Lucy CarterKieron GribbonDominic Lyttle
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Mourne Mountains – What’s in a Name?

Posted on June 21, 2016 @ 2:49 PM in Walking

Every wondered what the names of the Mourne Mountains actually mean?  With the help of some fantastic shots from Peter Lennon Photography we have put together a collection of summits (or Slieves from the Irish word ‘Sliabh’ meaning mountain) and the meanings behind their names. 

Slieve Meelmore

Slieve Meelmore (682m) meaning mountain of the large (Mor) animals.

Walk routes incorporating Slieve Meelmore 


The Mourne Wall climbing up Slieve Meelmore

Looking across at Meelmore in the middle distance (with the wall on it.) from Bearnagh

Slieve Bearnagh

With two impressive rocky tors and a col lying between them it is easy to see where Slieve Bearnagh (739m) from the Irish “Sliabh Bearna” meaning “Gapped Mountain” gets its name.

Walk routes incorporating Slieve Bearnagh 

Slieve Bearnagh

Looking  across at Bearnagh on the right with Ben Crom Reservoir hidden below walkers in the distance.


View from SLieve Beanragh

View from the slopes of Slieve Bearagh looking towards Carlingford with Binnian on the left, Ben Crom reservoir, around to Slieve Loughshannagh


The Tors of Slieve Bearnagh

Slieve Lamagan

The name Lamagan (704m) means “by hands and feet!!”giving a hint at how steep this summit is.

Walk routes incorporating Slieve Lamagan

Slieve Lamagan

Slieve Lamagan from the footpath which starts at Carricklittle car park, Annalong

view from slieve lamagan

View from Slieve Lamagan - taken from the summit looking across a Slieve Binnian (left) and Ben Crom reservoir below with the tip of the Silent Valley reservoir just coming into view.

Slieve Binnian

Slieve Binnian (747m) is named from the Irish Sliabh Binneáin after the rocky tors across it’s summit, also known as the Mountain of the little horns

Slieve Binnian walking route

Slieve Binnian

View of Binnian from Bearnagh

Taken from the Buzzards Roost on Slieve Binnian looking over Ben Crom reservoir at Ben Crom mountain and Slieve Bearnagh to the left 

Slieve Donard

Slieve Donard (850m) is named after Saint Donard, known in Irish as Domhanghairt or Domhanghart. A follower of Saint Patrickand he 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.  

Walk routes incorporating Slieve Donard

Slieve Donard

Slieve Donard framed by the rocks at the top of the Devils Coachroad

View more of Peter Lennon's fantastic photography of hte Mournes and other landscapes on his Facebook or Twitter pages.

Visit WalkNI for more information on walking in the Mourne Mountains.

Sarah Nelson
Sarah Nelson  Marketing Officer

Sarah joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in 2011. A firm believer in giving anything a go at least once (unless it involves jumping out of a plane at 6,000ft!) she is always looking for new adventures in the outdoors and can often be found wandering the Mournes or Glens of Antrim attempting not to get lost!

6 comments have been posted in reply to this article

Posted by Niall Murphy on June 26, 2016 @ 1:15 PM

Go raibh maith agat/Thanks.

Posted by Breandán Mac Searraigh on June 28, 2016 @ 10:59 AM

'Maol' means 'bald'. Sliabh Maol Mór and Beag are the big and small round-topped, bald mountains respectively. While 'Míol' does mean a large animal it's generally only used of whales or insects. Sliabh Míol Mór would mean 'the mountain of the blue whale'.

Posted by Valerie campion on June 28, 2016 @ 11:23 AM

A great article. Ideal to match wonderful photographs to each story.

Posted by SeanQuinn on June 28, 2016 @ 12:52 PM

Buiochas ! We love the wonderful Mourne mountains !

Founder President, Irish Ramblers Club

Posted by Eithne Casey on June 28, 2016 @ 1:20 PM

Wonderful photographs.

Posted by animal onesie on August 14, 2018 @ 5:32 AM

Very descriptive blog, I loved that a lot. Will there be a part 2?

animal onesie

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