Doo Lough – Mweelrea- Delphi Mountain Resort Circuit
Mweelrea is the finest mountain in the West of Ireland and offers a great day’s hiking. Mweelrea can be tackled along a number of routes. My favourite is going anti-clockwise from the southern end of Doo Lough over the mountain to Delphi Mountain Resort. This is a serious 8-hour hike and is for experienced hillwalkers only. *
Parking the car at Doo Lough, we cross the river at a weir/sluice immediately at the south end of the lake. Do not climb here, but rather follow a fence for some hundred metres southwards, to a point where it turns sharply left and descends close to the river. Here, we leave it and ascend via a gully to the first flattish part, before hiking on towards the top and the cliff edge leading north-westwards across to point 760m. On the way up, turn around and take in the fab views of the Sheefrrys and Ben Gorm behind, as well as Croagh Patrick sticking its conical head up.
Now we circle above the great NE corrie lying below us. We take in points 790m, 803m, and 790m, all the while enjoying this magnificent coum and its cliffs below. Along with the ocean views later, this is one of the two wonderful highlights of this fantastic hiking day.
A walk westwards across the gently sloping hillside beneath point 795m brings us to the col below Mweelrea’s summit, before an easy enough drag up to its 814m top. The top of this great mountain is a little disappointing, just a flat boggy mess (like many of Mayo’s mountains), but the views are tremendous. Enjoy the views of all the lovely islands and rocks of the west coast (including, most notably, Inisturk), the splendid beaches of Mayo and Galway, the Killary Fjord and Benchoonas, Twelve Bens and the Maumturk Mountains to the south.
We descend south then southeast towards point 495m, but without climbing it. Instead, we keep our tired legs to its north and head for the little Sruhaunbunatrench River exiting Lough Lugaloughan. Follow its banks towards the plantation forest above Delphi and exit on one of its various tracks down to the road. Walk 3km back to your car.
Mweelrea Mountain Hike
19 km; ascent 950 m; approx. 8 hrs.
Mweelrea is among Ireland’s most dangerous mountains, with numerous tragedies over recent years, often involving experienced hillwalkers. Under no circumstances should you hike this mountain without a compass and waterproof map and the knowledge of how to use them. Do not venture into this mountain alone and always bring a fully-charged mobile phone, plus mobile charging device. No matter what the weather forecast says or how the sky looks at the time of your ascent, be prepared for low clouds to descend at any moment, leading to almost zero visibility at times. Respect the mountain.
Alternative Routes up Mweelrea
There are various other routes up this great mountain. The most notable route being the more challenging “Ramp Route” from the north end of Doo Lough. Finally there is the less challenging “Coastal Route” from the west.
Special thanks to Barry Murphy of Tourism Pure Walking Holidays for this description of Mweelrea.