Regions and countries become synonymous with certain brands. Tetley Tea put Yorkshire on the map, Apple helps to make the USA a tech powerhouse and Guinness puts Ireland at the top of the beer-producing stage with its ruby red colour and caramelised flavour. That being said, we’re keen to point out here and now that there’s so much more to Ireland than the whole ‘my goodness, my Guinness’ business. Take Ireland’s mountains, for example. Take the ten highest mountains in Ireland. They’re epic.
Because the mountains in Ireland are known for being in cloud around 75% of the time, and receive a staggering 225 days of rainfall per year, you could be forgiven for not knowing that the country is actually pretty mountainous. The peaks are simply hidden from view more often than not.
“The mountains in Ireland are known for being in cloud around 75% of the time”
As with most ‘highest mountains in…’ articles, there’s always some confusion found between mountains that stand alone and mountains that are formed off from other mountains.
The mountains in this article are required to have a prominence (the measure of an independent mountain, from its lowest contour line to summit) of over 100m to be included. Some lists out there include mountains with a mere prominence of just 30m, but we’re only including proper mountains here.
Location: Co. Kerry
Irish name: Corrán Tuathail
Irish meaning: Tuathal’s sickle
The central peaks of the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks mountain range, and Ireland’s highest mountain. Carrauntoohil is linked together to many of the other 1,000m peaks in the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks. You can ascend the Beenkeragh Ridge in a northerly direction, which leads down to Beenkeragh (1,008m) or in a westerly direction along the Caher Ridge that leads to the summit of Caher (1,000m). Note: Both Beenkeragh and Caher do not have a high enough prominence to be included in the list of highest mountains in Ireland.
Carrauntoohil can be walked up using the worryingly named ‘Devil’s Ladder’ which is the most popular and direct walking route up to the summit. Due to its popularity, the Devil’s Ladder has largely become eroded. The ladder itself is a wide bolder-strewn gully that houses more than enough loose rocks to cause concern when ascending or descending – certainly not one to aim for on a busy day. Once on the top of the Ladder, the path up to the summit is relatively straightforward via the long summit slope.
2) Cnoc na Péiste
Location: Co. Kerry
Irish name: Cnoc na Péiste
Irish meaning: Hill of the serpent
Being second on this list and technically fourth highest mountain in Ireland (based on overall height), very few people ascend to the summit of Cnoc na Péiste and those that do will know little about the tragedy that occurred on this mountain in the 1943.
An American Airforce C 47 (military transport aircraft) was on a ferry flight from the USA to England, whilst ferrying supplies over to the front line in preparation for D-Day. In total darkness and radio silence, to avoid the lurking German Luftwaffe, the C 47 dropped down to an altitude of 600m in order to sight their way across the bleak landscape. However, what the crewmen did not realise was that they were in terrain with many 900m+ peaks surrounding them – the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks mountain range. The C 47 soon slammed into the side of the Cnoc na Péiste, killing four of the crew instantly. Staff Sgt. Arthur Schwartz managed to crawl away from the burning wreckage, but sadly died soon afterwards.