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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 Name Location Height Starting point Why it’s special 
Croagh Patrick Mayo, near Westport town 764 m / 2,506 ft 5 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 Name Location Height Starting point Why it’s special 
Ben Bulben Co Sligo – near Sligo town 526 m / 1,725 ft Luke’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 Name Location Height Starting point Why it’s special 
Mweelrea Co Mayo – Killary Fjord 814 m / 2,670 ft Doo Lough or the Lost Valley by the Silver Strand Northwest 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 Name Location Height Starting point Why it’s special 
Carrauntoohil Co Kerry – Iveragh Peninsula (Ring of Kerry) 1,083 m / 3,553 ft Lisleibane 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 Name Location Height Starting point Why it’s special 
Diamond Hill Connemara – Co Galway 442 m / 1,450 ft Connemara National Park Fantastic 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 Name Location Height Starting point Why it’s special 
Errisbeg Hill Connemara – Co Galway 300m / 984 ft End of Fuschia Lane Easy 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 Name Location Height Starting point Why it’s special 
Mt Brandon Dingle Peninsula – Co Kerry 953m / 3,126 ft Car park at the Faha Grotto Panoramic 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 Name Location Height Starting point Why it’s special 
Mt Errigal Co Donegal – Glenveagh National Park 751 m / 2,463 ft Along route R251, 1 mile from Dunlewy village Exploring 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 Name Location Height Starting point Why it’s special 
Knocknarea Hill Co Sligo – Sligo town 327 m / 1,072 ft Queen Maeve Car Park or Strandhill Centra car park Visit 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.

Trip Date Price Availability Book
Hiking - The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal 14th Mar - 20th Mar 2020 €1,7108 place(s) leftBook Now
Hiking - The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal 9th May - 15th May 2020 €1,7953 place(s) leftBook Now
Hiking - The Mountains of Connemara and Mayo 20th Jun - 26th Jun 2020 €1,7957 place(s) leftBook Now
Deluxe Hiking - The Kerry Mountains 4th Jul - 10th Jul 2020 €2,0903 place(s) leftBook Now
Hiking - The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal 18th Jul - 24th Jul 2020 €1,7953 place(s) leftBook Now
Hiking - The Mountains of Connemara and Mayo 1st Aug - 7th Aug 2020 €1,7956 place(s) leftBook Now
Deluxe Hiking - The Kerry Mountains 8th Aug - 14th Aug 2020 €2,0908 place(s) leftBook Now
Hiking - The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal 8th Aug - 14th Aug 2020 €1,7958 place(s) leftBook Now
Hiking - The Mountains of Connemara and Mayo 29th Aug - 4th Sep 2020 €1,7957 place(s) leftBook Now
Hiking - The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal 12th Sep - 18th Sep 2020 €1,7958 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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