The Silent Valley Reservoir, County Down, Northern Ireland
The Silent Valley Reservoir is one of the most beautiful places in Northern Ireland. And it’s just 20 minutes from my hometown of Kilkeel. It’s a beautiful part of the world, within the mountains and the east coast of Ireland. Or ‘God’s Country’ (whatever that means!) as the locals often like to call it.
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Where is the Silent Valley Reservoir
It’s about 20 minutes from the small towns of Kilkeel (my home!) and Annalong. For most tourists though, if you’re in Dublin and heading to Belfast, or in Belfast and heading to Dublin, it’s halfway between the 2. Normally on the Dublin to Belfast journey people opt for the quick motorway option. But I would really encourage everyone to hug the coast and follow the coastal route. It’s much more beautiful and making a day of the journey with pitstops at:
- Silent Valley
- Carlingford Lough (Warrenpoint)
This will mean your Dublin to Belfast journey becomes a fun travel day instead of a long travel day!
How to get to the Silent Valley Reservoir
Like most (all?!) of Ireland, public transport isn’t great. So while it’s just about possible to take a bus from Kilkeel or Newcastle to the Silent Valley, you’d need the patience of a saint. More likely you’ll either be on your Ireland road trip and have a car, or be driving a rental, so it’s easy. It’s about 20 minutes from Newcastle, Annalong or Kilkeel.
You can see where the Silent Valley Reservoir is here in the google map:
Silent Valley Reservoir Ticket Price
When you’re at the Silent Valley Reservoir there is a £5 entry ticket per vehicle. Once you park your campervan or car in the car park you’ll see a sign offering various hikes through the hills and mountains surrounding the reservoir.
They range from 20 min walks to 3-hour hikes. I recommend the black route, it takes you about 90 minutes or so and offers stellar views of the surroundings once you climb the little ascent.
How Long Should You Spend at the Silent Valley?
All-day if you can, and bring a picnic! In reality, it’s more likely you’re stopping off here en route north or south. So all-in-all you can allocate yourself around 2 hours which is more than enough to see the gorgeous views and get moving on.
If you come mid-week you’ll have the place to yourself, but frankly, even at the weekend, the only people you’ll meet are locals out for a picnic or a quick walk. International tourism doesn’t come to this part of Northern Ireland very much which is a shame because we truly have a lot to offer.
Climb Slieve Donard, Northern Ireland’s Highest Mountain
The mountain complex that the Silent Valley finds itself in is known as the ‘Mourne Mountains’. Made famous by Ireland’s Seamus Heaney. The tallest mountain in Ireland is in these mountains. Slieve Donard. You can take a hike from Donard to the Silent Valley if you’re up for a 4 or 5 hour (beautiful) hike, and bag Northern Ireland’s highest peak while you’re at it! My (then) 70 year old mum used this place to train for her Mount Fuji climb in 2019.
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