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Men of the Mournes

56 Burren Road, Warrenpoint, County Down, BT34 3SA

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All is quiet in the Mourne Mountains. A tranquil spot to pause and reflect, it’s little wonder that these summits and valleys have been immortalised in verse and song. But it wasn’t always so... once upon a time, this famous range was a hive of activity for stone masons, soldiers, and even smugglers.

Join expert mountain guide Peter Rafferty as he stretches your imagination (as well as your legs). Make your way over rocky paths at a gentle pace, with plenty of breaks allowing you to stop and take in the spectacular sights and sounds of this special mountain range. Learn about the era when Mourne granite was highly sought after and the mountains echoed with the sound of handpicks. Watch as Peter shows you the tools and ‘plug and feather’ technique used to cut the stone, discover where it was sent, and hear about the men who built the 22-mile Mourne wall, constructed in 1904 to define a catchment area for a local reservoir.

Listen to Peter’s stories of the US military men who trained here before heading for the trenches of the Second World War, and discover how the Mournes were also home to less respectable pursuits in times gone by. See the Brandy Pad routes which were used by local smugglers in the 18th and 19th centuries, and soak up the atmosphere in one of the secret caves which came in very handy for storing illicit brandy, silk, tea, tobacco and other contraband. With so many tales to tell, it becomes evident why the Mournes are said to have been the inspiration for CS Lewis’ mystical Chronicles of Narnia.

Towards the end of the tour comes a vista that – despite having enjoyed a day already full to the brim with beautiful views - might just take your breath away. The scene overlooking the Ben Crom dam is, quite simply, spectacular. There couldn’t be a more fitting finale to a day rich in sights, sounds, stories and the freshest of air. Even your guide Peter, for whom the Mournes were a childhood playground, never fails to be wowed by this scene. It’s an experience he says he will never tire of – and something you are unlikely to forget, either. “It’s just fantastic,” Peter admits. “Sometimes you just stand and look at the views and say, ‘This is unreal’.”

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Men of the Mournes


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