Mourne Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

At the heart of the AONB is the range of mountains which gives the area its name and its enduring image. These mountains are unique with their closely grouped peaks stretching 24 kilometres from Newcastle to Rostrevor and ’sweeping down to the sea’ at both places. Not only one of Ireland’s most beautiful mountains ranges, the Mournes are also probably the best known, thanks to Percy French and his famous song.

However, the AONB extends much beyond this spectacular upland core to embrace a wide range of hill, lowland and coastal landscapes. The Slieve Croob area to the north comprises a series of rocky summits with thin grass cover and rocky screes.  Here the land rises to a height of 534m at Slieve Croob itself. The beautiful Carlingford Lough and Dundrum Bay and 40 kilometres of cliffed coastline and sandy beaches contribute to the overall diversity of habitat and landform.

The area provides the source of a number of important rivers; the River Lagan, which rises near the summit of Slieve Croob and the River Bann, rising in the Deer’s Meadow in the heart of the high Mournes, are the best known. Thus, although relatively small in area, the Mourne AONB combines the stunning scenery of mountains, coast, farmed drumlin and hill country.

The mountains, countryside, coast and settlements of Mourne comprise a diverse resource of immense importance in respect of their landscape, wildlife, built and cultural heritage. A range of economic activities are supported including farming, forestry, fishing, mineral extraction, water supply, tourism and recreation contibute to the distinctive character of the countryside and its settlements, as well as providing local employment and influencing the quality of life for local people. 

You can find out much more about the special qualties fo the Mourne AONB on this website on.  For Landscape click here, for Biodiveristy click here and for Built & Cultural Heritage click here.