Slieve Donard

Height : 850m
Grid Ref: J357276
Google Earth : 54.180238, -5.920898
Prominence : 822m

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Slieve Donard is named after Saint Donard, known in Irish as Domhanghairt or Domhanghart. He was a follower of Saint Patrickand founded a monastery at Maghera, north of Newcastle. According to tradition he was appointed by Saint Patrick to guard the surrounding countryside from the summit of Slieve Donard. He is supposed not to have died, but to have become a “perpetual guardian”.

In pagan times the mountain was known as Sliabh Slainge—named after Sláinge mac Partholóin (Sláinge son of Partholón), who was allegedly the first physician in Ireland. According to Annála na gCeithre Máistrí (Annals of the Four Masters), he died in Anno Mundi 2533 (2533 years after the creation of the world) and was buried under a cairn on the mountain.

Slieve Donard sits at the northeastern edge of the Mournes, overlooking Newcastle and Dundrum Bay. It has three subsidiary peaks on the seaward side—Millstone Mountain (460 m), Thomas’s Mountain and Crossone. Two glens separate Slieve Donard from the neighbouring mountains of Slieve Commedagh (to the northwest) and Chimney Rock Mountain (to the south). Slieve Commedagh, at 767 m, is the second-highest of the Mourne Mountains.

At the summit of Slieve Donard there is a cairn and a small stone tower, which was built as a shelter. This tower is part of the Mourne Wall, which passes over the mountain’s southern and western shoulders. A triangulation pillar sits on top.

The mountain is an easy climb although the path is very eroded at places. In recent years a stone path has been made on the steepest parts of the mountain. The summit provides spectacular views of the coast and as far afield as Belfast, 30 miles north, and Dublin, 55 miles to the south.

Slieve Donard from Slieve Comedagh

Slieve Donard from the slopes of Slieve Comedagh

Slieve Donard Hike Video / Summit Video

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