Get out, get dirty and give back

Get out, get dirty and give back

Project Status: 2014-2015

Mountain Meitheal undertakes projects to protect and to conserve mountain and forest areas in Ireland. Their aim is to counteract the pressures which are evident on our fragile landscape by building and maintaining trails which are sympathetic to the surrounding countryside. Mountain Meitheal promote sustainable recreation by encouraging mountaineers to use shelters and by this way, preserving the biodiversity from wilderness camping. Mountain Meitheal does not receive state funding or grants, all income is derived through donations from the walking community and the general public.

The main goal is to provide basic overnight accommodation in Ireland’s newly designated wilderness area.

By using the shelters visitors to the area can reach Ireland’s remotest summit. Visitors are encouraged to make the designated areas their stopping point, and by doing so protect the rest of the area from human impact.


The local town (Newport, Co. Mayo) development company promotes the area for visitors, with the increase in visitor numbers all local businesses and small retailers benefit financially.

By funding and constructing the first Andirondack type shelters on the West Coast of Ireland, Mountain Meitheal is introducing a concept widely used in other parts of the world. As the walking, climbing, biking and equestrian communities grow to accept the concept of visiting a wilderness area they will also learn to manage their impact. Both shelters are strategically placed in agreement with the Wilderness Management Team, feedback from the visitor log enables them to monitor current use and plan for the future.


The shelters are constructed by Mountain Meitheal volunteers who currently check the shelters whenever possible. It is hoped that in the future with the help of the local development company to set up a branch of Mountain Meitheal volunteers in the area. These volunteers will be trained to maintain the shelters and in the repair and maintenance of the two-way marked ways that traverse the area. The training will include mentoring for a period of two years and is of a professional standard. The standards set out in “The Mountain Meitheal Handbook of Trail Design and Construction” which has become the foremost manual for trail work in Ireland.


Mountain Meitheal encourages all sectors of the outdoor community to volunteer on their regular work days. Their motto is: “Get out, get dirty and give back”. Their volunteers are mostly from walking and environmental backgrounds. Volunteers are contacted regularly through Mountain Meitheal mailing list and the information is also posted on their web site. In recent times they have been getting a lot of volunteers from “volunteer centres” which are based in most large towns throughout Ireland. Mountain Meitheal provides the insurance and the tools, the skills are taught in situ. Funds are raised from voluntary subscriptions, no state funding is sought or received. Mountain Meitheal is independent and chooses projects that comply with their environmental ethos.