Living & Learning

In this section we provide some of the basic facts and figures about life in the Mourne AONB and the qualities of the area. First, there is an 'at a glance' lowdown on the key facts. Next, there is our collection of Educational Fact Sheets, designed to assist primary school pupils and their teachers to learn about what makes the Mourne AONB a special place to live in or to visit. Finally, we provide some ideas and inspiration to encourage the use of the fine local Mourne produce.

Key Facts about the Mourne AONB

If you want to know all there is to know about the Mourne Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty but in bite sized chunks, you have come to the right section of our website. Via the link below you can find the bare essentials of what makes up the AONB. All dimensions are covered from the overall land area covered by the designation to the height of the loftiest peak, from the length of coastline to the number of habitat designations and historic monuments. We also describe key features of our economy and society. For the key facts lowdown click here.

Educational Fact sheets

Our Educational Fact Sheets begin with how the landscape of the Mountains of Mourne and Slieve Croob was formed and continue through the imprints of past civilisations on the landscape to the modern day including the food we produce and the wildlife around us. There are also specific examinations of the beautiful and varied Mourne coast and the opportunities and issues associated with outdoor recreation and tourism.

To view each Fact Sheet please click on the links below.

Mountains of Mourne
Evidence of the past
Food from the Mournes
Living in the Mournes
Mourne Coast
The Mournes: a place to visit

Further information on the special qualities of the AONB can be accessed via the buttons on our Home Page relating respectively to Landscape; Biodiversity; and Built and Cultural Heritage.

Mourne Produce

Kilkeel People from the Mournes and Slieve Croob are justifiably proud of the area’s tradition of nurturing the finest produce, from both the land and the sea. Agricultural and fishing ways of life in the region present an interesting combination of old and new practices. In the past the Mourne area had to be almost self-sufficient by trading livestock and agricultural produce through the fairs. Other essential needs were supplemented by goods bought from the peddler, the travelling tinker and the smuggler. Times of course have changed. Mourne and indeed Northern Ireland have not been self reliant for decades. However with increasing awareness of health, food quality and environmental issues the benefits of producing, consuming and promoting the local produce of the area are more and more understood and appreciated.

The benefits of using local produce are many and include:

Support for the Local Economy - keeping your money in the local economy by buying local safeguards and creates jobs and adds to local economic growth.

Fewer Food Miles - fewer transport miles between the producer and your plate means that the environmental impact of transporting your food is reduced.

Freshness and Seasonality – buying directly from local producers will ensure that your produce will be fresh and in season.

Traceability -  by buying locally produced food you can be confident of where and how your food has been grown, reared, processed, packaged and handled during its journey to your plate.

Distinctiveness - sampling produce that is related to the landscape, traditions and special qualities of the area.

Mourne Menus

In order to encourage the use of seasonal local produce, top chefs have helped us produce some contemporary and innovative recipes using traditional Mourne products. Please click on the links below

Dundrum Bay Mussels with a Thai Green Curry Broth
Dundrum Bay Mussels with Tomato, Chorizo, Basil
Irish Stout Wheaten Bread
Mourne Seafood Fricassee
Slow-cooked Mourne Lamb
Smoked Salmon Potato Bread with Crème Fraiche & a Watercress & Apple Salad
Mussels in White Wine Parsley & Garlic

For an even more extensive selection see our Mourne Seasonal Signature Recipe Cards. These contain 16 traditional & contemporary recipes promoting the use of local produce synonymous with the Mourne AONB. Seasonal recipes & suggestions are included for breakfasts, lunches (which can also be used as starters), main Courses & desserts. All recipes have been developed for Mourne Heritage Trust by Michelin Starred chef Barry Smyth formerly of thee Oriel Restaurant in Co Down.

Mourne Seasonal Signature Recipe Cards