/ Looking for advice on trip to Ireland's highest mountains

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
Jim C - on 17 Jul 2013
I am reading IB's The Highest Mountains of Britain and Ireland and have 17 days holiday still to take . (within the next 6 weeks)

I have eplored most of mainland Scotland, and the Munro's, and am well into the Corbetts, been to Shetland ;Orkney, and most of the Hebrides,but I have never been to Ireland , and just started to think that with this good weather, I could perhaps do a 1- 2 week trip to tour a bit and walk , at least some of the highest Mountains on the trip

Thinking of cost( just forked out for a big bill on the car) I would want to take the car on the ferry ( cheapest time/ place ) starting from the Loch Lomond area, but for accommodation wild camping or camp sites; bunkhouses and hosteling would be my preference.
(The odd night B&B would be a treat, if one or two came highly recommended)

There is bound to be a wealth of knowledge/ experience on UKC/UKH ! so I'm looking for travel, advice, recommendations/ experiences of locations / places to stay close enough to drive to/ walk around MacGillycuddy West i.e (Carrauntoohil: Caher& Beenkeragh ) at least. And I might well do some others like Lugnaquillia; Galtimore;;(MacGillycuddy' Reeks East; ) and Brandon , so if anyone has similar hints for those too all advice welcomed.

I'm up for touristy days out too, so any 'must see ' and ' must do ' tourist things when in and around that area, but willing to travel quite a bit, if something comes highly recommended.

Lastly, I will do my usual prep for navigating my way round the hills, IB' s book is pretty good it seems, I will get the maps , but any local knowledge / experiences on the routes will also be much appreciated.

I would be on my own, wife & kids not not interested) so I'm totally flexible, and can change plans on a whim, so the more options the merrier, and please don't miss out stating the obvious, as I have been known to forget these, and I will not be offended.

Over to you, all contributions will be appreciated. ( even PopShot)
chiz - on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim C: I've only been once, but my friend's farm is next to Cronin's Yard so right in the middle of the Reeks, its a good spot to get up onto the mountains, there was a tea room there when I was there, and its where the MRT was based.

I managed to get up and about a few times in some good weather and the views are amazing if its clear. It will be no surprise that the hills are pretty vegetated, and a lot of the rock was pretty shot, but there is some fair ridge scrambling and hill walking to be had and its a really nice 'pocket-sized' range of mountains.

I did the traverse of the main ridge from around by the Big Gun/Cnoch na Peiste west to Caher West, it was a good morning and I went back via the Beencaragh ridge which is excellent ridge scrambling although routefinding is pretty tricky in the mist, and then back along and down by the Hag's Tooth. The Hag's Tooth is a good way up to the ridge as well IIRC. The Caher ridge is far more straightforward than Beencaragh. As a day out it felt comparible to the Rum Cuillin in some ways although more rolling. It would be a good run. It can get busy on Carauntoohil, but the other hils are quieter and well worth visiting, there's some photos on my profile.

If I went back I'd do the whole traverse from end to end, and do Howling Ridge and some more scrambling. Plus the beach and sand dunes at Inch Strand are great. Really should go back...
Jim C - on 17 Jul 2013
In reply to chiz:
Cheers for that Chiz , I will look at the whole traverse & also check out details of the beach and dunes too. NI have done the Rum Cuillin so that is a handy comparison for me.

chem_j - on 18 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim C:
Look at the Kerry Mountain Rescue's website for info on the routes on Carrauntoohil. Also the Lonely Planet Guide to hiking in Ireland is a good source of info about the surrounding areas as well as the mountains.
Brandon hostel at the foot of Mount Brandon is lovely, and there is a great wee pub next door. You can drive to Carrauntoohil from there. Kate Kearney's Cottage near Carrauntoohil is nice for dinner or a drink.
Dingle is a touristy town which you could wander round and maybe have an ice cream or go dolphin spotting.
When driving down, a couple of hours south of Dublin the motorway ends. The first town after this whose name I have completely forgotten is an old historic town which makes a nice place to stop and stretch your legs. Try to avoid the road after this at evening "rush" hour times as it goes through every little town and village and there seems to be traffic jam in every one!
Pyreneenemec - on 18 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim C:

I go to Ireland frequently, more for the fishing than the walking, but I've done the Reeks ridge traverse a few times and Brandon by the Faha ridge, plus a few lesser summits on the Beara ( Hungary Hill.) One walk I did really enjoy was Dursey Island. Access is by Irelands only cable-car ! There's ( or was) absolutely nothing on the island, but the sea-views are magnificent !

Very useful :

Pyreneenemec - on 18 Jul 2013
In reply to chem_j:
> (In reply to Jim C)
> .
> When driving down, a couple of hours south of Dublin the motorway ends. The first town after this whose name I have completely forgotten is an old historic town which makes a nice place to stop and stretch your legs..

Cahir ? The castle has been beautifully restored.
Pyreneenemec - on 18 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim C:

I'd also recommend :

"From High Places-a journey through Ireland's great mountains"

by Adrian Hendroff.

Published by The History Press Ireland.

Some great photographs.
In reply to Pyreneenemec: Good call. Here's an article Adrian did for us to whet your (OP's) appetite http://www.ukhillwalking.com/articles/page.php?id=5239

If I only had a week in Ireland I'd spend it on the Reeks and Brandon. Most of the best scrambling options are covered in this book: http://www.cicerone.co.uk/product/detail.cfm/book/539/title/the-ridges-of-england-wales-and-ireland ...if I do say so myself
redsonja - on 20 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim C: if you have time, then Connemara is stunningly beautiful and there is some good hiking on the 12 bens in that area
peppermill - on 20 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim C:
I'm heading over on Tuesday to visit my brother. One thing I'll say though is that flights from Prestwick to Dublin were £48 return. I've no idea how much the ferry will cost.
wilkesley - on 20 Jul 2013
In reply to Barry Chuckle:

Just to add on another couple of places. Blasket Island is well worth a visit. Plus the hills which you can reach from the top of Connor Pass. Also Erigal.

Don't underestimate how long it can take to drive to places in Ireland, especially on the West coast. Many roads are narrow and in a bad state of repair, although the tide of EU money has improved things over the last 20 years.
wilkesley - on 20 Jul 2013
In reply to wilkesley:

Forgot to mention that Ireland is expensive. You can easily spend 15 Euros on a cup of tea and a bit of cake. B&B's are numerous, almost every house in the West is a B&B. They are almost all excellent. There used to be a scheme where is you bought a ferry ticket you could get vouchers that let you stay in any B&B. This worked out quite cheap.
Jim C - on 20 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim C: Thanks for the replies, I have taken a note of all suggestions.

Sod's law says the weather is on the change so warm , but showers into next week or so , not ideal for camping, I hate having a wet tent to put away each morning. The chance of finding a hostel wherever I end up each night is slim, as I have no real plan , just vague ideas of what I would like to do, when I do it, is open to chance, as the idea is to go with the flow.

It worked out ok last year when I was in Shetland.

Plan was to go Wednesday next week, I might delay that now till the next week again and see how the weather looks.

Jim C - on 20 Jul 2013
In reply to chem_j:

Thanks, I took your suggestion, and got the lonely planet book' hiking in Ireland '

And also looked up :-

Dave Perry - on 20 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim C:
There are a couple of books devoted to the mountain area around Carounthill and the 'Reeks. The ridges are superb and Howling ridge, which has been mentioned, a relatively simple scramble was only climbed as recently as the 1980.s

As for what else to do, it depends what you are interested in. Killarney was once described as "best seen through your rear view mirror" and is really a place designed to extract money from tourists.

I found the most interesting way to find out of the way wonders you'll not see in the UK is to buy one of the OSI maps at 1.50,000 and simply look for the antiquities - all marked in red. You'll discover the quite Ireland, off the beaten track, ancient medieval churches, squat and solid, often still used grave yards, ancient holy wells, often still used by one or two locals and enough stone circles to last you a life time. Some of them small enough to fit in your average front room! Lots of the old landlord houses were burned in the 1920,s and make interesting excursions. There are dozens and dozens of ancient Tower Houses (mini castles like Blarney Castle but without any visitors) dotted around the place. And you'll not see another tourist even in mid summer. Europes oldest copper mine is on Ross point near Killarney & the lakes, although this will only interest those in seeing a small cave in a rock face and lots of green rock.

The 'Must see' tourists traps, are in my place vastly over rated. Kate Kearney's cottage, (a cottage no less) Killorglin (Of puck fair fame and an excuse if you needed to get pissed and slip in the vomit on the streets), the Gap of Dunloe which the local trap drivers have commandeered for their own use) are best avoided.

An interesting read on 'tourist Ireland' try Vitali's Ireland by Vitali Vitaliev is an outsiders view and not dressed in tourist attracting verse.

Some of the flora and fauna in the area can only be found there and in some of the warmer Mediterranean areas, this includes The Strawberry Tree, The Kerry Slug and several unique plants, insects and so on.

I hate to say it, but the Ring of Kerry a sixty odd mile round trip is spectacular if, and I mean if, you can choose a weekday, setting off very early (before 10am) and on a reasonably day provides a spectacular coastal drive, unequaled by any in the UK.
toddles - on 21 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim C:

The Harvey's map is very detailed for the Reeks at a scale of 1:30,000, it has an insert for the summit of Carrauntoohil at 1:15,000.

Haggis Trap on 22 Jul 2013
Mt Brandon is the nicest hill in Ireland (actually the whole Dingle penisula is great!). Sea views from summit on all 3 sides.
goatee - on 22 Jul 2013
In reply to wilkesley: Well if you paid 15€ for tea and a piece of cake more fool you. Saw you coming I'd say.
goatee - on 22 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim C: Hi Jim. When you come over pm me and if I am free I will take you up Howling Ridge on Carrauntoohil. The Reeks near Killarney are definately worth a visit as are the mountains around Mt Brandon. I personally prefer the Beara Peninsula as I believe it is wilder and more beautiful. I would really recommend the Twelve Bens. Even though they are not high (just over 700 mtrs) they are stunningly beautiful and quite rugged. They offer hiking to match anything in these islands. You should have no difficulty finding hostels and by a little judicious searching you will find good B&Bs for less than 30€. Don't be too put off by the scare stories of cost as I think you will find good value is to be had if you are willing to look. It would certainly be cheaper than visiting the lake district. If you need any help or specific advice don't hesitate to contact me,
Welsh Kate - on 23 Jul 2013
In reply to toddles:

Yep, don't bother with the OSI of the Reeks, go for the Harvey's, it's way better.
wilkesley - on 23 Jul 2013
In reply to goatee:
> (In reply to wilkesley) Well if you paid 15€ for tea and a piece of cake more fool you. Saw you coming I'd say.

I didn't, but that's not untypical of prices in Ireland. In the time I have been going there (about 20yrs) Ireland has gone from being cheap to more expensive than most areas of Britain.
goatee - on 23 Jul 2013
In reply to wilkesley: Stay out of the 5 star hotels them. It is Not typical of prices. Agreed is is more expensive than most areas but please don't exaggerate when it is not correct or indeed helpful.
Flinticus - on 23 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim C:
The Reeks are a must really. I did the ridge walking from some hostel on the outskirts of Killarney and got a hitch back.

Hope to get back there again to do more in the Reeks. Its just awkward to reach from my Dad's place in Kilkenny. The crowds stick to C'hill. I only passed three people (a French guy guiding two English people!) on my route before hitting the tourist trail.
Kevin Duffy - on 23 Jul 2013
In reply to wilkesley:
> (In reply to goatee)
> [...]
> I didn't, but that's not untypical of prices in Ireland.

Yes, it would be untypical of prices in Ireland. I've never seen a price like that for tea and a slice of cake anywhere. People aren't stupid enough to pay it.
Jim C - on 23 Jul 2013
In reply to goatee:
Thanks for the offer, I will be heading over, possibly early next week, ( if the weather looks better) Just getting my gear ready just in case.
I would like to go North first and then work my way own the West coast over. Few days, but again, if there is a weather window, I might have to go straight to the Mountains, (like when I went to Harris & Lewis, I got one good day on the hills, and drizzle , and downpours and wind thereafter.) I had a good time anyway .

Cheers Jim

PopShot on 23 Jul 2013 - 054024a6.skybroadband.com
In reply to goatee: Where was your profile photo taken goatee? It looks awesome wherever it is.
goatee - on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to PopShot: On the Cnock na Peiste ridge on the eastern Reeks in Kerry. Looks scary but actually is a great Grade 1 scramble.
PopShot on 24 Jul 2013 - 054024a6.skybroadband.com
In reply to goatee:
> (In reply to PopShot) On the Cnock na Peiste ridge on the eastern Reeks in Kerry. Looks scary but actually is a great Grade 1 scramble.

WOW! Shocked that it's just a grade 1 scramble! It's definately going on my must-do list!
Jim C - on 28 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim C:
I am really liking my trip to Ireland, I drove up North to the Giants Causeway area and within 30 mins of arriving at my hostel for the night I got some climbing in.

A Belgian family was locked out of an upstairs bedroom, and I climbed out on go the roof for the owners as they were an older couple and I managed to wriggle in through a small swivel window.
I thought the crux move was was getting from dangling upside down doing a handstand on a table , and back on to my feet without breaking anything. However, turns out I was then locked in the room, and I had to remove the hinge pins to get back out , (which was harder than getting in in the first place. ! )
Does anyone know if housebreaking is graded;)

Howling Ridge Next Saturday hopefully.
Lusk - on 28 Jul 2013
In reply to Jim C:

Haven't read the thread, so...
If you're up G Cs way, head west & south for Errigal etc, then down to Sligo, some good hills there.
I'm off over soon.
Aahhh...the Guinness!
Jim C - on 12 Aug 2013
In reply to Jim C:
As promised (above) Goatee (and his pal Frank) met me in Kilarney,and we were luckly enough to get a fairly good, and dry day, to clinb Carruauntoolhill, via Howling Ridge, so thanks to Stephen and Frank for a great day out, their 'patter' was good too. HR was a bit loose in areas, but I was well guided, and managed to avoid them (although Frank had a large piece come away , but no one was below)

The next day, was clagged in on the hills, but after a day on the beach, I did the whole of the McGillicuddy Reeks Ridge in good weather( mostly)(That is, all the Reeks other than Caher which is not easy to fit in, so I did Caher on its own the next day- and it cleared 20 mins after I left the top, but I had had the views the previous day anyway)

Mount Brandon was alas in really bad weather when I passed, so I have still to do that one, and also Galtymore, that I could not fit in, but I did manage to fit in Lugnaquillia after a night in the Glenmalure Youth Hostel. It is a quick hill from there, about 3 hours, alas, it too was not clear when I got to the top.

I also did a tour of Ireland's coast (anti clockwise) from Larne and around the coast back to Larne over two weeks, but of course I spend more time in the mountain areas, but I tried to fit in the tourist stuff particularly down the South West peninsulas.

Thanks to everyone on UKC for their comments and advice.

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.