"Northern ireland" Belfast by TygerLyn

Belfast Travel Guide: 1,157 reviews and 2,717 photos

Mountains of Mourne II - Slieve Donard

I ran out of space on the last bit so here I am again, writing about the Mourne Mountains.

The day M & I decided to climb the Mourne Mountains was so very hot that I felt quite unprepared. We had both taken water but I hadn't taken a cap or hat. However, it got so hot I took off my leggings and wound them round my head, turban style, whilst my legs were decently covered by my cycling shorts. M also had his lttle tracking device, which I think he was secretly in love with. We were both concerned about me as I had not done any serious walking on this scale for years and I also have dodgy hips and knees but I put a support on my worst knee. Luckily I suffered no ill effects at all except for the white stripe I had for several months afterwards!

We both intended climbing Slieve Donard which is the highest mountain in Ireland. It is a serious climb but it is grass all the way, it is not sheer rock face. As we were picking our way out of a bog, trying to follow a trail, we met a relative of Ians, Ian being the owner of The Hut. This cousin, an amazingly fresh faced, fit man in his early 60's explained that the Mourne Wall was biult by the unemployed during the bad times in the late 19c and that it was specifically built to enable them to earn a wage. A humbling thought. He also said that he walked the paths everyday so that he could pick the litter that visitors dropped. Another humbling thought.

The climb was quite strenuous and we both had to take frequent stops to catch our breath. Even M and he was also impressed with the time in which we did it which made me feel 100% better. The view from the top was spectacular. I can't describe it. A heat haze huing over everything so it was all a bit blurred but it was worth the climb.


We ate our lunch at the top, enjoying the wonderful view. It was a bit offputting to have people cycling to the top (yes, really) and group of elderly (even older than me) men with walking sticks and very white hair appearing to be quite okay when they reach the top but as they had climbed up from the gentler side perhaps it wa not so surprising.

We then walked down the other side and followed the wall across to the other mountains in the range. Without M, his map and his gadget I can't tell you what they are called but we followed the smugglers path (the Brandy Pad) and climbed all the other mountains in the range except one which we found impossible. (M did this two days later after I had left and finally found the path to it.)

It was terrific, the range was so attractive and although slightly boggy underfoot at times none of it awas beyond anyones capabilities.

St Patrick

We went to DownPatrick to look at the Cathedral and inspect St Patricks tomb. I was much more impressed by the local police station which was more like a high security prison! M & I found this by accident as we pushed off for a walk round town and then treated ourselves to a large glass of wine in a local hostellry. The other two had found somewhere to sit down. Again, we were lucky with the weather. Downpatrick is a rather small provincial town, a high street and not much else. There is a musem attached to the cathedral and art exhibitions are held there. The museum and art exhibition liven up the cathedral which is quite small and plain. We were there on the Friday of the first day of Spring Half term. There seemed to be a lot of interactive "play" at the bus station, girls shrieking, boys fighting, boys trying to snog the girls, the usual thing. About 4 different schools all mixed together. It was bedlam.

  • Last visit to Belfast: May 2006
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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