Muckish or An Mhucais, got its name because of its distinctive shape which was similar to a pig’s back. It is a flat topped mountain and is part of the Derryveagh mountain range.
The mountain was made predominantly from Ards quartzite similar to that of Errigal and the Dalradian rock which formed the mountain is Ireland’s oldest rock dating back to the Precambrian era.
There is also some evidence of glacier rock formations dating back to the ice age around Muckish at the bottom of the mountain and which can be seen in the valleys and many glacier lakes in Creeslough.
Muckish Mountain at a height of 667m is the 2nd largest mountain in the Derryveagh Mountain range in North West Donegal. It is the 80th highest Mountain in Ireland and is also a designated Special Area of Conservation and a National Heritage Area.
The Derryveagh Mountain range is often called the seven sisters. It is made up of: Errigal at 751M, Mackoght or wee Errigal at 555m, Agla More 584M, Ardloughnabrackbaddy 603M, Aghla Beg 564M, Crocknalaragagh 471M and Muckish at 669M.
Climbing the Mountain
Many locals and visitors have climbed Muckish and some take part in a seven sisters challenge climbing all the mountains in 24 hours. The mountain can be climbed from a path off the R256 or by joining the old miners path. Most people ascend and descend the same path, but it can be tricky due to the uneven surface and it can take around 2.5 hours. Fog can descend quickly over the mountain so check the weather forecast for clear skies before starting your climb.
Click here for more information on climbing Muckish.
At the summit
The summit is a good example of how the Dalradian rock was formed from mud, sand and limestone deposits in shallow seas at intervals giving distinctive ripple markings. This can be seen in the rocks along the top.
On a clear day there are spectacular views from the top of muckish, looking out towards Tory and Sheephaven bay across to Dunfanaghy, Carrigart and Downings. There is also a great birds eye view over the village of Creeslough and the houses below the mountain.
At the summit there is a metal cross, erected in 1951 by Muckish sand workers. Watch this video from the Creeslough View archive on the erection of the millenium cross.
During the 1940s and 1950s Donegal miners extracted rock from the mountain and turned it into sand which was shipped to Liverpool from Ards in Creeslough.
Watch this documentary by Glass Mountain about the miners from this era.