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Where the Mournes sweep down to the sea


Mourne wall

Thirty five miles south of Belfast stand the dark, brooding mountains of Mourne. Inspiring song and poetry these granite giants have stood against the elements for over 50 million years. Now as mountains go they are not huge, Slieve Donard is the highest and at 850m (2790ft) is barely a dot in comparison to any of the biggies around the world but in terms of views, access and the ability to inspire they are every bit a match.

The word Slieve comes from the gaelic sliabh meaning Mountain and over a dozen peaks have the name but others have charming monikers such as: Butter mountain, Pigeon rock, Eagle and Rocky mountains. All told there is 29 peaks in the range and each one has a charm and views all of its own. Slieve Commedagh has, arguably the greatest views of them all but that is just my opinion, the truth is I couldn't debate it. How can I say which I consider the best? Well a few years ago myself and a few comrades walked the entire length of the Mourne wall. This remarkable feat of engineering encloses the Silent valley, a stunning reservoir that supplies Belfast with the purest of waters, and goes over the peaks of fifteen mountains. So I have seen enough of the peaks to have a good idea.

C S Lewis, Belfast born author of the Chronicles of Narnia, holidayed in the area and was said to have been inspired by the rocks on Slieve Binnion in which he saw faces. Sleeping giants resting, awaiting the time when they will arise. The myth and magic of the place is inspirational and it will infect you. On a clear day looking out over the Irish sea, or down into the valley you might compose something yourself.

Nearby is Newcastle a quaint little seaside town, Ice cream and beaches but with one of the worlds great golf courses and the magnificent Slieve Donard hotel, loads of little B&B's it really is a fabulous place.

Come and spend a day where even the locals go.

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