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One cannot think of County Down without feeling a little wistful about its most precious natural amenity, the beautiful Mountains of Mourne. The Mourne Mountains are still relatively untouched by humans, with a number of towns and villages surrounding the range, but very little in the way of inhabitants based on its granite slopes. Several of its peaks are accessible for climbers, however, with the most popular being Slieve Donard, which at 848 metres is the highest in the range and Ulster’s highest peak at the foot of which stands the lovely coastal town of Newcastle, famous for the Royal County Down Golf Club, one of the finest links golf courses in the world.
The Mourne Mountains are made up of several peaks. Other heights to scale include Slieve Binnian, Slieve Bearnagh, Slieve Lamagan, Slieve Muck and Cove Mountain. The mountains stretch down to the sea all along the south County Down coast as far as Kilkeel and Warrenpoint, where they face the Cooley Mountains range across Carlingford Bay in County Louth. The mountains were made famous the world over by the Percy French song, the evocative Mountains of Mourne
At the heart of the range is the Silent Valley Reservoir, surrounded by Mourne Wall, built in the early nineteenth century to provide employment for the local poor. The range also contains several parks, including Donard Park and Tollymore Forest Park. For information on walks in the mountains, Mourne Countryside Centre in Newcastle is a good starting point.