Mourne Mountains
Mourne Mountains

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
The Mourne Mountains Map


The Mourne Mountains are in County Down, lying 31 miles (50 km) south of Belfast and just over 62 miles (100km) north of Dublin.


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.


– Slieve Donard – 853m
– Slieve Commedagh – 765m
– Slieve Binnian – 747m
– Slieve Bearnagh – 739m
– Slieve Meelbeg – 708m
– Meelmore – 704m


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.

This guide is written by walkers for walkers.

It is designed to give an informative insight into walking in one of Northern Ireland’s most renowned areas of outstanding natural beauty.

Included in the guide are detailed itineraries, images and route descriptions plus local information such as ‘best places to eat’ and ‘walker friendly’ accommodation options.

Download this Walker’s Guide below.

Mourne Mountains Walker's Guide
Northern Ireland is full of unique accommodation options. From castles and mountain lodges to coastal lighthouses and glamping there is something for everyone.

Check out Discover Northern Ireland for Accommodation.


4 Victoria Cottages
North Tawton
01837 880075
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Let’s go Walking organise tailor-made holidays and tours for groups, clubs, charities and individuals across the UK.


Life HQ
The Grange Yard
Castlewellan Forest Park
+44 (0) 28 437 70714
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Take it in your stride! Make the most of what’s available in Mournes and surrounding area to include a few hidden gems. Our guides are local and passionate and offer everything from an intro to our forests and fells, a gentle tour of our upland trails, a mountain adventure or even a mix and match.


Mild to Wild! Join us to blaze our favourite local trails on what we believe to be some of the best trail and hill walking on offer including our Happy Valley Hike, Donard Dander, Mourne Way Challenge and Mourne Wall Experience. All trips range in level and duration to suit a mix of age and ability and are fully staffed by local and passionate Guides, supported by our range of equipment, shuttles etc.


Tall stories! Explore more of the unique myths and legends of the Mournes in great company including our Men and Mountains, Strugglers and Smugglers and our new CS Lewis Tour. All tours range in level and duration to suit a mix of age and ability and are fully staffed by local and passionate Guides, supported by our range of equipment, shuttles etc.


New ground! Gain the knowledge, skills and confidence to get you moving towards the next level and mountain proficiency. Offering topics such as basic navigation skills, equipment choice, mountain safety, route planning/journeying and mountain first aid our courses include full Instruction supported by our range of equipment alongside full use of our centre to include changing and shower facilities.


If you don’t see something that suits, choose from our range of Guiding, Instruction, Shuttles, Centre and Event Support as you require and we’ll create your bespoke ‘Plod Package’.

Call in, telephone or email us at our centre, 10am – 4pm daily to discuss. All options are subject to terms and availability.

Open Daily Half/Full/Multi-Day Options Info-Point/Showers/Wifi/Coffee Dock/Stove Individuals/Groups/Families Welcome Online Booking/Trail Maps/Shuttles/Accommodation


195 South Promenade
+44(0)77 4028 5794
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Nordic Walking for Health and Fitness tailored courses for small groups, Guided walking and Mountain Skills Courses. AAP for Duke of Edinburgh Award. All provided by qualified and experienced International Mountain Leader and NWUK Nordic Walking Instructor.


14 Shimnavale
+44(0)79 7340 8056
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9 Crossmore Road
+44(0)78 3544 1933
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Longer walks are under 5 miles in length and include a lunch afterwards. Shorter walks and tours include a coffee stop or unique souvenir. Where possible access is granted to old laneways and historic monuments adding to the bespoke experience. Duane is a trained Hill and Moorland Leader and a member of Tour Guides NI. The walks typically last 1.5 to 2.5 hours.


56 Burren Road
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Guided walks and tours of the Mourne Mountains and Slieve Gullion for individuals or groups. We also provide navigation courses to suit all abilities.