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“Incredible day out” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Carrantoohil

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Ring of Kerry Rail Trip from Dublin
Ranked #13 of 105 things to do in Killarney
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Ireland's highest peak.
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Incredible day out”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 August 2014 via mobile

We climbed Carrantoohil on what had to have been the most beautiful day of the summer so far. The surrounding landscape was absolutely stunning and the views from the top were simply breathtaking. None of us were really that experienced when it came to hiking but because we were all relatively fit, paced ourselves and brought plenty of food and water to keep us going we managed the climb with no trouble at all. We stopped to have lunch at one of the lakes at the foot of the mountain and enjoyed a quick dip in the cool water. Completely worth the drive from west cork, can't believe we didn't do it sooner!

Thank MuireannElizabeth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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211 reviews from our community

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English first
Level Contributor
61 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
“Great experience”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 August 2014

Climbed Carraantoohil last Friday on a soft Kerry day. Great experience but it can get a bit tricky up the route known as the Devils ladder particularly in the rain.. Need proper boots. Got to the top but unfortunately the clouds came down which meant that we had climbed into a ball of cotton wool. Got down eventually where I enjoyed a cup of Tea and a scone from the tea shop in cronin's yard. Great experience and worth the effort.

Visited July 2014
1 Thank NSHNaas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
82 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“Incredible Hike! Find time to do this!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 August 2014

Some quick background, we are pretty avid hikers and runners who wanted to attempt this while in Ireland. Based on research online and a book about the area, we were a bit unsure of how hard it would be and which routes were best. Much of the information online is incomplete and conflicting. One common thing you may read is that Devil's Ladder is terribly unsafe and eroded away. In reality, rocks are loose and there is erosion (especially at the top), but if you leave space between people, use common sense, and take your time, it really isn't a big deal.
We were also concerned about the weather and transportation since we didn't have access to a car in Ireland.

Here are the important things we learned that we believe will help anyone considering this hike:

1. Be honest of your own ability. If you have experience using a map, GPS, and compass, and you are very fit, you can do this without a guide as long as you stick to the obvious/touristy routes. Do research on the routes ahead of time. If you have any doubts about your ability to navigate, deal with low visibility, or you are not able to climb for at least 5 hours straight, you need a guide.

2. Come prepared. It's at least 10 degrees C colder at the summit, and the ground up and down is incredibly uneven and wet even in the summer. Your phone will work, so know (just in case) how to call mountain rescue. We honestly felt fine doing the entire climb, didn't feel tired, and never felt at risk for major injury. We were very well prepared with proper hiking boots (not tennis shoes!) and layers of clothing to adapt for the elevation. It's easy to see the potential for serious injury if you are unprepared and/or not realizing that you are in a pretty harsh area.

3. Our experience with a guide was positive. We chose to have a guide since it was about the same cost as a taxi. He led us up Devil's Ladder and showed us the Heavenly Gates route down, which was absolutely incredible and better than the summit. We definitely would not and could not have done Heavenly Gates route without a guide for a few reasons. First, we knew basically where the route deviated from the main path, but it was not marked and there was no clear path at first. Second, he explained that you only go this way if the weather forecast is good. We totally understand why due to the steep and narrow nature of the path - you need good visibility. Last, the path is not well maintained or way marked with blazes or cairns, so local knowledge and experience on the trail was very helpful.

The only negative of hiring a guide is finding one that matches your fitness level and desired pace. The hike did not really tire us and we unfortunately hired a guide who required many more breaks than we would have taken if we didn't hire him. Even with that in mind, it was a good choice considering the routes we did.

On a side note, if you're looking for a good hike, our guide told us about many other hikes and summits in Ireland besides Carrantoohil. While they may not be the highest, he said they are far more scenic. If we had more time, we would have looked into this further. It's something to consider researching before you go if you're looking for a nice walk and not necessarily this mountain.

Visited July 2014
2 Thank ScottFamily814
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Arvada, Colorado
Level Contributor
178 reviews
88 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
“What an experience to hike this!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 July 2014

We came in April and after reading a few of the reviews decided to hike Carrantoohil but the erosion was a little concerning. So we called Cronin's Yard and asked if there was a guide interested in taking us up. Well, there certainly was. His name is Mike and he's been taking people up there for years. We drove to Cronin's Yard and parked at their lot (2 euro). We hiked up the devil's ladder and got up to the peak. Then we climbed down another path, Heaven's Gate. It was a surreal experience because the terrain is remarkable and rough so there's a lot of climbing using your whole body.

In my opinion, we didn't need the guide. But it was great that he showed us the Heaven's Gate path as we didn't know about it. Yes, it's eroded but if you have hiked before, have common sense and have no physical constraints then you will manage this quite fine. It is not an easy hike, there's not a marked path but its an adventure. You will love the views and the experience. Bring hiking shoes, a hat, several layers of clothes, a backpack, raincoat, lots of water, a camera and some sugary snacks.

Visited April 2014
1 Thank adventuresahead
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cork, Ireland
Level Contributor
27 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 July 2014

After spending many a thousand euro to travel the world I'm just stunned at such a beautiful scenic mountain climb an hour from my house (shame on me!!). What started out as a cloudy day with very little view opened up to breathtaking scenery for many of mile. Took us longer to get down with all d photos we were takin!!Truly magnificent activities and best of all it's free!!!

Visited July 2014
Thank catriona82
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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