Category: North of Ireland Walks & Routes

The County Tops: Number 7: Slieve Donard, Mourne Mountains, County Down

This entry is part 7 of 7 in the series The County Tops of Ireland
In the latest article from the County Top Series, Paul O’ Connor takes a walk up Slieve Donard in the magical Mourne Mountains to visit the highest point in County Down and the province of Ulster. Wonderfully dramatic, rugged and varied, the Mourne Mountains are quite simply a hill walker’s delight. Boasting a compact ring of 12 mountains above 600 metres and many other smaller hills, the range can undoubtedly lay claim to offer something for everyone, from the casual stroller to the seasoned Read more [...]

The County Tops: Number 6: Slieve Gullion, County Armagh

This entry is part 4 of 7 in the series The County Tops of Ireland
In the latest article from the County Top Series, Paul O’ Connor takes a walk up Slieve Gullion to visit Ireland's highest surviving passage tomb making sure not to fall into the enchanted 'Lake of Sorrows' at the top of the mountain.  It seems that so many of the hills and mountains in Ireland are shrouded in myth and legend. From Slievenamon's connections with the Celtic underworld to the 236 leprechauns that reputedly still live and thrive in the Cooley Mountains, a huge part of the enjoyment Read more [...]

Walking Ireland’s Iconic Mountains – Number 3: Slieve Binnian

This entry is part 3 of 6 in the series Walking Ireland's Iconic Mountains
In the third article exploring the Iconic Mountains of Ireland, Paul O’ Connor takes a trip up North to the Mourne Mountains to explore Slieve Binnian. Often overlooked for other mountains in the Range, Binnian is undoubtedly a classic and is renowned for its mighty summit Tors and majestic views. Read more [...]

Our Trailtrekker training continues, with the Mourne Seven 7’s challenge…

In the latest article on his teams training for the upcoming Oxfam Trailtrekker event, Stephen Wilson gives an account of his successful attempt at the mammoth Mourne Seven Sevens Challenge. So, at 6am on Saturday the 7th August 2010, myself and team mates Darren Graham and Eve Young, set off to Donard Park once again to take on the Mourne Seven 7’s challenge as preparation for the Trailtrekker. Despite the lack of sleep, the bacon bap’s provided by Eve had us in high spirits on the journey, but there was a definite sense of trepidation, and possibly some fear in the air, as we considered what we were about to take on. The challenge is so named because it involves getting to the summit of each of the 7 peaks in the mourne’s that are over 700m high. What they don’t tell you is that in order to do that within a decent time you will also need to get over at least 2 other peaks below 700m! The only rule is that all walkers must reach the checkpoint at Ben Crom Dam by 2:30pm, and the route you take is entirely your own choice. Darren and myself did some limited research on the best route to take and opted to start with Slieve Donard and go anti-clockwise around Ben Crom reservoir. Hiking 29km, the target times were 10 –12 hours and we hoped to do it in under 12. Read more [...]

The Classic Walks of Ireland: The struggle to tame the Mourne Wall

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series The Classic Walks of Ireland
In the latest article from the series on the Classic Walks of Ireland, Paul O' Connor makes a second attempt at the famous Mourne Wall Walk. Having learnt some valuable lessons from an initial aborted effort, Paul takes on one of the greatest Mountain Walks in Ireland covering 35km and 3000 metres of ascent. A wise man once told me that the definition of failure isn't to fall down; it is not to get back up again. I had waited eight long months to get back up again, a time stretching from August 23rd 2009 to 6:20am on Monday, May 3rd 2010 when I found myself at the foot of the Mourne Mountains and the start of my second attempt at the Mourne Wall Walk. I suppose you could say that the previous attempt had not gone well... you would be pretty correct in saying that it had ended in something of abject failure and quite a bit of misery. On that occasion, the Mournes had quite simply chewed us up and spat us out again. We were the proverbial lambs to the slaughter; badly prepared, totally lacking the requisite fitness and arrogantly believing that we could triumph over whatever Nature could throw at us including the forecasted stormy weather. Read more [...]

The County Tops – Number 3: Sawel, Counties Derry and Tyrone

This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series The County Tops of Ireland
In the latest article from the County Top Series, Paul O' Connor ignores the forecast and braves gale-force winds to take a jaunt up Sawel Mountain to tick off two more County Tops. It would be something of an understatement to say that the weather forecast hadn't been good. Strong to gale-force winds and heavy showers on Friday night leading into Saturday morning was what the friendly weather man had said after the 9 o'clock news. Unperturbed, I got to bed at a reasonable hour and set my alarm for 5:15. Not very long afterwards, I was cursing my stupidity as I done my best to ignore the wind that was very noticeably buffeting my car as I drove along the Carrickmacross bypass. Arriving in Omagh, the heavens opened and the rain came down so heavily that I missed the turn off for Plumbridge and had to backtrack. Why oh why had I not listened to the nice friendly weather man? Read more [...]

Panic on the slopes of Bearnagh

In his riveting personal account, Jason Halpin describes a failed attempt to bag Slieve Bearnagh in the Mournes in treacherous alpine conditions [A light dusting of snow more like! - Ed.] The lessons being not to stray beyond your comfort zone and to remember that the mountain will still be there tomorrow! Read more [...]