The Cooley and Mourne Mountains

Explore the Beauty of Cooley and Mourne Mountains: A Hikers’ Paradise

The Cooley and Mourne Mountains in Ireland are a hiker’s paradise. They offer a unique blend of natural beauty, myths, and legends, making them a special place for a walking holiday. Located less than an hour’s drive from Dublin and Belfast, these mountains are easily accessible for anyone seeking a peaceful escape from the bustling city life.

Medieval Carlingford – A Hidden Gem

Enjoying the sunshine on a terrace in Carlingford, Walking Holiday Ireland
Enjoying the sunshine on a terrace in Carlingford, Walking Holiday Ireland

Carlingford is a medieval town nestled on the Cooley Peninsula and is the most well-preserved medieval town in Ireland. Its unique feel, atmosphere, and natural beauty make it a perfect starting point for any hike in the Cooley and Mourne Mountains.

Carlingford is also the country’s Oyster capital, and the Oyster Festival, held every August, draws huge crowds to this pretty village of whitewashed cottages and ancient clustered buildings.

Let’s explore the highlights of the Cooley & Mourne Mountains and their unique features and why you should book your next hiking tour in Ireland with us!

Carlingford Town, Cooley and Mourne Mountains Walking Tours
Enjoying Carlingford in the sun after their hike

Follow the Táin Trail

The Cooley Peninsula is central to Ireland’s national epic, ‘An táin Bó Cuailigne’, where Cuchulainn, Queen Maebh, and the renowned Brown Bull of Cooley meet their fate. Their route can be followed across Ireland to the Cooley Mountains and is known as the ‘The Táin Way‘. This national waymarked route offers a unique opportunity to explore the Cooley Peninsula’s cultural and historical significance while enjoying a great hike.

Hiker marker on the Cooley peninsula, Louth, Co. Ireland. Hiking Tour
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The Unique Landscape of the Mournes

The Mourne Mountains offer an outstanding natural beauty that is hard to find anywhere else. The unique landscape of the Mournes features a ring of 12 mountains dominating the Mourne upland, each rising above 600m, with the highest peak, Slieve Donard, reaching 853m. This unique mountain range lies 50km south of Belfast and just over 100km north of Dublin, hugging the County Down coastline.

Eastern and Western Mournes – A Hiker’s Dream

The Mournes divide into two distinctive areas – the Eastern or ‘High’ Mournes and the Western or ‘Low’ Mournes. Each area offers unique challenges and rewards for hikers, making it a perfect destination for all levels of ramblers. The unrivalled network of paths and tracks crisscrossing the Mournes provides enthusiastic hillwalkers with incredible opportunities for exploration and discovery. Walking trails run through the Mournes’ heart without any significant ascents, making them perfect for less strenuous hikes.

Hiking in the Cooley and Mourne Mountains, Northern Ireland hiking tours
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The Mourne Wall – A Remarkable Structural Feat

The most distinctive feature of Northern Ireland‘s highest mountain range is the Mourne Wall. The wall is 22 miles (35.5km) long and encloses 9000 acres of land, draining into the Silent Valley and Ben Crom reservoirs. It took over 18 years to build the Mourne Wall, from 1904 to 1922. It frames some of Ireland’s most exceptional mountain views and spans over 9000ft (2743m) of ascent, rising and falling over 15 of the highest peaks in the Mournes.

The Mourne Mountains and Their Names

The Cooley and Mourne Mountains have several mountains with names beginning with ‘Slieve’, from the Irish word Sliabh, meaning mountain, such as ‘Slieve Donard’, ‘Slieve Lamagan’, and ‘Slieve Muck’. The mountains also have some very curious names, such as ‘Pigeon Rock’, ‘Buzzard’s Roost’, ‘Brandy Pad’, ‘the Cock and Hen’, and ‘the Devil’s Coach Road’, adding to the mystique of this stunning mountain range.

Hikers following the trail in the Cooley & Mourne Mountains
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Relax and Unwind in Local Villages

Many small villages and towns dot the landscape around the foothills of the Mournes. After a long day of hiking, ramblers can rest their weary feet in friendly pubs and restaurants and enjoy a cold pint or hearty meal to recharge their hiking batteries.

The Mournes’ location on Ireland’s east coast means that the weather is drier than on the west coast, making it an excellent destination for a walking holiday any time of the year.

Hiking in the Mourne Mountains, Mourne Wall

Must-visit hiking destination in Ireland’s Ancient East.

The Cooley and Mourne Mountains offer a unique combination of natural beauty, myths, and legends, making them a must-visit destination for hikers. Whether you are an enthusiastic hillwalker or a less experienced rambler, the Mournes offer something for everyone.

With the many small villages and towns dotted around the foothills of the Mournes, hikers can relax and unwind after a long day of hiking in the stunning Irish landscape.

Plan your walking holiday in the Cooley and Mourne Mountains today and discover the magic and mystique of this incredible place.

Book your Hiking Tour On the Cooley Peninsula and across the Mourne Mountains Today!

Other hiking areas you should check out: The Wicklow Way, The Dingle Peninsula, The Barrow Way and The Antrim and Causeway Coast.