The Mourne International Walking Festival will return next weekend for it's sixteenth year and this year it includes several non Mourne walks on Slieve Gullion!

It will run from the 24 to 26 June in Newcastle, throughout the Mourne Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) as well as the Ring of Gullion.

The Mourne Mountains. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
The Mourne Mountains. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

The Festival is the ideal time to discover the delights of the AONB, sample the excellent local cuisine, accommodation, enjoy traditional music and, most importantly, participate in some wonderful walking. Newcastle is an ideal location as it provides a stunning backdrop for walkers and is situated only an hour outside of Belfast.

No matter what your ability level is there is guaranteed to be a walk on offer to suit your needs. Experience lowland routes, ranging from 10 to 40km in length, by making use of public rights of way, roads and tracks. If you prefer more of a challenge, a mountain hike and ramble will be available on both days to allow walkers to see the full splendour of the Mourne Mountains. 

The Mountains, which were the inspiration for the Percy French song ‘The Mountains of Mourne’, are unique due to their grouped together peaks, stretching 24 kilometres, and sweep down to the sea in both Newcastle and Rostrevor. The AONB not only includes the Mountain but also the hills, lowland and coastal landscapes as well as the famous ‘Mourne Wall’, a 35 kilometre dry stone wall that crosses fifteen summits. 

This year’s festival will also give visitors the opportunity to experience some of the fabulous surrounds of Slieve Gullion Forest Park with a 12km walk or a free family magical trail. 

The festival not only offers excellent walking but also a great chance to socialise with other walkers. The highlight of the weekend is the ‘Knees Up Shindig’ on the Saturday night at 7pm in The Mourne Golf Club, Newcastle. This is a casual event where you can enjoy an evening of ceili and set dancing, traditional music and a hot buffet supper.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Gillian Fitzpatrick said, “The Council is delighted to once again host the Mourne International Walking Festival. The Mourne Mountains and the Ring of Gullion are the perfect destination for visitors to enjoy the spectacular views, stunning scenery and enjoyable walking routes. I would encourage all locals to join our international visitors and take part in this wonderful walking festival and experience all that the Newry, Mourne and Down District has to offer.”

For further information please contact the Festival Office on 028 4372 2222, email or visit


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