Carrauntoohil is the highest mountain in Ireland, at 1038 meters high. It is part of a mountain range known as MacGillycuddy Reeks , in the southwest of the island, and is quite famous among climbers and hikers. Its name means something like “inverted sickle” in Gaelic, and its shape makes climbing very challenging. Anyone who is strong enough to reach the top is rewarded with incredible views (and a cracking wind).
There are several ways to climb the mountain. The most famous path is known as Devil’s Ladder (or “devil’s ladder”), which is 12km long (round trip) and takes 6 to 7 hours to travel. The path has a lot of loose stones, so you have to be very careful when going up (and even more when going down).
A safer alternative is to take the Brother O’Shea’s Gully Trail , which is the easiest trail to reach the top. On the way, you will see beautiful lake and have the opportunity to take a dip in Ireland’s highest lake, Cummeenoughter, at 707m altitude. But get ready, because the water is VERY cold!
The starting point for all trails is Cronin’s Yard . There are parking, restrooms, cabins for rent and space for camping. The nearest large city is Killarney, which is 18km away.
If you are interested in climbing the mountain, be careful! Pay attention to the climatic conditions and go with someone with experience in mountaineering. According to the County Kerry rescue team , three out of every four mountain accidents in the region are from people who were alone on the trail, so it’s important to do the group climb.
And one last curiosity (almost a spoiler ): at the top of the mountain there is an 8 meter high steel cross. The original cross was made of wood, but it was destroyed in 2014 as a protest against the Catholic Church.