Walk up Slieve Donard from Newcastle

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Route Summary:

A straightforward walk to the summit of Northern Ireland’s highest mountain.

4.82 km 838 m 4-5 hours

Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.

Start and Finish: Donard Park, Newcastle


There are plenty of places to eat and drink in Newcastle, with the Anchor Bar and O’Hares pubs and eateries nearby. There are toilets at the start.


No specific hazards other than those usually associated with high mountains.

Remember that we cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent. Read up on Mountain Safety , Navigation and what equipment you’ll need.

Public Transport:

Visit the Translink website for more information on buses to the area.

Traveline for UK Public Transport
Parking and Post Code for Sat Nav (where applicable): BT33 0HL

Parking available at Donard Park

Weather Forecast:

Met Office Mourne Mountains Weather

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Walk up Slieve Donard from Newcastle Route Map and GPX Download

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Summits and Places on this Route

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Walk up Slieve Donard from Newcastle Details

Slieve Donard, in the Mourne Mountains, is the highest mountain in Northern Ireland and is most often ascended via the Glen River path from the resort town of Newcastle. Slieve Donard literally translates as: Dónairt’s mountain in Irish. ‘Slieve’ being Irish for mountain and Saint Donard was a Christian missionary who based himself on the mountain. A famous feature of Slieve Donard and the Mournes is the Mourne Wall. The  wall was built in the early 20th century in order to isolate the watershed from livestock, took 18 years to build and passes over a total of 15 summits.

Walk up Slieve Donard from Newcastle Route Details

The walk up Slieve Donard starts from the car park at Donard Park in Newcastle. Initially ascending through the forest of Donard Wood along the cascading Glen River where the going is steady and the path easy enough to follow.

The path eventually reaches the hillside, and continues in the same manner along the Glen River up to the col known as The Saddle. The track here has recently been paved and steps built in order to cope with the pressure of thousands of walkers who choose to ascend Sleive Donard annually.

From The Col, the final section is a steep pull up along the Mourne Wall to Slieve Donard’s summit. It’s clearly marked with a shelter in the form of a tower with a trig point on top as it was used for the Principal Triangulation of Great Britain in 1826 as a base to map Ireland. There are also a couple of large summit cairns, with the largest denoting the actual highest point. The route then descends the same way to the start.

More information can be found here.

Dave Roberts

Dave Roberts founded Walk Eryri in 2004, with the aim of providing routes that are off the beaten track. Walk Eryri is now part of Mud and Routes which continues to provide more off beat routes and walks in Snowdonia and beyond. Dave has been exploring the hills of Eryri for over thirty years, and is a qualified Mountain Leader.
Dave also established Walk up Snowdon, Walk up Scafell Pike and Walk up Ben Nevis just to mention a few.

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