Slieve Donard

The highest mountain in our region is Slieve Donard, which dominates the lovely seaside resort of Newcastle. At over 850 metres ….

…. it commands views of over 60 miles and from its peak one can see across to the Isle of Man and Britain, as well as far along the Irish coast. The High Mournes to which it belongs dominate the northern landscape.

Originally it is said to have borne the name Slieve Slanga after a Greek prince who drowned in Dundrum Bay and was buried on its summit. It came by its present name via S Patrick himself.

On his journey from Saul to Tara Patrick and his entourage encamped near the present-day village of Maghera near Newcastle. Patrick approached the local chief, Domangard by name for assistance and indeed sustenance.

Domangard, a fierce and feared warrior chief nevertheless offered a bull to Patrick and his followers. The gift was not as generous as it sounds for Domangard knew the ferocious bull could not be captured for the slaughter.

Patrick plaited a straw rope and placed it over the shoulders of the bull. Obediently it was led to the slaughter. Its muscle was cut up and most was salted and packed away for later consumption. Domangard was enraged and denied he had ever willingly offered the animal to Patrick. He swore by the moon and stars that he would banish Patrick and all his followers from the territory! He demanded the bull’s return.

Patrick had his followers reassemble the dismembered parts on the ground as best they could. Then he prayed over the dead animal. The disjointed parts reassembled themselves and shortly after the bull stood up.

Domangard was terrified by the sight and threw himself on his knees before the Saint. He begged him to baptise him and take him under his protection. From that day the fierce and warlike chief became a meek and humble disciple of Patrick and spent the rest of his days living near the summit of Slieve Slanga fasting and praying. And on his death the mountain was named for him! 

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.