Mweelrea Mountain, Louisburgh in Co. Mayo

Mweelrea, 819m.(2688'), is the highest mountain in Connacht. This height is accentuated by the fact that, on two sides, its slopes are seen to rise from sea level in one long sweep to its lofty summit. There are a number of routes to the summit, none of which can be considered easy.

The most straight forward starts on the western seaboard, where the road from Louisburgh, through Killadoon, runs out on the beach. From here, having crossed some fields and two rivers, the route goes directly towards the top. The slope gradually steepens, though not excessively, and does not relent until the summit is reached.

The view from the top is in keeping with splendour of the majestic mountain itself. Directly below lies the mouth of Killary Harbour, with its rocky shoals, while further out to sea the islands of Inishbofin and Inishturk fill the picturesque background. As the eye swings from the west through a wide arc to the southeast, the sea and the Atlantic coastline are left, to be followed successively by the views of the twelve pins and the Maumturk mountains; it is a magnificent panorama.

If the weather is clear and dependable, an alternative route back can be recommended. This entails following the summit ridge southwards for some distance, and then leading straight down the long slope to Killary Harbour. Some rocky outcrops on this slope can easily be avoided. At the bottom, a rough path can be followed westwards, which leads back to the starting point.

Extract from: "MAYO - Aspects of its Heritage" by Bernard O'Hara. Published by kind permission.

Mweelrea Mountain Walk