The Mourne Mountains are the highest and most dramatic mountain range in Northern Ireland, its summits crowned by granite tors. The mountains themselves are criss-crossed by an unrivalled network of paths and tracks. The area was voted the ‘Best Walking Destination’ in Northern Ireland in WalkNI's inaugural awards. The routes providie enthusiastic walkers with incredible opportunities for exploration. The Mournes are divided into 2 very distinctive areas – the Eastern or ‘High’ Mournes and the Western or ‘Low’ Mournes. Any newcomer to the Mournes will be simply amazed at the variety of landscapes that can be encountered within such a confined geographical area.
The Mourne Wall, now a famous landmark running through the Mournes, was originally built in an effort to keep cattle and sheep out of the water catchment area of the Silent Valley reservoir. Completed in 1922, it took over 18 years to complete with many skilled locals seasonally employed to build this stone wall which still stands up to 8ft high and 3ft wide. It is 22 miles (35.5km) in length and connects the summits of no less than 15 mountains in the Mournes, including Slieve Donard.
During the 18th and 19th Centuries illegal cargo ships stocked full of illicit packages of tobacco, wine, spirits, leather, silk and spices docked at the foot of the Mournes in Newcastle. Smugglers then loaded ponies with these illegal products and trekked through the Mourne Mountains to Hilltown. Trade was so popular and the route so widely used that a track was soon created by the hooves of the heavily laden ponies. This old smugglers track still exists today and is used as a popular walking route, aptly know as "The Brandy Pad".
The Mourne Mountains are in County Down, lying 31 miles (50 km) south of Belfast and just over 62 miles (100km) north of Dublin.
There are two widely renowned walking festivals which take place annually in the Mourne Mountains; The Mourne International Walking Festival and the Wee Binnian Walking Festival. Both offer guided hill walking at both high and low level and plenty of opportunities for socializing with like minded individuals. Find out more about both these walking festivals here.
Translink operate a dedicated “rambler” bus service through the Mournes from May-August each year, Tuesday to Sunday. Please see the Useful Information section for more details.
Activities in the Mournes Shuttle Services (AIMSS) provide a shuttle service to walkers in the Mourne Area. Pick up and drop off points include Donard Park, Newcastle, Trassey Track Car Park and Carricklittle Track Car Park. They also provide a bespoke shuttle and support service to walking groups. For more information or to book the shuttle service, please contact Peter Magowan on +44(0)75 1641 2076.
Every care has been taken to ensure accuracy of the information. We cannot accept responsibility for errors or omissions but where such are brought to our attention, the information will be amended accordingly.
Whilst all the clubs, associations and activity operators listed on this website generally operate according to which is accepted as current best practice, it is the responsibility of the participant to ensure that they are credible and all appropriate safety standards are adhered to. Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland have, nor assume, any responsibility for the accuracy or the completeness of the information supplied or the service and level of care afforded by any of the clubs, associations and activity operators listed on this website.