Walk up Carrauntoohil - the highest peak in Ireland
FoodSome provided. Details below
Difficulty Level3 Three
The south-west of Ireland is famed as a land of spectacular mountains, and undulating coastline culminating in great sea-loughs, white sandy beaches and rugged coves. The highest peak here is Carrauntoohil, and at 1038m it is also the highest in Ireland. Enjoy climbing it with a relaxed and friendly group and an experienced leader! Gaze over a ridge of several other peaks, with views out to the Atlantic, on a day out you’ll never forget.
Join us on a sociable walking weekend in this fantastic region of south-west Ireland with the aim of summiting Carrauntoohil on Saturday and heading out for a more gentle stroll on Sunday, really making the most of your weekend here.
In a nutshell:
- Enjoy an exciting weekend summiting the highest peak in Ireland and enjoying another easier walk the day after.
- Relax in the beautiful surroundings of Kerry, where the mountains meet the sea.
- Meet a friendly group of fellow walkers and head out into town for two meals to sample the best local hospitality.
- Leave our Mountain Leaders to take care of the navigation and logistics while you have time to enjoy the scenery and the trail.
About the Area
The highest peaks in Ireland lie in a long chain called the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks, which stands in the stunningly beautiful Iveragh peninsula in County Kerry. Bounded by the Atlantic to the west, Castlemaine Harbour to the north and Kenmare Bay to the south, Iveragh feels like an island of hills. The main town in the area is Killarney, which sits next to the Killarney National Park and the popular Lough Leane. Here you’ll find castles and ancient sites a stone’s throw from great pubs and cafes, everything for a great few days of exploration. The whole peninsula is a haven for walkers, with numerous hills of all heights, a fantasticly rugged coastline, and plenty of inland lakes to explore.
You can arrive at the hostel at any time after 5pm, where your Large Outdoors host will be there to meet you and get you settled in. If you choose to fly to Cork Airport, the pick-up will be at 2pm. Please note that places are limited on this pick-up and must be booked at the time of booking your place on the weekend.
We’ll head out into Killarney for dinner at 8pm, where we’ll give you a full briefing about the next day’s adventures. Then it’s your choice whether to stay out and enjoy the nightlife, pack your walking bag, or relax with a hot drink back at the hostel!
After an 8am breakfast we’ll prepare our packed lunches and head out to the start of our day walk, the mighty Carrauntoohil.
The route we’ll be walking is known as the Caher route, which is more pleasant and differs from the usual walkers path of ‘The Devil’s Ladder’, which has become eroded and relatively unsafe over the years.
The Caher route is a wide ridge walk, on a reasonable path which first ascends to the peak of Caher, actually the third highest mountain in Ireland. From there it is a mild drop to a pass before the final walk up to the summit of Carrauntoohil (1038m), less than 50m shorter than Snowdon. On our left on the way up we’ll be able to gaze down into the valley of Coomloughra and the two lakes of Coomloughra Lough and Lough Eagher. Our return route will be via the same path. The route is gradual with only a few steep sections, though it is of course uphill nearly all the way, with an ascent and descent of 1000m.
Once back down we will return to Killarney and our hostel, and have plenty of time to freshen up before we head out for our celebratory meal in town! We’ll also go through our plans for the next day, to give you a gentler walk appreciating the lowlands among the hills.
After breakfast at 8am we’ll pack up and leave the hostel to head out on our 3-4 hour morning walk.
This could be to a number of locations, perhaps the lakeside of Lough Leane in the Killarney National Park, or the shoreline of Kenmare Bay, we’ll plan something special and take into account what the group wants to do.
For lunch we’ll head to a local cafe or restaurant for a last meal before it’s time to head off – either by car or on our lift to Cork Airport. We’re sure you’ll leave with fantastic memories of the highest mountains in Ireland and a weekend of challenge and fresh air. You’ll want to come back!
We’ll be staying in a hostel in or near the town of Killarney. Due to the small group size this is likely to be a hostel shared with other people outside the group, but all of our rooms will be private to Large Outdoors, and allocated on a single-sex basis. Bedding will be provided but please bring a towel.
On the Friday we offer a collection from Cork Airport at 2pm, which must be booked at the time of booking. If your flight is a lot earlier, or you come the day before to see Cork, we can collect you from the city centre at 1.30pm. If you with to travel by car, or are coming on this adventure as part of a longer stay in Ireland, then you are welcome to arrive at the accommodation from 5pm.
On the Sunday, we will aim to get back to Cork Airport for 3pm, so please do not book flights earlier than 5pm. If you wish to stay in Cork that night, we can drop you in the city centre.
Arrivals: Depending on your flight time we maybe able to collect you. However, there are regular buses from the airport direct to Killarney and our hostel.
Departures: We are unable to drop you at Kerry. However, there is a direct bus service.
For this trip we provide the following food – breakfasts and packed lunches for Saturday and Sunday. Friday and Saturday evening meals will be at local pubs or restaurants and are not provided in the cost of the weekend.
What our members have to say...
Well, for a non-walker it was certainly challenging but my word was it exhilarating! The feeling of achievement after every day, was just fabulous. The group we went with were all strangers on day one, but firm friends by the end of the week. The comradery on some of the tougher walks, helped me to the top…..and wow what views. Anyone thinking of doing it - don’t worry….just go for it!ClaireMember Since 2016
My first Large Outdoors and (Ulster & the Giant's Causeway Walking Weekend) Irish experience was absolutely fantastic. Everything was organised perfectly and Gareth is a joy to be around. I loved every minute and will definitely book myself onto another trip. #toldallmyfriendstheyhavetocomeVanessaMember Since 2018
“I didn’t really know what to expect on my first ever walking holiday and wasn’t very prepared if truth be known – lesson to all read the essential kit list especially waterproofs! It was great fun and what a lovely group of supportive and encouraging people, especially Gareth who did a great job looking after us all. I must admit at times I found it a bit challenging but what a great sense of achievement when we reached the top of the mountains (hills) I will definitely do this again.ElizabethMember Since 2016