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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Cooley & Mourne Mountains
Self-Guided Walking Holiday
The Cooley & 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 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.
The Cooley Peninsula & Carlingford
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. (ask about our guided tours). Consequently, spectacular hiking is guaranteed.
The oyster capital of Ireland
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.
Myths and Legends in Ireland’s Ancient East
‘An táin Bó Cuailigne’ the national epic of Ireland is centralised on the Cooley Peninsula. Furthermore, it is here that Cuchulainn, Queen Maebh and the famous Brown Bull of Cooley met their fate. Follow their route across Ireland to the Cooley mountains. This national waymarked way is known as the táin trail.
Hiking in Ireland Mourne Mountains
The Mourne Mountains or ‘Mournes’ is a granite mountain range located in County Down in the south-east of Northern Ireland and are among the most famous mountains in the country. Furthermore, The National Trust partly owns the Mournes and see a large number of visitors and hill walkers every year. The highest peak is Slieve Donard at 849 metres (2,785 ft).
The Mourne Wall
The Mourne Wall is among the most prominent features in the Mournes. Because it is a 35 kilometres long dry-stone wall that crosses fifteen summits. The Belfast Water Commissioners purchased the 36sq km of land in the late 1800s and commissioned the wall to define the boundaries. Construction started in 1904 and completed in 1922.
What does Slieve mean?
Quite a few of the mountains have names beginning with ‘Slieve’ taken from the Irish word Sliabh and means mountain. Some examples are ‘Slieve Donard’, ‘Slieve Lamagan’ and ‘Slieve Muck’. There are also some unusual names: Pigeon Rock; Buzzard’s Roost; Brandy Pad; the Cock and Hen; Percy Bysshe; the Devil’s Coach Road; and Pollaphuca, which means “hole of the fairies or sprites.”
Walking holiday in the Cooley & Mourne Mountains
Ireland's Ancient East
Our 5-Day program only covers the Cooley peninsula. Starting in Dundalk and final nights in Carlingford Village.
Extra days can be booked in: Dundalk (ideal for a day trip to Belfast and/or Dublin, or Carlingford.
Arrive in IrelandArrive 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. Overnight 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. Overnight Dundalk.Walk: 12 km / 4 hours / Forest roads and tracks, Heather and Moore (can be wet underfoot) and quiet country roads
Lumpers to CarlingfordTransfer 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.
Explore CarlingfordFrom 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 – DeerparkPrivate 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 MountainsUsing 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 – NewcastlePrivate 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 NewcastleUnfortunately, this is the end of your holiday and it is time to return home.
Our walking Holiday inncludes:
- Carefully selected B&B accommodation
- Baggage transfers on walking days
- 24/7 local emergency contact
- Local advice on places to visit and where to eat
- Full pre-departure info to allow you to prepare for your walking holiday
- Extra night(s) accommodation booked on request
- Travel & Baggage insurance
- Evening Meals
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