Galtymore Hike: best route, distance, when to visit, and more

As one of Ireland’s highest peaks and the highest point of both Limerick and Tipperary, the Galtymore hike is one that you need to experience. Here is what you need to know to tick it off the list.

For those of you looking for your next challenge, let us introduce you to the incredible, albeit difficult, hike to the summit of Galtymore, the highest of the Galtee mountain range in Ireland, which stretches from Limerick to Tipperary.

If you didn’t know already, Galtymore is one of the 13 Irish Munros, which all have an elevation of over 3,000 ft (914 m).

So, by hiking to the top of this major mountain, you will certainly have a story to tell and perhaps it might lead you to climb the remaining 12 – never say never.

If you are longing for a date with nature, then let us inspire you with all you need to know about the Galtymore hike.

Overview – the important details

  • Distance: 11 km (6.8 miles)
  • Start Point: Galtymore Climb Car Park
  • Parking: There is a small car-park at the trailhead, with parking space for four or five cars and some space along the road, too. However, get there early to find a spot.
  • Difficulty: Rated as moderate to difficult with a mix of terrain and open mountain areas, so the experience is a must.
  • Total Time: 4 hours

How to get there – making your way to the start

You should see a sign for the Galtymore Hike on your way to the mountain.

Galtymore is very easily accessed from the M7 motorway, taking just one hour from Cork city, and two hours from south County Dublin. Once you are driving on the motorway, be on the lookout for exit 12, which is where you will come off.

From here, begin to make your way to the town of Kilbeheny, then drive north on the R639 for around 5 km (3 miles). Following this, you will come to crossroads where you will take a left and you should see the brown sign indicating that this is the Galtymore Climb.

From here, you can park and the hike has marked the rest of the way.

The route – which way to go

The easiest route for the Galtymore Hike begins at the car-park.
Credit: Instagram / @lous_excursions

The easiest and most direct Galtymore hike begins at the Galtymore Climb car park. This is known as the Black Road Route, which begins close to the town of Skeheenaranky in County Tipperary.

As you begin the hike, this road will continue for about 2.5 km (1.6 miles) and after passing through a few gates as you start to move uphill, you will get sight of both Galtybeg (small Galty) and Galtymore (big Galty).

Make your way slightly left on the path until you are brought in the direction of Galtybeg, which will be to your right, and onwards to an area known as the Col or the lowest point between both peaks.

The Galtymore Hike
Credit: Instagram / @aprilbrophy and Instagram / @ballyhourarambler

Take care along the boggy grounds of this area, especially on wet days, and make your way to the highest point between the two beautiful mountains, where you will see the impressive cliffs of the north face of Galtymore Mountain.

Take even greater care in the next section, which has quite a steep drop with a drop-down to Lough Dineen. Further along, there will be steps in sections to guide you towards the eastern summit of Galtymore.

The summit is marked with a Celtic Cross. From here, you have panoramic views of neighbouring mountains, including Carrauntoohil in Kerry.

Take the same route back, and be careful going downhill on wet surfaces. There is the option to climb Galtybeg either on the way up or the way back down.

Alternative route – other hiking options

There are alternative routes up the Galtymore Hike.
Credit: Instagram / @scottwalker_

There is a slightly longer route, which is 12 km (7.45 miles) and starts from the forest car park near the Clydagh Bridge.

This should take you on a five to six-hour loop past Lough Curra and Lough Dineen. This hike is known as the Connoisseur’s Route and also takes in Galtybeg, Slieve Cushnabinnia, and the peak of Galtymore before returning to the beginning.

Starting point: Clydagh Bridge Car Park

What to bring – packing the essentials

What to bring on your Galtymore Hike.
Credit: Pixabay and Flickr / DLG Images

This is a relatively challenging hike. So, be prepared with the right footwear, such as comfortable hiking boots, spare socks, and layers, especially rain gear – just in case.

It is always advised to bring enough water, food, a phone, and a power bank, as well as a first-aid kit, flashlight, and a paper map.

Useful tips – extra things to be aware of

Beware of the Galtymore Hike when it is bad weather.
Credit: Instagram / @_liannevandijk

Always check the weather the day you plan to hike, as it can change very rapidly in Ireland. If there are signs of rain or strong winds, wait for a calmer day as opposed to hiking in wet weather to be on the safe side.

Always tell someone where you are going and, if possible, go with a friend for safety. Be sure to have done a good bit of hiking to this level before taking on this hike, so you know what to expect and so your body is ready for the adventure.

If you are bringing a dog, keep them on a long hiking leash as there may be times when you pass by cattle and sheep in the local fields.

If you are planning undertake the Galtymore hike on a day that is misty or overcast, be aware that you will need exceptional navigational skills as the path will be hard to see. So, it is best to go on a clear day if possible.

Highlights of the hike – things to see on the Galtymore hike

The Lough Curra is one of the best things to see on the Galtymore Hike.
Credit: Instagram / @sharonixon

This is one of the most popular hikes in Ireland because, en route, you will also summit Galtybeg at 2,621 ft (799 m) before reaching the summit of Galtymore, which is known as Dawsons Table.

You will experience sensational views the entire way as you hike through Ireland’s highest inland mountain range.

There will be some iconic monuments along the way too so keep an eye out. On the alternative route, you will pass by Lough Curra and Lough Dinheen, both of which make fantastic photo opportunities.

Notable mentions

Beenkeragh is a notable mention for similar walks to the Galtymore Hike.

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Carruantoohil: Ireland’s highest peak is Carrauntoohil, which makes for an excellent day hike in Kerry. It is challenging and suited to experienced hikers.

Beenkeragh: One of the country’s most extraordinary hikes is Ireland’s second highest mountain and one of the 13 Irish Munros, Beenkeragh, located in Kerry.

Cnoc Na Peiste: This is the highest summit of the eastern section of the Macgillicuddy Reeks and is home to one of the most challenging ridge walks in the country. Prior hiking experience is a must.

Maolan Bui: This moderately challenging hike in Kerry, taking in some stunning views. It is considered a great location for camping, fishing, and hiking.

FAQs about the Galtymore Hike

The Galtymore Hike is rated between moderate to difficult.

Is Galtymore hard to climb?

The Galtymore hike is rated between moderate and difficult, and has mixed terrain, steep sections, and uneven surfaces. So, it should only be undertaken if you are used to this type of hike, and are prepared for it with the right gear.

How long does it take to climb Galtymore?

The direct hike takes around four hours from start to finish. However, the longer route can take up to six hours.

Where do you park for the Galtymore hike?

For the main route to the summit of Galtymore, you can park at the main Galtymore climb car park close to Shekeenaranky. Otherwise, for the 12 km (7.5 miles) loop, you can park at Car Park Galtymore North.

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