PEAK 19: Ireland – Carrauntoohil

Carrauntoohil is a beautiful mountain in Ireland from which you can watch the waves of the Atlantic ocean. If there is good weather… Unfortunately, I was unlucky during my four days long stay in Ireland. It was raining all the time. I couldn’t see anything on my way to the highest peak but I still had a great time in the mountains. At least I can say that I had a typical Irish experience.

Date of summit: 25th July 2018 21:10 
Traveling mode: Hiking
Height of the peak: 1039m 
Hiking distance: 7,11 km 
Time to ascend : 2h 58 min 
Map of my hiking journey to Carrauntoohil: Movescount 
Personal rating of the mountain: *** (6 stars maximum) 
Beer on the peak: Killarnex Blond **** (6 stars maximum) 

I was really looking forward to Ireland. It was such dry weather in Spain where I was before that I even wished for rain. My wishes were fulfilled more than enough. In Ireland during the first 24 hours it rained continuously and it was as cold as around 15 degrees.

Cloudy and cold in Ireland

I stayed at a modest but beautiful guesthouse near the town of Killarney where I could enjoy two nights with exceptionally tasty typical Irish breakfast. Breakfasts on British Isles are just unbeatable.

After checking the weather forecast, I finally decided to go to the highest mountain in Ireland during sunset. The weather was supposed to be best during that time and the sky should have even been clear.

It was just a short car drive to the start of the hike so I could start my hike at 6 pm. The Irish mountains were beautiful. I had a wonderful view, only the top of Carrauntoohil was hidden in the clouds. I enjoyed the hike a lot but unfortunately the clouds were getting lower and lower. When I reached the foot of the mountains, the clouds fell so low that there was very bad visibility. I went up the path called the Devil’s Ladder . It looked quite exposed from below, but the actual hike up was very nice. There were no demanding parts there, just curious sheep looking for fresh grass.

Carrauntoohil getting eaten by clouds; iPhone picture

Unfortunately, when I got to the ridge, the clouds were still low so I couldn’t see anything at all. It was very windy and it even started to rain. At that moment I looked at my watch and it was 9 pm. Exactly that time the sky was supposed to be clear. I just learned a new lesson. Don’t trust weather forecasts in Ireland and get ready for everything.

Weather is getting worse and clouds are getting lower; GoPro picture

When I got to the top the wind was even stronger. I was sometimes glad to have a 15 kg backpack with me. It worked well as a burden so I couldn’t take off. It was tough to hike up in the wind but luckily it was not long. When I reached the peak I was very grateful there was a small shelter on the top of the mountain so I could enjoy my peak beer in relative warmth.

On the top of the Devil’s ladder, it will soon rain like hell; iPhone picture

On the way down I decided for tactics – the sooner I will be down, the less dark it will be. I managed to run the first part of the hill to the beginning of Devil’s ladder in 15 minutes. A full moon peeked out from behind the clouds, shining so pleasantly that I didn’t need a headlamp. It was a nice decent until I got a shock. Suddenly, two scary bright eyes popped up. I quickly cleaned my glasses from the rain drops to see more, waiting for the worst. Which animal is going to eat me? After looking thoroughly, I just realized it was nothing else than the eyes of a curious sheep. After this horrifying experience I took more attention and checked every step on the way down. Soon I was back at my car.

Carrauntoohil conquered; iPhone selfie

The next morning, after enjoying another delicious breakfast, I wanted to explore the western part of Ireland. I was particularly tempted by the rugged and wild coast. However, the weather was not good at all again so I followed the Irish saying: “It’s not raining in the pub.”

When I visited Ireland last time I went to the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin so I chose another typical tourist attraction this time – the Jameson Distillery. After my visit I have to say: I’m not a museum person, but I really liked it. The tour was very interactive and we also had the opportunity to test the difference between American, Scottish and Irish whiskey. I would summarize the tasting as: I will never again buy the American one.

It doesn’t rain in bars!

All in all I liked my Irish visit. The weather was simply terrible but the country has its spirit even during bad weather times. Unfortunately, Carrauntoohil became the first mountain where I really couldn’t see anything but that’s life. I have a reason to come back.

Amazing Cliffs of Moher

DISCLAIMER: Unfortunately, Carrauntoohil and Ben Nevis are the only mountains where I don’t have pictures from my camera. The explanation will come in the Ben Nevis chapter.

My tips for the mountain Carrauntoohil:

  • As always, I recommend to have some extra days for the summit day. In Ireland especially it is difficult to find a day with sunny weather. My four days in Ireland were not enough to have a nice weather.
  • If you are lucky with the weather on the other hand, visit also the west coast of Ireland which is very beautiful – Dingle, Skellig Michael or Cliffs of Moher.
  • In case of bad weather remember: It doesn’t rain in bars.
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