Discover the magic of Northern Ireland on a hike through its varied landscape. This country has everything from tranquil forests to craggy islands and sublime mountains. After all, Northern Ireland is a hiker’s paradise with diverse mountain ranges and peaks to explore, offering endless opportunities for adventure.
Northern Ireland’s Sperrin Mountains stretch 40 miles along the County Tyrone and Derry border. The glacial mountain range was carved during the last Ice Age. It boasts 17 named peaks, evidently Sawel Mountain (678 m) being the highest.
Located roughly 30 miles south of Belfast in southeast County Down, the Mourne Mountains is undoubtedly a popular destination for hikers, with over 30 named peaks exceeding 500 m, including the highest in Northern Ireland and Ulster, Slieve Donard (852 m).
If you’re itching to escape into the great outdoors, savor awe-inspiring vistas, and discover thrilling hiking routes in Northern Ireland. Read on to discover some of the most spectacular natural wonders this region offers.
Highest peak: 2,796 feet (852 meters)
Located: Near the coast at the northeastern end of the range
Main routes: The glen river route and the bloody bridge river route
Highlight: The summit of Slieve Donard holds historical significance with the remains of an oratory built by St. Domhangort. The mountain is named after him, and he built it in the 5th century.
Scaling the peak involves ascending every vertical meter since the climb starts at sea level. Despite its modest height, the peak requires a challenging climb. The route to the summit is well-marked and graded T2 with a few T3 sections. As hikers trek through dense forests and along small streams, nature’s melody will serenade their senses. The wet, grassy slopes and moss-covered boulders of the Irish Highlands will surely reward their efforts.
From the summit of Slieve Donard, hikers can soak in breathtaking views of the Irish Sea. In fact, the surrounding countryside only adds to the beauty of this majestic mountain. Hikers can immerse themselves in dense forests on the trail to the summit from Newcastle Beach. The trail then leads over wet, grassy slopes covered in mosses, an experience worth every step. Climbing the peak requires ascending every vertical meter since the ascent begins at sea level.
Hikers can approach Slieve Donard from the east at Bloody Bridge, which offers a unique route. Following the Bloody Bridge River and then the Mourne Wall, they will reach the summit with a sense of achievement. At the summit, hikers can explore the remains of a prehistoric cairn, the highest-known passage tomb in Britain and Ireland. The tomb, dating back to 3000 B.C., is specifically a glimpse into ancient history.
Highest peak: 2,516 feet (767 meters)
Location: In the Mournes
Ascending Slieve Commedagh offers hikers stunning views of the Mourne Wall and beyond. It’s an experience that will leave you breathless, both literally and figuratively. Scaling this peak promises a sense of accomplishment and awe-inspiring vistas.
Despite its lower ranking, hikers shouldn’t overlook this true gem of a mountain. On clear days, the breathtaking views from the summit are undeniably a reward worth the climb. Hiking Slieve Commedagh is an opportunity to experience the thrill of conquering one of Northern Ireland’s highest mountains. Why not take on the challenge and create unforgettable memories?
Highest peak: 2,451 feet (746 meters)
Location: County Down, Northern Ireland, 9 km north of Kilkeel.
Get ready for a thrilling adventure as we reach the top three highest mountains in Northern Ireland! The majestic Slieve Binnian promises breathtaking views of the stunning Silent Valley and the surrounding mountains.
At the Carrick Little Car Park, hikers can begin their journey to Slieve Commedagh, a challenging yet rewarding hike. The experience promises breathtaking views and memories that will last a lifetime. With its spectacular scenery and invigorating climb, Slieve Binnian is a must-visit destination for every outdoor enthusiast.
Highest peak: 2,385 feet (739 meters)
Location: In the Mournes
Slieve Bearnagh truly captures the spirit of the Mourne range. Its rugged beauty and stunning views are a must-see for hikers. Slieve Bearnagh promises breathtaking views and rugged beauty that will reward hikers for their efforts in conquering its imposing peak. Its rugged and imposing beauty promises an unforgettable experience.
Ascending Slieve Bearnagh’s slopes leads to a world of rock and heather, with stunning views in all directions. The experience is unforgettable. The summit also offers a glimpse into the area’s history, with the remains of a cairn dating back to the Bronze Age.
Highest peak: 2,383 feet (702 meters)
Location: In the West Mournes
Tucked away in the heart of the Mourne Mountains, the impressive Slieve Meelbeg is a force to be reckoned with. Soaring above 700 meters, this mountain is popular for hikers looking for a challenging and rewarding climb. Together with its neighbor, Slieve Meelmore, these two peaks form an iconic part of the Mourne skyline.
Not to mention the Mourne Wall stretching for 22 miles is a testament to its builders’ ingenuity and hard work. For those looking for a true mountain experience, tackling Slieve Meelbeg is an absolute must.
Highest peak: 2,310 feet (680 meters)
Location: Under 6 mile east of the village of Hilltown
With awe-inspiring views of the Mourne Mountains and County Down, it’s a highly rewarding hike. Amidst the picturesque Mourne Mountains, Slieve Meelbeg beckons hikers with its scenic trails and sweeping views. So, gear up for an adventurous climb and soak in the breathtaking vistas of the Northern Irish countryside.
With every step, the sense of accomplishment builds, culminating in an unparalleled sense of triumph as you reach the summit.
Highest peak: 2,310 feet (702 meters)
Location: In the middle of the high Eastern Mournes
Slieve Lamagan stands proud as the seventh-highest peak in all of Northern Ireland. With its rugged terrain and sweeping vistas, this majestic mountain is a true masterpiece of nature.
Traverse the historic Mourne Wall and ascend Slieve Lamagan for awe-inspiring views of Silent Valley and Slieve Binnian. Reaching the top of Slieve Meelmore is challenging, but the stunning views make it worthwhile.
Highest peak: 2,224 feet (678 meters)
Location: In the Sperrin Mountains in County Tyrone
Sawel Mountain is the highest peak of the Sperrins and the top of both County Derry and County Tyrone. While it has a gentle gradient, mountain climbing can pose challenges due to harsh weather and boggy terrain. Therefore, it is recommended to come well-prepared with the right gear.
Park along Glenelly or Sperrin Road and walk a mile to reach a forested area for the hike. Presently the southern approach to Slieve Meelbeg offers a wire fence-guided path leading to the mountain ridge’s summit. From there, ascend westward to reach the summit of Sawel Mountain.
To descend the mountain, head southwest along the fence until you reach the western side of Dart Mountain (621m). From there, a bog road will lead you back to Glenelly Road.
Highest peak: 2,208 feet (670 meters)
Location: In the central Mournes
Slieve Muck may not be as well-known as some neighbouring peaks, but it’s the ninth-highest in Northern Ireland. The climb along the Mourne Wall to the summit is worth it for the views of the surrounding mountain range. As you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking panoramas of the Mourne Mountains and beyond.
Highest peak: 2,182 feet (665 meters)
Location: Border of Counties Fermanagh and Cavan
Cuilcagh (pronounced cool-Ka). The ‘Stairway to Heaven’ is unquestionably a scenic trekking path attracting enthusiasts from far and wide, offering beautiful views of Fermanagh countryside.
Chimney Rock Mountain
Highest peak: 2,152 feet (656 meters)
Location: InCo. Down and part of the Mourne Mountains
Chimney Rock Mountain falls just outside the top ten highest mountains in Northern Ireland. Despite this, it’s still a worthwhile hike with stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
Highest peak: 2,149 feet (655 meters)
Location: In the Mournes Mountains
Ranking at number 12 on our list of the highest mountains in Northern Ireland is thus Cove Mountain. It offers hikers breathtaking views of the surrounding area and therefore is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
Highest peak: 2,093 feet (638 meters)
Location: In the Mournes Mountains
The soaring Eagle Mountain stands tall as the 13th-highest peak in Northern Ireland. Particularly offering a challenging hike, this mountain is a haven for thrill-seeking adventurers looking to push their limits.
As soon as you ascend this majestic peak, the panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes will take your breath away. Unsurprisingly, hiking enthusiasts flock to Eagle Mountain to experience the thrill of conquering its heights.
Highest peak: 2,083 feet (635 metres)
Location: In the region in the county of Derry and Strabane, Ireland
Mullaghclogha is a must-visit mountain in the UK with a prominence of 200m. A summit trail is available, and it is one of the 9 peaks included in the challenging Sperrins Challenge Walk 2011. Prepare yourself for an adventure as you take on Mullaghclogha!
Highest peak: 2,057feet (627 metres)
Location: Craighagh Hill
Mullaghneany is nestled within the horse-shoe loop encompassing Craighagh Hill, offering unobtrusive yet stunning views of the eastern landscape, including Maghera and Magherafelt. Adventurers can access the summit via various routes, including Mullaghaneany, Craig Hill, Mullaghsallagh, and Crockback.