Slieve Roosley

Viewpoint: Coyles Hill junction - Grid Ref. J183252

The Slieve Roosley Hills lie to the west of the Mournes, between them and Newry. They have a very different feel to the high mountains, are little developed and less explored.

Key features

• An attractive open landscape of windswept hilltops and straight, steep sided, narrow valleys running down to the sea at Carlingford Lough.
• Rough, sheep-grazed upland pastures are found on the upper slopes; fields enclosed by stone walls below.
• The underlying rock of these flat summits are ancient Silurian Shales. This rock is the edge of the cap which once covered the whole of the Mourne mountains before many millions of years of erosion exposed the present granite peaks.
• Occasional trees in hedgerows on footslopes and in glens; no trees on hilltops.
• Scattered houses around the edges of the hills and along the glens; a mixture of old cottages and farms.

Special feature - Booleying

Booleying is an ancient tradition that would have taken place throughout the rural landscape of Ireland and still takes place in some areas of Europe, but no longer in the Mournes. This was to make use of upland grazing while crops were grown on the better low lying land during the growing season. Whole families would move up to the uplands for the summer months, constructing rough houses or 'booley huts' from the stone and turf of the mountain.

Whilst up in the high ground with their grazing animals, people would have made butter, cut turf and spun wool, selling their wares at the local markets such as in Hilltown. 'Bog butter' is still occasionally found buried in crock pots up in the mountains, buried to keep it cool before 'booley fairs' during the summer.

Much of the turf in Mourne has been stripped down to the granite sands and boulders, and peat is no longer being formed to replace this.

Landscape landscapes Other Landscapes
  1. High Mourne Mountains
  2. Mourne Plain
  3. Slieve Roosley
  4. Slieve Croob
  5. The Drumlin Landscape
  6. Mourne Coast