Just one hour from Dublin and Belfast this hiking area on the border between north and south is a real gem not be missed! It offers hills, mountains and spectacular coastlines created more than 60 million years ago and a treasure trove of myths and legends and Viking conquests.
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Self-guided walking holiday including baggage transfers
The Cooley Peninsula & Carlingford
The Cooley and Mourne Mountains was the very first self-guided walking tour we created. We aim to get this beautiful part of the world discovered by hiking enthusiasts worldwide. This hiking region is just one hour from Dublin, and Belfast on the border between north and south is a real gem not to be missed! Created more than 60 million years ago, it offers hills, mountains and spectacular coastlines. Therefore it is a treasure trove of myths and legends and Viking conquests.
Our Hiking Tours in Ireland’s Ancient East cover the Cooley peninsula in the south and the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland. Less than an hour’s drive from Ireland’s two major cities, Dublin and Belfast, Carlingford Town on the Cooley Peninsula nestles between Slieve Foy, Carlingford Lough and the Mourne Mountains.
A unique blend of natural beauty, spectacular panoramas, myths and legends combine to make Carlingford an extraordinary place. It is Ireland’s most well preserved medieval town lending it a unique feel and atmosphere. Consequently, spectacular hiking is guaranteed.
Carlingford is also the Oyster capital of the country, and every August, the Oyster Festival draws vast crowds into this beautiful village of whitewashed cottages and ancient clustered buildings. (ask about our guided tours).
Hiking in the Mourne Mountains
The Mourne Mountains or ‘Mournes’ is a granite mountain range located in County Down in the southeast of Northern Ireland and is among its most famous mountains. Furthermore, The National Trust partly owns the Mournes and sees many visitors and hill walkers every year. The highest peak is Slieve Donard at 849 metres (2,785 ft).
Cooley & Mourne Mountains 8 Day Walking Holiday
Self-guided trek including baggage transfers
Our 8-day itinerary is ideal to get the best of what the Cooley Peninsula and the Mourne Mountains have to offer. This is also a great holiday to lengthen with some city visits to Dublin and/or Belfast!
- Extra night in Dundalk to visit Dublin / Belfast
- Extra night in Carlingford
Arrive in Ireland
Arrive at your first accommodation in Dundalk in County Louth. We recommend flying into Dublin or Belfast airports. There is a regular bus service every hour from the airport to Dundalk.
Ravensdale – Lumpers (Cooley)
Private transfer to the start of the first walk in Ravensdale forest. A steep climb brings you to Black Mountain & Clairmont Cairn from where you have a fantastic view over the Slieve Gullion and Slieve Foye above Carlingford as well as the Mourne mountains to the Northeast. You will continue to the Lumpers Pub where you will be picked up for a transfer back to your B&B.
Walk: 12 km / 4 hours / Forest roads and tracks, Heather and Moore (can be wet underfoot) and quiet country roads
Lumpers to Carlingford
Transfer to start of the hike at the Lumpers Pub. Today’s walk brings you across the Cooley Peninsula into the central valley before climbing over the crest of Barnavave and Maeve’s Gap to find Carlingford Village and Carlingford Lough at your feet. Overnight in Carlingford where your baggage awaits.
Walk: 16 km / 5 hours / Forest roads and tracks, Heather and Moore (can be wet underfoot) and quiet country roads.
From your B&B accommodation in Carlingford we give you a variety of walking options to enjoy. These vary in Length and difficulty and all start and end in the historic medieval village with its many shops, restaurants and cosy pubs. Make sure to sample the famous Carlingford Oysters!
Walk: Various lengths and grades.
Rostrevor – Deerpark
Private transfer to the start of the hike in Rostrevor on the other side of Carlingford Lough. You will now make your way into the Mournes following the waymarked Mourne Way.
At the end of the walk, you will be collected and brought to the Mourne Hostel in Attical. This hostel was set up and built as a village project to create a source of income to the area and is run by volunteers. Overnight in Atticall.
Walk: 17 km / 5 hours / Forest roads and tracks, Heather and Moore (can be wet underfoot)
Explore Mourne Mountains
Using your accommodation in Attical as a base choose one of the many fantastic walks in the area and explore the beautiful Mourne Mountains. During the Summer Months, a circular Rambler bus allows you to explore all corners of this magnificent area. Overnight in Atticall.
Walk: Various lengths and grades
Deerpark – Newcastle
Private transfer close to the previous day end point, and from here you will walk across the Mournes and through the beautiful Tollymore forest park and into Newcastle where you will spend the final night before departure. This is hill-walking at its best, and this trek will inspire you to come back for more! Overnight in Newcastle.
Walk: 18 km / 5.5 hours / Forest roads and tracks, Heather and Moore (can be wet underfoot)
Departure from Newcastle
Unfortunately, this is the end of your holiday and it is time to return home.
What’s included in our Walking holidays?
- Carefully selected family-run and welcoming B&B accommodation.
- Comfortable en-suite bedrooms.*
- A full Irish breakfast to keep your engines running.
- Complimentary luggage transfers.
- Detailed maps and route notes, so you never get lost.
- Local advice on places to visit and where to eat.
- Full pre-departure info to allow you to prepare for your walking holiday.
- Waterproof map case to keep your documents dry.
- Extra night(s) accommodation booked on request.
- Need information on local transport options? We’re happy to assist!
- 24/7 local emergency contact.
What’s not included?
- Your flights
- Travel and baggage insurance
- Lunches / Evening meals
* Unless already booked out in which case we’ll try to secure a private bathroom.
Details of the walks and Hikes during this holiday
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We have listed a few essentials that you will have to bring along and when you make your booking we will send you out a full list of essentials.
Comfortable waterproof walking Boots
Waterproof jacket & over trousers
Waterproof map case
Backpack, lined with plastic bag
Walking poles (It may be possible to provide these locally if requested)
Thick socks / hat / gloves
Water bottle & lunch box
Sunscreen / Insect repellent
Compass / GPS device
and for that special moment, your camera
What’s included in our Walking holidays?
Carefully selected family-run and welcoming B&B accommodation.
Comfortable en-suite bedrooms.*
A full Irish breakfast to keep your engines running.
Complimentary luggage transfers.
Detailed maps and route notes so you never get lost.
Local advice on places to visit and where to eat.**
Full pre-departure info to allow you to prepare for your walking holiday.
Waterproof map case to keep your documents dry.
Extra night(s) accommodation booked on request.
Need information on local transport options? We’re happy to assist!
24/7 local emergency contact.
What’s not included?
Travel and baggage insurance
Lunches / Evening meals
* Unless already booked out in which case we’ll try to secure a private bathroom
** You will have the opportunity to purchase picnic lunches and evening meals each day. If you are staying in a remote location, the B&B owner will prepare a tasty surprise for you upon request.
You are strongly advised to obtain insurance cover for personal accidents, cancellation charges, medical expenses, loss of money or baggage, travel and personal liability when taking part in any of our tours. Walking Holiday Ireland or its servants or agents cannot accept responsibility for loss or damage to your baggage, or for any illness or injury while on our tours. We also cannot accept responsibility for any loss or damage resulting from circumstances beyond our control.
Pick the tour you’d like to join and fill in the booking form. Within a few days, you will receive confirmation of your booking. When we receive a deposit of 30% to secure the booking we will start putting everything together for you. The final payment is due six weeks before the start of the tour and you will then receive all information on your tour.
Meals – Breakfast is included in your price and packed lunches can be purchased at almost all accommodations. We will have a list of restaurants for you to choose from for your evening and all will be either at your accommodation or within a short walking distance away. Vegetarians (including those that eat fish) will be catered for, but this needs to be acknowledged on your booking form.
You will be accommodated in local family-run guesthouses (B&Bs) or small family-run hotels, where you will encounter a friendly welcome and homely comfort. All our accommodation is approved by Bord Failte – the Irish Tourist Board or the Northern Ireland Tourism Board and are at least 3 stars. Rooms are twin, double or triple en-suite and single rooms are also available on request.
No, that’s definitely not the case!The dominant influence on Ireland’s climate is the Atlantic Ocean. Consequently, Ireland does not suffer from the extremes of temperature experienced by many other countries at similar latitudes. The average annual temperature is about 9 °C. In the middle and east of the country, temperatures tend to be somewhat more extreme than in other parts of the country. For example, the summer means daily maximum is about 19 °C and the winter mean daily minimum is about 2.5 °C in these areas.Have a look at our Irish weather page here for more detailed information about the weather in the region where you will be walking.
There are a lot of places where it would be worthwhile to stay an extra night to explore more in the area. We can also book extra nights for you at the start or the end of your tour. Some of these options can be booked directly on our booking form are please send us an email and we will happily inform you of some of the options available. We will also provide you with information on how to get there and to the starting point of the walk or the airport. Just let us know what you would like and we’ll do our best to help you.
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