Slieve Donard tips and how to enjoy your hike

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Here are some quick Slieve Donard tips, so that you can conquer this mountain in Co Down, Ireland. Ready, steady… go!


Slieve Donard Tips and How to

Fast Facts

  • Height:849 meter (2786 ft) Northern Ireland’s highest peak. The 19th tallest in the whole island. One of the 20 peaks in Mourne Mountains.
  • Location: Mourne Mountains, County Down, Northern Ireland. Closest town: Newcastle
  • Distance to the top: 5.5 miles
  • Time it took us to climb: 5 hours approximately including rest stops.
  • mourne-wall-6276267

    Slieve Donard Tips – How to get there

    First you need to get to Newcastle. It takes 40 minutes to drive to Newcastle from Belfast City Airport and just over 30 minutes from Belfast via the A24 to Clough.

    From Newcastle you need to go to Bloody Bridge Car Park, which is around 5 minutes drive away.

    Or, you can take the Mourne Rambler bus: During July and August the bus follows a circular route around the mountains allowing you to hop off and walk and then catch the bus again.

    The service is available on the hour from 9:30am-4:30pm, starts and finishes at Newcastle Bus Station and stops at the following destinations: Bryansford, Village, Trassey Bridge, Mourne Rambler, The Rock Shop, Mourne Rambler, Meelmore, Mourne Rambler, Fofanny Dam Mourne Rambler, Ott Mountain, Mourne Rambler, Pigeon Rock, Mourne Rambler, Slievenagore, Mourne Rambler, Silent Valley, Car Park, Carrick Little, Mourne Rambler, Rouke’s Park, Mourne Rambler, Bloody Bridge, Bloody Bridge, Glenada House, Mourne Rambler.

    For update information call the Newcastle bus station on 028-4372 2296.

    Slieve Donard Tips – Climbing

  • It is windy at the top. Wear warm clothes. And we mean it! You might need something to cover your ears even during the summertime.
  • You might want to splash in the natural-occurring rock pool, bring suitable attire.
  • Beware of the recently repaired stone path – It can be tricky when descending.
  • There are toilets and picnic area at the Bloody Bridge car park.
  • The tradition: When you start your hiking, pick a small rock and carry it all the way to the top. When you reach the top, throw your rock to the ever growing pile at the summit. Leave your mark in an eco-friendly, non-intrusive way.
  • Smell the Gorse bushes. They flower pretty much all year, but they are at their best in June. Inhale deeply. Don’t they smell of coconut?
  • Better leave your dog behind. There are happy sheep roaming all over the place. Ooops! Mind where your step now!
  • Bloody Bridge Why is it called so? A sectarian massacre happened here during the O’Neill rebellion of 1641. (More of that in the History section. Coming soon…)
  • Marvel at the The Mourne Mountains wall: Why it was built? To map the boundaries of the water reservoir’s catchment area to provide Belfast with fresh water, (Silent Valley) bought by the water authorities.
  • Why is it important? Well, imagine building a wall from natural granite stone using traditional dry stone walling techniques for 18 years! (1904 -1922) By hand! For 22 miles (35 kms)! And not just a low wall, the average height is about 1.5 m and almost a meter thick. It encompasses an area of 9.000 acres and passes over 15 of the 20 Mourne Mountains. Ok, they worked only from April to October, but still…
    Have you read our Slieve Donard story?

    We climbed , Slieve Croob too. What memories!

    And what about the essentials:

    Hiking Checklists

    Hiking safety tips

    Hiking hazards

    What to wear when hiking

    and ofcourse…. the history of hiking!

    Coming very very soon! Please check back, or even better, save yourself the hassle and subscribe to our Northern Ireland Travel Secrets Blog! That way, you will never miss an update.

    Photo credits: Ryan McD at Flickr. Many Thanks.

    Return from Slieve Donard Tips to Northern Ireland Tourism Homepage 2008-2014.
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