MacGillycuddy’s Reeks and Carrauntoohil, Entire Mountain Range Walk, Killarney, Kerry, Ireland


May 20, 2014 at 9:50 pm in Walking/Hiking, Walks by ActiveME

See bottom of this page to get GPS directions, add your review and see local tour guides, businesses and other things to do.


County: Route Length (km): 18
Nearest town: OS Map: 78
Route shape: linear one-wayRoute type: Mountain
Grade/difficulty: DifficultDuration: 9
Parking: car parkWheelchair friendly?: No
Family/child friendly?: NoDog friendly?: No
Grid ref. (start): V 880 887Grid ref. (finish): V 771 870


The MacGillycuddy's Reeks and Carrauntoohil Entire Mountain Range Walk from the Gap of Dunloe to near Lough Acoose is a rewarding but strenuous to difficult 10-12 hour (21km) long walking route over the entire MacGillycuddy's Reeks Mountain range near the town of Killarney, Co. Kerry in the south west of Ireland. This is a tough full day hike with amazing views over the Reeks and Black Valley and steeped in Irish Mythology where you walk in the footsteps of the Fianna. This walk is part of the 2014 Killarney Walking Festival from 20 to 22 June. Register for the guided trip here The route can be done in either direction so please view the full route map below and on our Free App here. 

MacGillycuddy's Reeks Mountains, Names and Heights

Starting from Kate Kearneys Cottage in the Gap of Dunloe you start gently on the slopes of Stickeen Mountain (440m). From here you traverse the Eastern Reeks over summits including Cnoc an Bhráca (731m), Cruach Mhór (932m), The Big Gun (939m), Cnoc na Péiste (988m), Maolán Buí (932), Cnoc an Chuillinn (958m), Cnoc na Toinne (845m) and finally to the summit of Carrauntoohil (1,039m), Irelands highest mountain. From here you can choose a side trip to visit Beenkeragh (1,010m) before returning back along the same route to the peaks of Caher (1,001m) and Caher West (975m) before descending to the Hydro Car park near Lough Acoose, Glencar. Or alternatively you can continue from Beenkeragh (1,010m) on the northern side of the Coomloughra Horseshoe to the peaks or Skregmore (848m) and Cnoc Íochtair (747m) before descending to the car park. A shorter route option is to begin or finish with Cruach Mhór (932m) with Cronins Yard as your start of end point. 

Carrauntoohil Mountain from the Eastern Reeks, Kerry

The walk passes through an area where Fionn MacCumhail of Irish Mythology and the Fianna, his army of warriors and hunters hunted deer with their famous pack of 500 Irish Wolf Hounds. This walking route starts in Derrynafeana meaning 'Oak Wood of the Fianna' and rises to Ireland 3rd highest mountain Caher (1,001m) or Cathair na Féinne, meaning 'Stone fort of the Fianna'. Look west from Caher to the nearby mountain Seefin or Suí Finn in Irish meaning ‘the Seat of Finn’ (fionn). The fact that these Irish Mythology names of places and mountains have survived for so long, suggests that these were real people that lived, stories were told about them, and over time these stories were embellished with magic, fantasy and myth to keep them alive through the ages and I guess it has worked!!

This route requires some careful scrambling on the Eastern Reeks on the ridge between the Big Gun (939m) and An Cruach Mhór (932m) on the exposed Beenkeragh ridge so a guide may be the best option for those with less mountain experience. This walk requires a full day. It is not advised to undertake this walk in poor weather or high winds due to the exposed ridges.

If times and weather allows, this is one of the best walks in Ireland and offers you some great views back towards Killarney and west into the Iveragh Peninsula and to the Beara Peninsula if you are lucky. It is only a short drive to the Reeks and Gap of Dunloe from Killarney or Tralee, which are in the south west of Ireland in County Kerry and the route is just off the Ring of Kerry and Wild Atlantic Way. 

Click here to book a walking guide with John from The Lodge and Reeks Guiding Company. 

Lodge and Reeks Guiding Company Logo

There are plenty of other routes to suit beginners to advanced walkers on the Reeks, so please find a route that is right for you or your group. Plan your walk by checking the weather, sunrise sunset times and our hiking checklist on our website Please remember that you are only as fast as the slowest member of your group! It is also better completed after a spell of dry weather and allow plenty of time.

Use our Map of Ireland and Sat Nav tool to get directions to the start point and our detailed maps and GPS on our ActiveME iPhone App and Android App to find and follow the walking route live on screen and keep on track.  Our maps and Apps are only a rough route guide and at all times should be used in conjunction with proper map and compass navigation techniques. 




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Rating: 4.5/5 (1 vote cast)
MacGillycuddy's Reeks and Carrauntoohil, Entire Mountain Range Walk, Killarney, Kerry, Ireland, 4.5 out of 5 based on 1 rating

Route Map

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3 responses to MacGillycuddy’s Reeks and Carrauntoohil, Entire Mountain Range Walk, Killarney, Kerry, Ireland

  1. Michael Doddy said on January 16, 2014 Reply


    I’m planning a hiking trip to Kerry in the next few months. Can you advise the best
    place to purchase maps, 25k or 15k scale maps. I’m finding it very difficult to find on line.

    I have tried Harvey ,and ordnance survey series maps but to no avail. Would you know if there are any available or
    where could I purchase them on line?

    Looking forward to seeing your beautiful part of the world soon

    Regards Michael Doddy

  2. ActiveME said on January 20, 2014 Reply

    Hi Michael,
    Yes OSi and Harveys are not great for online sales of 25k and 30k (forever out of stock or out of print). Plus its very hard / impossible to get your hands on any 15k mapping of the Kerry outdoors…this scale is normally for the city maps, etc!

    I would try contacting Kerry Outdoor Sports in Killarney or Landers in Tralee. They normally stock a good choice and you could collect them when you arrive! see links to these stores in list above

    Enjoy Kerry

    all the best


  3. Susan Forday said on April 29, 2015 Reply

    Could you send me some history of the area. Florence Mc Gillacuddy ( My paternal grandmother) emigrated to Orange State, South Africa in the ? late 1900’s. I would love to visit Ireland some day. I live in Rockhampton, Queensland.My Dad has passed away. My Mum was born in England, in Chester.

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