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Introduction

The Ring of Gullion Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a unique geological landform, unparalleled elsewhere in Ireland or the UK and was the first ring dyke in the world to be geologically mapped. The ring of low, rugged hills forms a ‘rampart’ around the heather-clad Slieve Gullion mountain and makes it an excellent landscape to loose yourself in an area rich in history and semi-wild habitats of heath, bog and woodland that contrast with the neatly patterned fields and ladder farms.

Slieve Gullion’s mysterious reputation arises from its associations with legends and the wider area’s rich archaeological heritage. You can Experience Gullion’s rich geology, biodiversity and archaeology very easily. Browse the Ring of Gullion site, and plan your trip; you can Experience Gullion with our self guided Audio Tours or you can choose a guide from our tour guides page to bring Gullion to life with their local knowledge. You can also use our Interactive Maps to Experience Gullion before heading out.

Walking in the Ring of Gullion

The Ring of Gullion offers walking routes to suit every ability from the novice/pleasure walker to the most experienced of hikers. Walks range from 1-mile woodland trails to the 36-mile Ring of Gullion Waymarked Way, details of which are available from the links to the left hand side.

Cycling in the Ring of Gullion

Cycling on the country roads makes for a pleasant day out and the Ring of Gullion offers short and medium length routes up 31-miles long. Direct access to the Ring of Gullion is available from Newry via National Cycle Network Route (NCNR) 9 to Slieve Gullion. NCNR 9 is currently signed between Whiteabbey and Newry via Belfast, Lisburn, Craigavon, Portadown and Scarva and it is hoped it will eventually connect Belfast to Dublin.

Self Guided Audio Tours in the Ring of Gullion

On these audio guides, you’ll discover some of the rich cultural heritage of this region, and experience the sheer beauty of its landscape. It will take you though some well known points of interest…as well as some more obscure places!

Google Street View Trekker

Google Street View Trekker in the hills of the Ring of Gullion. With a 360° videos on Google map you will discover the Ring of Gullion hiking trails and places of unique historic and cultural significance.

Victoria Locks

The Newry Canal has a long and illustrious history.  It was constructed over a ten year period, with work starting in 1732.  And most of it was dug by hand, using teams of inland navigators or ‘navvies’ as they were called.  It must have been tough work each man had to bring his own tools and they lived in temporary camps along the canal while it was being built

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Flagstaff Viewpoint – Ring of Gullion Way

Flagstaff Viewpoint offers one of the most breathtaking views in Ireland. From here you’ve an uninterrupted view over Carlingford Lough to the Mourne Mountains and the famous Cloc Mor…the big stone.  As you look further down the estuary you can see the Narrow Water castle standing guard at the mouth of the Newry river and beyond that, further down the lough, Slieve Foy dominates the horizon.  And nestling on the coast, you can pick out the towns of Newry, Warrenpoint and Carlingford

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Jonesborough Community Woodland

Jonesborough Forest was planted roughly 20 years ago on Parish land behind Jonesborough Pastoral Centre. The forest continued to grow and develop, to become a thriving forest habitat for all manner of forest plants and animals, from a thick carpet of bluebells and wood sorrel to nesting song birds and breeding rabbits.
The woodland has interpretation boards and picnic benches and a story telling area for children. It is a beautiful and inviting place to go for a walk and spend time in nature.

Killnasaggart Pillar Stone – Ring of Gullion Way

Kilnasaggart Pillar Stone, originally a boundary marker, it’s the earliest inscribed Christian monument in all of Ireland. its location is of considerable significance – it’s in this valley, known as the Gap of the North, on the path of one of Ireland’s great roads, the Slighe Midhluachra, which ran from Tara through the Moyry Pass to Dunseverick in north Antrim

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Moyry Castle – Ring of Gullion Way

Moyry Castle. The Gap of the North controlled the main direct north-south access route into the north of Ireland.  O’Neill had held it for some years and he’d successfully defended it against Mountjoy in 1600, but for some reason it was left undefended the following year.   Mountjoy seized this opportunity to take control of this all-important pass and he built Moyry Castle as the base for a permanent garrison to hold it. This was a turning point in the war against the Ulster chieftains

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Forkhill Planting Amenity Site – Ring of Gullion Way

Local stories tell that the trees surrounding the park were planted by Mr Richard Jackson in 1839 to celebrate his love for his wife. Seen from above on the slopes of nearby Slieve Brac they form the shape of a love heart. In the centre of the park there is a kissing stone, be careful who you sit with on this stone, as legend says that within a year a couple sitting here will be married.

The Dorsey

The townland of Dorsey takes its name from ancient Iron-age ramparts of the Dorsey entrenchment. In Irish chronicles, stories have been told referring to a place called the “Doors of Emhain (Armagh)” it was also sometimes called the  “Gates to the Fews”. The ancient road from Dundalk to Armagh known as Beala Mór an Feadha or the “Great Road of the Fews” runs the length of the townland of Dorsey and crosses the Dorsey entrenchment. The references to gates or doors may have come from this guarded entrance.

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Annaghmare Court Tomb

Here…sitting on a rocky knoll….in the middle of a remote bog in south Armagh… is one of the finest surviving court tombs anywhere in Ireland.  This may be due in part to its remote and inaccessible location in this low, boggy area, at Annaghmare – Eanach Mar – the plain of the marsh.  The monument’s certainly in a remarkable state of preservation, given that it’s six thousand years old… and this is a remarkable testament to the early farming communities who built it

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Lough Ross

Lough Ross (30-acre) has shallow margins that drop off to depths of 60 feet. The lough has good access for bank and boat fishing. It is among the very best pike waters in the country – proven by the 41lb fish caught in 2002. There is a good stock of Trout, Perch, Ell, Pike and Roach.

Ballymoyer Forest

Ballymoyer is a mixed woodland with all the atmosphere and mystique of a fairy glen. Deep mossy, ferned banks are clothed in blankets of primroses, bluebells and foxgloves in spring and early summer. The woodland walk is just over 4km and explores the woodland glen, once part of the Hart-Synnot demesne.

Look ou for gigantic Douglas Fir trees, some magnificent Beech and Oak specimens and ornamental trees such as Lime, Sweet Chestnut and Yew. Magnificent Yellow Iris flowers are found near the edges of the rivers during the months of June and July.

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Craigmore Viaduct – Ring of Gullion Way

Craigmore Viaduct, this magnificent 18 arch viaduct is one of the most impressive railway structures in Ireland.   It sweeps across the valley of the Camlough River, carrying the Belfast to Dublin railway line.  The highest arch rises to 126 feet, making Craigmore Ireland’s highest viaduct. The entire edifice is around a quarter of a mile long and it has been the dominant man-made feature of the south Armagh landscape ever since it was opened in 1852

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Derrymore Estate – Ring of Gullion Way

Derrymore Estate home to Derrymore House, this lovely National Trust thatched property was built in the late 1700s by Isaac Corry.  Corry was the local Member of Parliament for Newry for 30 years and he was also Chancellor of Exchequer for the old Irish Parliament in Dublin.   He built Derrymore House on land left to him by his father.  It was described by Sir Charles Coote as ‘without exception, the most elegant summer lodge…’. Today the estate is open to the public and has a network of trails for you to discover.

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Camlough Mountain – Ring of Gullion Way

The rocks that make up Camlough Mountain is called granodiorite. Granodiorite, just like the rocks that make up Slieve Gullion, forms from the cooling, deep underground, of molten magma. However unlike the rocks that make up Slieve Gullion and the Ring of Gullion, the granodiorites of Camlough Mountain are around 410 million years old. Whereas the younger rocks of Gullion are associated with igneous activity related to the formation of the present day Atlantic Ocean, the rocks of Camlough Mountain are associated with igneous activity related to the closure of a precursor to the present day Atlantic, the now long disappeared Iapetus Ocean.

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Brogie’s Lane – Ring of Gullion Way

Brogie’s Lane is part of the Ring of Gullion Way. The Ring of Gullion Way works its way around the hills surrounding Slieve Gullion, linking together many of the area’s sites of scientific and archaeological importance.

Killeavy Old Churches and St Moninna’s (Bline’s) Well

Killevy Old Churches. Saint Moninna chose a peaceful place for her nunnery, which founded here on the eastern slopes of Slieve Gullion at the end of the 5th century.  The name Killevy comes from Cell Sleibhe Cuilinn, ‘the church of Slieve Gullion’.  Moninna’s real name was Darerca, although she also went by the name of Bline.  She’s believed to have come from the Donaghmore area of County Down, between Newry and Banbridge. According to tradition, when she was a child, she was baptised and confirmed by St. Patrick himself. It’s said that Patrick came to her parent’s house, blessed the family and predicted that Moninna’s name would be remembered throughout time

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Anglesey Mountain – Ring of Gullion Way

Anglesey Mountain is part of the Ring of Gullion Way. The Ring of Gullion Way works its way around the hills surrounding Slieve Gullion, linking together many of the area’s sites of scientific and archaeological importance.

Glen Dhú – Ring of Gullion Way

Glen Dhú is part of the Ring of Gullion Way. The Ring of Gullion Way works its way around the hills surrounding Slieve Gullion, linking together many of the area’s sites of scientific and archaeological importance.

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Urnai – Ring of Gullion Way

Urney Graveyard is a very ancient graveyard with Patrician connections. The word ‘urnai ‘of course means ‘prayer’ and in time, the word progressed beyond the simple idea of prayer and came to also signify the place where prayer was offered. It even became associated with the locality where the place of prayer was situated.  And so here Urney is a church and graveyard within the townland of Dungooley.   It’s a most peaceful place and well worth a visit

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Slieve Gullion

Rising some 576m above the surrounding countryside, the broad slopes of Slieve Gullion dominate the landscape of south Armagh. The mountain itself lies at the centre of a pronounced ring of hills – the Ring of Gullion. Together these features are a testament to more violent times in this part of Ireland for they are both of volcanic origin. Both the mountain and its surrounding ring of hills represent the, now much eroded, heart of a volcano that existed here around 60 million years ago. At that time, both Europe and North America were still joined together. However, as the two continents began to move apart (due to forces deep within the Earth), resulting tension in the Earth’s crust caused large volumes of rock at depth to melt and this molten rock, or magma, was erupted at the surface through large volcanoes. By following the Slieve Gullion Forest Park Drive it is possible to see evidence of those more violent times.

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Lottery Funded
NIEA DoE N&M DC Biodiversity

Quick Contact

Ring of Gullion AONB
Crossmaglen Community Centre,
O’Fiaich Square,
Crossmaglen,
BT35 9AA.

Tel: +44 (0)28 3086 1949
Slieve Gullion Forest Park: +44 (0)28 3031 3170
Email: info@ringofgullion.org

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