Slieve Donard Mtn. Walking Route, Mourne Mountains, Co. Down, Northern Ireland

  • Author:ActiveME
  • Created: August 28, 2012
  • Updated: December 12, 2017
Location: Down
  • DistanceInstructions
  • Distance14.36 km
  • Time0 s
  • Speed0.0 km/h
  • Min altitude13 m
  • Peak829 m
  • Climb828 m
  • Descent837 m

A rewarding moderate to strenuous 5 hour (9 km) walk to the summit of Slieve Donard at 850 m (2,789 ft), the highest of the Mourne Mountains and the 19th highest peak in Ireland. The well defined path to the summit makes it a very popular and straightforward climb with the Mourne Wall  acting as a guide to the summit and on the descent. If your lucky, the views from the summit are far reaching and on a clear day the Isle of Man, the Wicklow Mountains, Wales and Scotland may be seen. Bring the route map with you by downloading our Free App on iPhone and Android now.

The Mourne Wall on Slieve Donard, Co. Down, Northern Ireland

As the highest mountain is Northern Ireland, Slieve Donard is on the to do list of many walkers and most follow the normal tourist route, starting in Donard car park taking you up the Glen River to the summit and returning along the same route. There are however many accent and descent routes available to walkers, each with its own unique and pleasing features. 

View of Slieve Donard, Co. Down, Northern Ireland

This route starting at Bloody Bridge and ending in Donard Park, Newcastle takes in some great walking and more scenery than if you started from Newcastle to the summit of Donard and then retraced your steps on the return. 

As Slieve Donard is located only 3km from the sea, you can ascend the full 850m from sea level at 0m. This is unique and one of the biggest ascents in Ireland. For example, if you climb Carrauntoohil, Irelands highest mountain at 1,039m from the popular Hags Glen,  you start at 150m, therefore ascending only 889m !!!!

Steep Climb to the summit of Slieve Donard, Co. Down, Northern Ireland

Interesting details:

  • Highest mountain in Northern Ireland at 850m (2789ft)
  • It is the 19th highest peak in Ireland
  • It rises sharply to this height only 2 miles from the Irish Sea at Carlingford Lough
  • It is a young granite peak from the Neogene Period about 2.3 to 2.6 million years ago
  • The top of Slieve Donard has two cairns, the summit cairn and the Lesser Cairn from the early Bronze Age (approx 4000 years ago)
  • There are many and varied glacial features along the walk including the Corrie that has been carved from the Northern face of Slieve Donard
  • According to tradition St. Domhangart was appointed by St. Patrick to guard the surrounding countryside from the summit of Slieve Donard
  • In pagan times this mountain was known as Sliabh Slainge. Slainge who was the son of Partholon was the first physician in Ireland and according to Irish mythology when Slainge died he was buried here in a cairn

See our Map of Ireland and Sat Nav tool to get directions to the start point and our detailed maps and GPS on our ActiveME iPhone App and Android App to find and follow the walking route live on screen and keep on track. At all times, our maps and App should be used in conjunction with proper map and compass navigation techniques. Feel free to send us your photos and add you own star rating, comments or suggestions below.