by the Shimna River and lies on the edge of the Irish Sea. You can walk from one end of town to the other along the promenade, passing the Percy French memorial fountain and can also visit the many shops and pubs that are in the town or simply relax on its golden sandy beach.
Our guided walk today starts just outside Newcastle at Bloody Bridge. From here, we follow the Bloody Bridge River up past Crannoge to join the famous Mourne Wall. This wall was built over an 18 year period between 1904 and 1922, taking in some 35 km/22 miles and 9000 acres of land that drains into the Silent Valley and Ben Crom Reservoir. This very impressive wall is built of large granite rocks that were hand-quarried locally from the mountain sides.
Our walking trail now follows the Mourne Wall to reach the summit of Slieve Donard. From here we will have spectacular views down over Newcastle, along the Irish coastline, into the Silent Valley and beyond! Our descent takes us back to Newcastle to the coll at the base of Slieve Commedagh. Here we join the Glen River Path to Donard Forest and back to one of the many local establishments for a well-earned drink of your favourite tipple.
Distance: 12 km/7.5 miles, Ascent: 843 m/2,529 ft
After a relaxing breakfast, we will have an hour or so to peruse around the local shops before we depart Newcastle for our journey home.
On route, we will stop off at the Castlewellan Forest Park and enjoy some low-level walking around the 16th century castle and grounds. We will take a stroll along the banks of Castlewellan Lake and visit the incredible Peace Maze. The Maze was officially opened in 2001 as the world’s largest permanent hedge maze. The Maze represents the route and process that was taken by the people of Northern Ireland to achieve peace in the years following the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. It covers an area of 2.7 acres, the path is 3.4 km/2 miles and hedges consist of over 6000 yew trees, many of which were planted by the people of Northern Ireland during December 2000.
We will depart for home at approximately 15.00 hrs.