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    Photo Blog: Irish Peaks & Mountains of the Wild Atlantic Way

    5 min read

    As naturalist John Muir says, “The mountains are calling…and I must go.”

    In this photoblog, enjoy images of some of the Wild Atlantic Way mountains and hills to whet your peak-bagging appetite.

    By Dawn Rainbolt, Marketing Executive
    More by Dawn

    Though a small island, Ireland is full of diverse landscapes, from gentle coasts to rolling hills to rugged high points! Love hiking and mountains? Check out our photoblog of the some of peaks of the Wild Atlantic Way mountains.

    Croagh Patrick - Co Mayo

    Croagh Patrick

    Traverse the ridge along Croagh Patrick, Ireland’s Holy Mountain.

    Peak NameLocationHeightStarting pointWhy it’s special 
    Croagh PatrickMayo, near Westport town764 m / 2,506 ft5 miles from Westport on R335 Ireland’s Holy Mountain – ancient pilgrim’s path

    Known locally as ‘The Reek,’ Croagh Patrick has been a pilgrimage route since ancient times. This impressive mountain overlooks the town of Westport, Clew Bay and the hundreds of islands populating the bay. Famous for its saintly connection, St Patrick is said to have fasted on the summit of Croagh Patrick for 40 days. Considered Ireland’s Holy Mountain, it is still climbed by thousands of pilgrims on the last Sunday in July – some of whom walk up the mountain barefoot!

    Ben Bulben – Co Sligo

    Ben Bulben

    Admiring the nose of Ben Bulben, Sligo’s iconic tabletop mountain, one of the most intriguing Wild Atlantic Way mountains.

    Peak NameLocationHeightStarting pointWhy it’s special 
    Ben BulbenCo Sligo – near Sligo town526 m / 1,725 ftLuke’s Bridge near Mullaghnaneane Beautiful tabletop mountain with great views over Yeats Country

    Ben Bulben, one of Europe’s only table mountains, reigns over Sligo. The iconic mountain is easily spotted from a distance – in fact, visitors to Donegal’s massive Slieve League cliffs will see Ben Bulben from the top of the cliffs. Ben Bulben, as with the rest of Sligo, served as inspiration for Irish national poet, WB Yeats, and much of Sligo is featured throughout his poems. Yeats loved Ben Bulben so much that he requested to be buried in its shadow – he currently rests in Drumcliff Abbey, which skirts the Ben Bulben’s western slopes.

    Mweelrea Mountain – Co Mayo

    Mweelrea Mountain - Connemara - Mayo

    Peak NameLocationHeightStarting pointWhy it’s special 
    MweelreaCo Mayo – Killary Fjord814 m / 2,670 ftDoo Lough or the Lost Valley by the Silver StrandNorthwest Ireland’s highest mountain – great panorama of Killary Fjord

    Though an amazing hike, Mweelrea is not one to attempt unless you are a serious hiker. As with many Wild Atlantic Way mountains, Mweelrea Mountain has no official or maintained trail. Located in one of Ireland’s wildest corners, Mweelrea can be rough and boggy at times, and should therefore only be attempted with a serious hiker or better yet, a hiking guide. Once you summit the mountain, you’ll enjoy brilliant views over Killary Fjord, Connemara, and the wilds of Mayo.

    Carauntoohil – Iveragh Peninsula (Ring of Kerry) – Co Kerry

    Carrauntoohil - Ireland's highest mountain

    Climbing Carrauntoohil, Ireland’s highest mountain, for an invigorating challenge!

    Peak NameLocationHeightStarting pointWhy it’s special 
    CarrauntoohilCo Kerry – Iveragh Peninsula (Ring of Kerry)1,083 m / 3,553 ftLisleibane or Cronin’s Yard Ireland’s tallest mountain!

    When it comes to the Wild Atlantic Way mountains and hills, peak baggers and serious hikers visiting Ireland won’t be able to miss climbing Carrauntoohil, Ireland’s tallest mountain. Not to be attempted without the proper equipment, OS maps and a guide, Carrautoohil is a challenge but well worth it. The narrow trail weaving around mountain will rival the Alps or the Pyrenees in rugged beauty. Depending on the weather conditions, there are a few paths to the summit: Devil’s Ladder, O’Shea’s Gully, or the Caher Route.

    Diamond Hill – Connemara – Co Galway

    Connemara - Diamond Hill

    Hiking around the Connemara’s Diamond Hill, overlooking lakes, mountains and abbeys.

    Peak NameLocationHeightStarting pointWhy it’s special 
    Diamond HillConnemara – Co Galway442 m / 1,450 ftConnemara National ParkFantastic views of Twelve Bens

    Though the Twelve Bens are beautiful Wild Atlantic Way mountains, they are more difficult to access due to property rights, lack of maintained trails or roads, and rugged terrain. Diamond Hill, set amongst the backdrop of Connemara’s Twelve Bens, is a great and very accessible hike through Connemara, providing great views over the Twelve Bens mountains in the Connemara National Park.

     

    Errisbeg – Connemara – Co Galway

    Errisbeg Hill

    Errisbeg Hill in Connemara.

    Peak NameLocationHeightStarting pointWhy it’s special 
    Errisbeg HillConnemara – Co Galway300m / 984 ftEnd of Fuschia LaneEasy but rugged walk in a little-visited part of Connemara

    Though Connemara is one of Ireland’s favourite destinations, Errisbeg Hill is a great choice for a wild hike. Though not really a ‘peak,’ Errisbeg isn’t exactly an easy climb due to its boggy ruggedness. Lacking a proper trail, it provides the wilderness experience but still easy enough to be back in Roundstone village for a pint and a sunset stroll along the pristine beach at Dog’s Bay.

    Mt Brandon – Dingle Peninsula – Co Kerry

    Mt Brandon

    Hiking the summit of Mt Brandon on Kerry’s Dingle Peninsula.

    Peak NameLocationHeightStarting pointWhy it’s special 
    Mt BrandonDingle Peninsula – Co Kerry953m / 3,126 ftCar park at the Faha GrottoPanoramic Atlantic views associated Christian and Irish mythology

    Towering over Dingle, Mt Brandon supposedly takes its name from St. Brendan the Navigator, who is said to have seen the Promised Land/America from the summit during his climb. You won’t see America during your hike, but you will get some beautiful views over southwest Ireland! Another theory is that Mt Brandon, a place steeped in Irish mythology, gets its name from the ancient pagan deity called Bran.

    Mt Errigal – Co Donegal

    Mt Errigal - Co Donegal

    The glittering quartzite peak of Mt Errigal in remote Co Donegal.

     

    Peak NameLocationHeightStarting pointWhy it’s special 
    Mt ErrigalCo Donegal – Glenveagh National Park751 m / 2,463 ftAlong route R251, 1 mile from Dunlewy villageExploring Glenveagh National Park, Donegal’s highest peak

    Rated National Geographic Traveller’s Coolest Place on Earth in 2017, Donegal is a rugged and wild place – nicknamed Ireland’s Forgotten County for good reason. By summiting Mt Errigal in Glenveagh National Park, that means that you’re standing at the top of Donegal’s highest peak – drink in the views over Glenveagh National Park, the Poisoned Glen, and the Derryveagh Mountains.

    Knocknarea Hill – Co Sligo

    Sligo Knocknarea sunset

    Enjoy Sligo’s Knocknarea hill at sunset

     

    Peak NameLocationHeightStarting pointWhy it’s special 
    Knocknarea HillCo Sligo – Sligo town327 m / 1,072 ftQueen Maeve Car Park or Strandhill Centra car parkVisit the ancient cairn at the summit

    Topped with an enormous cairn – a rock-covered, dome-shaped tomb 5,000 years old – Knocknarea is an ancient place. Though a relatively short hike, the views from the top are phenomenal, with the surf village of Strandhill, the beach and Ben Bulben mountain spreading out below. A sacred burial site for thousands of years, explore the ancient cairns and megalithic tombs at the top. Intriguingly, Knocknarea is the supposed burial site of warrior Queen Maeve – buried standing up ready to face her enemies!

     

    Are the mountains calling? Find out how to hike the Wild Atlantic Way mountains and hills.

    TripDatePriceAvailabilityBook
    Hiking - The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal11th Mar - 17th Mar 2023€2,3507 place(s) leftBook Now
    Deluxe Hiking - The Kerry Mountains1st Apr - 7th Apr 2023€2,4007 place(s) leftBook Now
    Hiking - The Mountains of Connemara and Mayo15th Apr - 21st Apr 2023€2,0008 place(s) leftBook Now
    Deluxe Hiking - The Kerry Mountains20th May - 26th May 2023€2,4008 place(s) leftBook Now
    Hiking - The Mountains of Connemara and Mayo27th May - 2nd Jun 2023€2,0006 place(s) leftBook Now
    Hiking - The Mountains of Connemara and Mayo24th Jun - 30th Jun 2023€2,0008 place(s) leftBook Now
    Deluxe Hiking - The Kerry Mountains1st Jul - 7th Jul 2023€2,4006 place(s) leftBook Now
    Hiking - The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal8th Jul - 14th Jul 2023€2,3505 place(s) leftBook Now
    Hiking - The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal22nd Jul - 28th Jul 2023€2,3506 place(s) leftBook Now
    Hiking - The Mountains of Connemara and Mayo29th Jul - 4th Aug 2023€2,0008 place(s) leftBook Now
    Hiking - The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal5th Aug - 11th Aug 2023€2,3506 place(s) leftBook Now
    Deluxe Hiking - The Kerry Mountains19th Aug - 25th Aug 2023€2,4008 place(s) leftBook Now
    Hiking - The Mountains of Connemara and Mayo26th Aug - 1st Sep 2023€2,0008 place(s) leftBook Now
    Hiking - The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal26th Aug - 1st Sep 2023€2,3507 place(s) leftBook Now
    Deluxe Hiking - The Kerry Mountains2nd Sep - 8th Sep 2023€2,4007 place(s) leftBook Now
    Hiking - The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal16th Sep - 22nd Sep 2023€2,3506 place(s) leftBook Now
    Hiking - The Mountains of Connemara and Mayo23rd Sep - 29th Sep 2023€2,0007 place(s) leftBook Now
    Deluxe Hiking - The Kerry Mountains30th Sep - 6th Oct 2023€2,4008 place(s) leftBook Now

    Meet the Author: Dawn Rainbolt

    “American by birth but European in spirit, Dawn has called the US, Costa Rica, Spain, England, Poland, France and now Ireland home over the years. While she has travelled to more than 30 countries, she has fallen in love with the rich Irish culture and sweeping landscapes of Ireland. Armed with a Masters Degree in Tourism Marketing and a love of writing and photography, she is Wilderness Ireland's Marketing Executive since 2017.”

    View profileMore by Dawn

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