If you are going to Slieve Gullion - be aware that it is a tough circular walk of about 9.5 miles including a total ascent of over 400 metres. However, we usually shorten the walk to approximately 7.5 miles by operating a minibus shuttle between the visitors centre and Killevy old church. Although much of our route is on roads, make sure to wear your very best boots with good grip on the soles and heels as parts of the route can be slippy and boggy.
Whether you go via Scarva or Banbridge, take the A1 Newry By-Pass past Newry and approaching the distinctive Cloghogue (Clog) Chapel on your left take the exit to B113 signed Forkhill. Following B113 drive through Cloghogue and Meigh. Exiting Meigh you will pass a derelict church on your left as the majesty of Slieve Gullion becomes more apparent on your right. Ignoring the next two right turns on to country roads, you will soon come to the entrance to the Slieve Gullion Forest Park on your right. Proceed through this entrance to the Courtyard Centre, park and await further instructions. If you have a satnav then the postcode BT35 8SW may take you there. Try to be at Slieve Gullion Forest Park car park by 10:50am.
At the summit of Slieve Gullion is a small lake and two ancient burial cairns, one of which is the highest surviving passage grave in Ireland. Slieve Gullion plays a prominent role in the mythology and history of the area and dominates the countryside around it, offering views of as far away as Antrim, Dublin Bay and Wicklow on a clear day.
The Ring of Gullion is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, (AONB) Slieve Gullion is the highest peak in County Armagh. The geological formation surrounding Slieve Gullion was the first ring dyke to be mapped although its significance was not understood until similar structures had been described from Scotland. It was emplaced during the Paleogene opening of the Atlantic Ocean during the formation of the North Atlantic Igneous Province.
From the Irish Cill Shléibhe for Mountain Church, this site held one of early Christian Ireland's most important early monoastic sites. Founded by St Monnina in the 5th century, the site at the foot of Slieve Gullion is largely restricted to two adjacent churches, a graveyard, the reputed grave of St Monnina's grave, and a small holy well still visited by pilgrims on her feast day, 6 July. The West Church dates from 11th Century. It is the smaller and more ancient of the two with an impressive lintel doorway. The East Church dates from the 15th century and has an impressive arched window with angel carvings still visible. Following plundering by the Vikings in 923, monastic life continued and the site was occupied by the Augustinian Nuns until 1542 with the dissolution of the Monasteries.