SLIEVE DONARD (SLIABH DÓNAIRT) IS THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN IN NORTHERN IRELAND STANDING AT 850 M (2790 FT) ABOVE SEA LEVEL. THE PEAK IS LOCATED NEAR THE CITY OF NEWCASTLE JUST 3 KM AWAY FROM THE IRISH SEA IN COUNTY DOWN.
The mountain is closely associated with Irish mythology and was thought to have a secret passage to the Otherworld. Nowadays, the summit still hosts the remains of two prehistoric burial tombs. After Ireland was Christianized between the 5th and the 8th centuries, a local Christian missionary was founded there leading to frequent pilgrimages every summer up until late 1830s. The peak was named after Saint Donard, a follower of Saint Patrick, who built a hermitage there back in the 5th century and is now believed to be a protector of the mountain.
Slieve Donard is a relatively easy hike, however, it gets challenging at places due to seldom erosion and steep parts of the path. The peak provides dramatic panorama of the Irish Sea remarkable coastline from Belfast about 48 km (30 mi) to the north, to Dublin approximately 89 km (55 mi) to the south.
THE FIVE HIGHEST POINTS IN NORTHERN IRELAND:
- Slieve Donard (Sliabh Dónairt) - 850 m (2790 ft), in Mourne Mountains, County Down, Northern Ireland.
- Slieve Commedagh (Sliabh Coimhéideach) - 767 m (2516 ft), in Mourne Mountains, County Down, Northern Ireland.
- Slieve Binnian (Sliabh Binneáin) - 747 m (2451 ft), in Mourne Mountains, County Down, Northern Ireland.
- Slieve Bearnagh (Sliabh Bearna) - 727 m (2385 ft), in Mourne Mountains, County Down, Northern Ireland.
- Slieve Meelbeg (Sliabh Míol Beag) - 708 m (2323 ft), in Mourne Mountains, County Down, Northern Ireland.
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