Ireland’s Top 10 Most Spectacular Peaks

Experience the beauty of Ireland by climbing to the top of some of the country’s most spectacular mountains.

From the highest-peak, Carrauntoohil, to lesser known summits like the Purple Mountain in Kerry, we’ve compiled the ultimate checklist of the country’s most challenging and rewarding climbs. Arm yourself with a strong pair of hiking boots, an OSi map and start your preparations for your next summit adventure.

10. Purple Mountain

Location: Co. Kerry

Coordinates: 52.009992, -9.620800

Height: 832m

Difficulty: Moderate

Kerry’s Purple Mountain is a superb peak on the boundaries of Killarney National Park and is well worth a visit. Standing 832m high, the mountain is part of a massif, which includes the peaks Tomies and Shehy.

Upon reaching the summit, you’ll be greeted by the sites of the Gap of Dunloe to the West and the Lakes of the Killarney to the East.

9. Mangerton Mountain

Location: Co. Kerry

Coordinates: 51.969853, -9.484487

Height: 839m

Difficulty: Moderate

Part of the Mangerton mountain range in Co. Kerry, Mangerton Mountain is a great option for anyone looking for a day of outdoor fun and exploration. Perfect for tourists and locals alike, the mountain range is within easy reach of Killarney.

Mangerton mountain is, again, part of a massif, which includes the summits of Mangerton North Top, Glencappul Top and Stoompa. The area is dotted with several loughs, including Lough Garagarry, Lough Mannagh, Lough Erhogh and The Devil’s Punchbowl.

8. Mullaghcleevaun

Location: Co. Wicklow
Coordinates: 53.104008, -6.407010

Height: 849m

Difficulty: Moderate

Towering over the Blessington lakes, Mullaghcleevaun boasts superb views from its summit. At 849m high, it’s the 20th-highest mountain in Ireland.

Most mountaineers ascend via Black Hill from the carpark, which is 3 km uphill from Lacken village. On a particularly fine day, the hills of Wales can be seen from the summit.

7. Slieve Donard

Location: Co. Down

Coordinates: 54.213701, -5.928788
Height: 852m

Difficulty: Moderate

Slieve Donard is on the to-do list for many walkers and outdoor enthusiasts in Northern Ireland. Part of the Mourne mountains, Slieve Donard is famous for being the North’s highest peak and is a popular excursion for many tourists coming to the ‘Wee Country’.

One of the most unique mountains on the island, it’s situated only 3km from the sea. This means, hikers can ascend the full 850m from sea level at 0m. If stunning views aren’t enough to keep you enthralled, there’s two prehistoric burial cairns at the summit, so there’s plenty to keep curious minds interested.

Planning a trip to the Mournes? Make sure to pack Ordnance Survey’s Activity Map.

6. Baurtregaum

Location: Co. Kerry
Coordinates: 52.206715, -9.829018
Height: 851m

Difficulty: Strenuous

The culmination of the Curraheen Derrymore Loop, Baurtregaum is the highest peak in the

Slieve Mish mountains. The loop takes seven to eight hours to complete and is famous for its breathtaking views of Tralee Bay.

A curious name, ‘Baurtregaum’ means ‘three hallows’ and refers to the surrounding valleys of Derrymore, Derryquay, and Curraheen.

5. Galtymore

Location: Co. Limerick
Coordinates: 52.366017, -8.179175

Height: 919m

Difficulty: Moderate

Part of the Galtee mountain range, which covers Cork, Tipperary and Limerick, Galtymore is the highest peak in the mountain range. It measures 919m in height, and is Ireland’s only inland munroe.

The range has three glacial lakes; Borheen Lough, Lough Dineen and Lough Curra, all of which were formed in the last Ice Age. Galtymore lies along Limerick and Tipperary county lines and can be approached from a number of different starting points.

The secluded car park at Galty Castle Woods is an ideal start point and boasts its own picnic area and looped walk.

The OSI Discovery Series, sheet 74 is all you need to tackle this mountain.

4. Lugnaquilla

Location: Co. Wicklow
Coordinates: 52.966619, -6.462914

Height: 925m

Difficulty: Difficult

Lugnaquilla is located in Co. Wicklow and is the highest mountain in Ireland, outside of Kerry. The mountain’s proximity to Dublin, make it an ideal climb for any adventure tourists visiting the capital or Dublin residents looking for a change of scenery in their leisure time.

Described as a gentle mountain with a mean streak, climbers shouldn’t underestimate how strenuous a climb Lugnaquilla is. An open mountain, much of the trail is exposed to the elements, meaning suitable outdoor clothing is paramount. There’s lots of exposed mountain trail underfoot and no markings to the summit, meaning caution is advised.

With such a tricky climb, make sure to have the OSI Discovery Series, sheet 56 to hand. The perfect accompaniment to any Wicklow walks.

3. Mount Brandon

Location: Co. Kerry
Coordinates: 52.235431, -10.254530

Height: 951m

Difficulty: Strenuous

Measuring 951m in height, Mount Brandon is the highest peak outside of the Macgillycuddy Reeks. Steeped in Irish mythology and folklore, the mountain was a pilgrimage site in pre-Christian times. Being the highest and most westerly summit in Ireland, Mount Brandon was the last place to see the sun set, making it particularly important in Pagan beliefs.

Today, the mountain is best known for its association with Saint Brendan – who some believe discovered America before Columbus. The mountain’s pilgrimage route, Cosán na Naomh, is extremely popular with walkers and pilgrims alike.

Upon reaching the summit, walkers are greeted with stunning views of the Blasket Islands and Dingle peninsula – weather permitting of course.

Hiking in Kerry? Make sure to pack map 78, from the OSi’s Discovery Series.

2. Cnoc na Péiste

Location: Co. Kerry
Coordinates: 51.998622, -9.694957
Height: 988m

Difficulty: Difficult

Cnoc na Péiste takes the second spot on our list because of its spectacular views. A climb to the top of Cnoc na Péiste offers unbeatable views of the Macgillycuddy Reeks and surrounding Kerry landscape.

The peak reaches 988m above sea level and is the fourth highest peak in Ireland. In 1943, the mountain was the site of a US Air Force plane crash. On the 17th of December, the aircraft, carrying five crewmen, struck the mountain just above Lough Cummeenapeasta killing all onboard.
Years later a plaque was placed near the crash site to commemorate those who died. Wreckage from the disaster can still be seen on the mountainside.

1. Carrauntoohil

Location: Co. Kerry
Coordinates: 51.999747, -9.743265
Height: 1,038m

Difficulty: Difficult

The highest peak in Ireland and part of Ireland’s most famous mountain range, Carrauntoohil is a bucket list climb for any seasoned hiker. Soaring 1,038m in the air, the mountain’s terrain requires steady footing and lots of time, with a minimum of six hours needed for a round-trip.

The beauty of the Macgillycuddy Reeks, besides the breath-taking scenery, is that hikers can climb multiple peaks – depending on your energy levels. The views from the top of Carrauntoohil are truly something to behold. After reaching the summit, you’ll be greeted to views of snowy peaks, deep valleys and oval lakes.

Learn Map Reading Skills

Keen to get out and explore? Check out our Map Reading education section and brush up on your skills such as how to use a map and compass and how to stay safe outdoors.

Click here to find the Maps you need to find the peaks in this blog

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