Knocknadobar Mountain, Pilgrim Path Walking Route, Kerry

  • Author:ActiveME
  • Created: August 28, 2012
  • Updated: December 12, 2017
Location: Kerry
  • DistanceInstructions
  • Distance10.46 km
  • Time0 s
  • Speed0.0 km/h
  • Min altitude15 m
  • Peak681 m
  • Climb666 m
  • Descent666 m

The Knocknadobar or Cnoc na dTobar ancient pagan trail, now a national Pilgrim Path, is a moderate 3.5 hour (8 km) walking route to the peak of Knocknadobar Mountain (690m) near the town of Cahersiveen, Co. Kerry in the south west of Ireland. This hiking trail follows the 'stations of the cross' pilgrim route with stunning views of The Skellig Islands, Valentia Island, Dolus Head and more from the top, alongside the Cross and Altar.

Knocknatobar view above Valentia Island Lighthouse, Ring of Kerry, Wild Atlantic Way, IrelandHowever, before Christianity arrived in Ireland, Knocknadobar was an very important mountain in Pagan Ireland celebrating the pagan Celtic harvest festival of Lughnasadh, taking its name from the Irish god Lugh, one of the gods of the Tuatha De Danann, giving us Lughnasadh and is the origin of the modern celebration of Halloween.

View of Valentia Island from the pilgrim mountain of Knocknatobar, Cahersiveen, Ring of Kerry, Wild Atlantic Way, IrelandKnocknadobar, in Irish: Cnoc na dTobar, meaning "mountain of the wells" is one of the main mountains of the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry, Ireland and looks over the bustling town of Cahersiveen on the Ring of Kerry. Before the Famine in the 1840s, Cahersiveen had a population of around 30,000 s but now its roughly 1500. At the base of the mountain is St. Furseys Well or St. Fursa from the 6th century and like many wells, it is known for its healing mineral properties.

Knocknatobar Mountain from Drung Hill, Glenbeigh, Co. Kerry Wild Atlantic Way

The well worn trail is clearly marked and you can also follow the large white crosses but you still need to take care to keep on the route especially during times of cloud and fog. Some or all of the trail is suitable for people of all ages due to the zig zag route it takes. Unfortunately, No dogs are allowed on this Pilgrim Trail. The cross beside the altar was erected in June 1884 and in 1885 parish priest Canon Brosnan decided to build 14 stations of the cross along the mountain’s ancient pagan trail. Knocknadobar is now considered one of Ireland’s key sacred or holy mountains, similar to Mount Brandon near Tralee and Dingle and Croagh Patrick in Mayo and is 1 of 12 national Pilgrim Paths of Ireland.

Knocknatobar Cross Old Photo

Use our Map of Ireland and Sat Nav tool to get directions to the start point of this walk and use our map and GPS info on our Free ActiveME App to find and follow the walking route and keep on track in conjunction with proper map and compass navigation techniques.

Other Great Walks in the Area Include:

Weather in Ireland and especially on mountains is nothing but unpredictable so be sure to check the weather, as the top of the mountain can disappear into the clouds in seconds with visibility down to near nothing.  The Met Eireann 5-Day Forecast is very handy and is unusually accurate in the short term!!! If the weather is bad, don't ever be afraid to cancel your mountain walk for something lower like the great beach walk nearby. There are plenty of other routes to suit beginners to advanced walkers in the area, 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 here. Please remember that you are only as fast as the slowest member of your group!