- Walk the best of the Saint Patrick’s Way in Northern Ireland, a pilgrimage trail
- The Mourne Mountains, a filming location for Game of Thrones
- Tollymore Forest, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
- Landscapes that influenced C.S. Lewis when he invented fictional Narnia
- Slieve Donard Mountain and its hermit cave associated with Saint Patrick
Follow in the footsteps of Saint Patrick on the best of Northern Ireland’s pilgrimage walking trail.
Saint Patrick is one of the world’s most beloved saints and Ireland’s most famous. Born in Roman Britain he came to Ireland as a slave, before escaping to France and England. He returned to Ireland as a missionary and left his legacy behind here, converting local hill folk in the Mourne Mountains and beyond.
Enjoy the variety of landscapes; rolling farmland that sweeps down to the sea, the dramatic Mourne Mountains, breath-taking flora and fauna, golden gorse, ancient stone walls and views over Carlingford Lough. With a warm welcome from the locals and atmospheric pubs you are sure to enjoy this pilgrimage celebrating Saint Patrick’s life and legacy.
Day 1: Arrive Newry and overnight
Arrive in the historic city of Newry for your first overnight. There are trains or buses from Belfast to Newry and the journey takes from 1-2 hours.
Saint Patrick, the missionary who brought Christianity to Ireland was born around 400AD in Roman Britain and brought to Ireland as a slave around the age 16 years. He escaped his captors and fled to England and France where he studied to become a cleric. He went back to Ireland as a missionary in 432AD and landed in County Down on Strangford Lough, but went on to create Ireland’s first Christian church near Downpatrick.
While travelling on his mission in Ireland, Saintt Patrick spent time in a place called Glen Righe and he planted a yew tree here above the Clanyre River, which is the river that flows through Newry, It was a symbol of his faith and today the city’s coat of arms shows Saintt Patrick between yew trees.
Newry is also interesting due to its canal which was a vital coal transport link, and it is the oldest summit-level canal in Britain and Ireland. It opened in 1742 and connected Portadown and Newry.
This is a vibrant city and there are many bars and restaurants, as well as a flourishing art scene and heritage trail.
Day 2: Newry to Rostrevor
Today you will get a great sense of the changing landscape as you walk towards the coast. Walk down country lanes and past rolling green hillsides with views over Carlingford Lough and then views of the Cooley Mountains and the Mourne Mountains as you approach Rostrevor.
Rostrevor has barely changed from its Edwardian heyday and there are many fine 18th and 19th century homes to view. Lying on the edge of Carlingford Lough, this idyllic little resort town is picturesque and has a C.S. Lewis inspired Narnia Trail. Atmospheric pubs and enticing eateries all serve to ensure that you will have a marvellous evening here,
Day 3: Rostrevor to Mourne Mountains
Today’s walk takes you from the edge of the lough and into the majestic Mourne Mountains. Firstly the trail takes you through the Rostrevor Forest. C.S. Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia, used to holiday in the Mournes and this location inspired his fictional landscapes.
The next part of this pilgrim walk has you walking on parts of the Ulster Way and Mourne Way, through the foothills of these impressive mountains. A short transfer (20 mins) brings you back to Rostrevor for a second night.
Walk: 18 km
Day 4: Mourne Mountains to Newcastle
Starting from where you finished yesterday (a short transfer away) you will once again walk through the Mourne Mountains and around Slieve Bearnagh, which is the fourth highest in this range, with two large granite tors on its summit.
Then walk through Tollymore Forest, an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Links with Saintt Patrick are many here. Newcastle lies at the base of Slieve Donard Mountain on which there is a hermit’s cave in the Great Cairn constructed by Saint Donard, who was a important disciple of Saint Patrick. He is said to have converted when Saintt Patrick brought his bull back to life after it had been killed.
Newcastle itself is a delightful seaside town, lying on the Irish Sea with a 5km stretch of beach and with plenty of local pubs and restaurants to choose from.
Day 5: Onward Travel
You can travel onto Belfast by bus from Newcastle (around 1H30) and from here make your onward journeys.
The accommodation on this tour is comfortable B&B’s and a hotel. All offer a warm welcome to walkers and traditional Irish hospitality with delicious full Irish breakfasts. It must be noted that as there is no appropriate accommodation in the Mourne Mountains, we will provide transfers to and from the walks on Day 3 and 4 and you will stay a second night in Rostrevor. We regularly use the properties below but may accommodate you elsewhere if these are not available.
Single Rooms & Solo Walkers
We will be happy to accommodate your party with single rooms if requested, and a single supplement applies. This trip is also available to solo walkers, and a supplement is again payable (as some costs are not shared). Please note that singles may not be of the same standard as twins/doubles.
Canal Court Hotel - Newry
This hotel and spa is perfectly located next to the canal and very close to the heart of the city centre. Its rooms are spacious and modern, though decorated in a traditional style.
The Sands B&B - Rostrevor
Situated in exclusive Victoria Square, just a 5 minute walk from the town centre, both bright and airy rooms have amazing views over the mountains and the sea, crisp white cotton sheets and very comfortable beds.
Amble In - Newcastle
This cosy family-run B&B is located very near the main shopping area, yet it is very quiet. All 4 rooms have modern day comforts with free Wifi, tea and coffee making facilities and welcoming owners.
This walking tour is available to book between April and October. You can start on any date that suits your travel plans and you will find availability on our website.
A hearty breakfast is included each morning, which usually includes choices of cereals, toast and yoghurts. A full cooked Irish breakfast is also provided. Lunch and dinner are not included, so you are free to choose from the available options. Most of your accommodations will be more than happy to provide a packed lunch on request and this can be booked on arrival. Alternatively you can buy lunch at local shops or stop in a café. Your route notes will have more specific information on whether you will need to take a packed lunch on a walk or whether there is a café, shop, etc en route.
You can buy dinner in all the towns you stay in as there are plenty of choices of local restaurants and pubs.
Your bags will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.
Grade & Terrain
As this itinerary has you walking in the Mourne Mountains and can be undulating and with elevation gains and losses, this tour is rated moderate overall. This itinerary is suitable for regular walkers but you will need to be physically fit. The terrain consists of mainly quiet tarmac country roads (on Day 2) , woodland paths and trails through open moorland and through mountains (on Days 3 and 4), which, although not very high, can be exposed to the elements. During rainy weather some of the trails can be very muddy, boggy and waterlogged, so be prepared to get your boots wet and wear very good quality walking and waterproof boots. Wearing gaiters is also a good option.
This route is way-marked but at times you will also need to use your detailed route notes and the GPS tracks that will be provided for you via the Macs Adventure smartphone App. As some of these areas are quite remote it is advisable that you are a regular walker in this kind of environment.
It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.
The distances and descents / ascents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necesssary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat and sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking/ cycling gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.
Getting to Newry
The closest airport is Belfast City Airport. From here you can take a bus or a train to Belfast City Centre and then a bus or a train to Newry. The total journey takes just over 2H. You can also fly into Belfast International Airport. However, this airport is further away and it will take you 3H by bus to Newry with 2 changes, or you can take a train via Belfast City Centre which takes almost 4 hours.
It is also possible to fly into Dublin Airport as the journey by bus is only 1H15 and there is a regular service.
Getting from Newcastle
Just as when you arrived, the best airports to fly into are Belfast City, Belfast International or Dublin. From Newcastle you can take buses to Belfast City Centre and onto either airport from there. The journey in total to the airport takes about 1H30, depending on the transfer times in Belfast.
You can also take a bus to Dublin Airport and fly out of the there. The journey takes 2H45.
Please refer to the travel links above for more information on timetables and routes.
- 4 Nights in B&B's & guest houses
- 4 Breakfasts
- Luggage Transfers
- Day 3 Transfer from the end of the walk
- Day 4 Transfer to beginning of walk
- A detailed information pack, route notes and maps
- Access to the GPX tracks via the Macs Smartphone App
- 24/7 Emergency telephone support from our office
- Travel to Newry
- Travel from Newcastle
- Lunches & dinners
- Snacks & drinks
- Travel Insurance
- Personal Equipment
- Taxi transfers or public transport should you need to skip a stage
- Single room supplement
- Solo Walker Supplement
- Extra nights before, after or during your walk
How fit do I need to be?
As this itinerary has you walking in the Mourne Mountains and can be undulating and with elevation gains and losses, this tour is rated moderate overall. This Itinerary is suitable for regular walkers but you will need to be physically fit.
How do the baggage transfers work?
Your baggage will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.
How far in advance do I need to book?
We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised. You will find up to date availability on our website and we will always try and accommodate your plans.
What personal equipment do I need?
You will need good walking shoes/boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack and hats/gloves etc.
When is the best time of year?
We operate the tour to coincide with accommodations being open and weather being more conducive to walking. However, this is Northern Ireland, so there could be beautiful sunny days or there could be rain and wind. It's unpredictable so booking with this knowledge the correct gear will ensure that you have a wonderful time. July and August will be busier than at other times. Spring is early here so the spring flowers will definitely be out by April and by May trees and shrubs will all be blossoming.
What happens if I can’t walk a stage?
You can use public transport or local taxis to continue to your next overnight stop.