Mweelrea Challenge 2017

Four Peaks Challenge 2017 – Mweelrea

The first of the Four Peaks 2017 Challenge is Mweelrea (814 metres), Connaught’s highest mountain.  This will take place during the Easter Weekend in Westport (April 14th to April 18th). Each participant who successfully reaches the summit will receive the “I Climbed Mweelrea Certificate”.

Mweelrea (814 Metres)

Mweelrea (814 Metres)

Complete the Four Peaks 2017 Challenge by climbing the highest peak in each of the four provinces in 2017. Each member who succeeds in climbing all four mountains will receive The Four Peaks 2017 Challenge Award.

To register for the Four Peaks 2017 Challenge send an e-mail to with the subject “Four Peak Challenge” and your name, mobile number and e-mail address.



Mweelrea (from Irish Cnoc Maol Réidh, meaning “smooth bald hill”) is a mountain in County Mayo, Republic of Ireland. At 814 metres (2,670 feet), it is the highest point in Connacht and the 34th highest in Ireland. The mountain overlooks Killary Harbour and the Atlantic coast. 

It consists of five peaks flanked on one side by Killary Harbour, Ireland’s only true fjord, and on the other side by Doolough Pass, a glaciated valley. There are magnificent views from the top including the Atlantic Ocean, Ben Gorm Mountains, the Twelve Bens in Connemara, the Maumturks and the Sheeffry Hills.

Navigation and Safety

Mweelrea is a dangerous mountain and climbing it should only be attempted by experienced and well-prepared hillwalkers. The mountain needs to be approached with care as there are no easy ascents. Weather conditions can change very rapidly and this poses particular challenges for inexperienced. climbers or have limited navigation abilities. Reserve a clear day for the climb in order to enjoy the panorama of the mountains, coast and surrounding islands. Please be careful, and ensure you have the appropriate clothing and gear including:  sturdy boots, several layers, raingear, map, compass and GPS, because weather conditions and terrain can change rapidly.

Climbing Routes

Outlying ridges and boggy ground, as well as a cliff line to the east of the main summit protect the mountain from this side. There are several routes for the climb though the approach is gentler from the west.  The peak can be approached from the east, near Doo Lough on the Leenane to Louisburgh road (R335). It can also be approached from Delphi Adventure Centre on the (R335) road.  The easiest ascent is probably by starting on the coast to the west of the mountain and ascending gentle slopes. The starting point is near the Silver Strand on the coast road below Louisburgh. On a good clear day this is a spectacular and memorable hike.

Apres Hike

Thankfully the Mweelrea mountain range is only a short drive from the charming villages of Louisburgh and Leenane.  Both of these have a range of pubs and restaurants for you to relax in after your climb.



 The summit provides stunning views of the surrounding area, including views of County Galway and Mayo, and the Atlantic Ocean.

For more information click here: 

Tragedy at Doolough

Doolough Lake near Mweelrea

Doolough Lake

The Doolough Tragedy is an event that took place during the Great Irish Famine. On Friday 30 March 1849 two officials of the Westport Poor Law Union arrived in Louisburgh. They were there to verify that those people in receipt of outdoor relief should continue to receive it. For some reason the inspection did not take place and the officials went on to Delphi Lodge. This is a hunting lodge 19 kilometres (12 miles) south of Louisburgh.

The people who had gathered for the inspection were thus instructed to appear at Delphi Lodge at 7:00am the following morning if they wished to continue receiving relief. For much of the night and day that followed therefore seemingly hundreds of destitute and starving people undertake the journey. Given their existing state of debilitation the walk was an extremely fatiguing trek in extremely bad weather.

The memorial to the victims in Doolough valley

The Memorial to the Victims in Doolough Valley

The Mayo Constitution reported shortly afterwards that the bodies of seven people, including women and children, were subsequently discovered. The bodies were found on the roadside between Delphi and Louisburgh overlooking the shores of Doolough Lake.  Nine more never reached their homes and it is believed they were swept into Doo Lough. Local folklore maintains the total number that perished because of the ordeals they had to endure was far higher. 


The monument in Doolough valley has an inscription from Mahatma Gandhi: “How can men feel themselves honoured by the humiliation of their fellow beings?”

A cross and an annual Famine Walk between Louisburgh and Doolough commemorates this event.

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