Carrauntoohil – Climbing Ireland’s highest peak

Located in County Kerry, Carrauntoohil is the highest peak on the island of Ireland.  Standing tall at 1,038 metres, it is the central peak of the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks range.  The hike to the summit and back takes approximately 4 to 6 hours depending on the weather and which route you decide to take.  No special equipment is needed to climb the mountain, but proper hiking shoes are strongly advised due to the loose terrain.

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We started our trip from Cronins Yard, situated at the entrance to the Hag’s Glen at Mealis, Beaufort.  Parking the car, it is about an hour’s walk to the base of the mountain and the devil’s ladder route.  The ladder itself is a steep, rocky incline carved into the mountain by a river-run. Due to the running water, It is quite wet underfoot and rocks are loose in places, so take care when scrambling over boulders. This is the hardest section of the hike, and requires some fitness.

Once you reach the top of the ladder, you are about 2 thirds of the way there.  The last section is much more manageable so take a quick breather and relax. It is advisable to put on some warm clothing as the temperature drops fairly quickly as you approach the summit.

The last few hundred feet are covered in loose scree so take your time. If you have walking poles, you may wish to bring them for this section of the hike.

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The view from the top is magnificent, and make sure to take a photo with the iconic cross to prove you made it!


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