From Errigal to Benbulben, here are the 10 most beautiful Irish mountains you need to see in your lifetime.
Ireland has truly earned its reputation as the Emerald Isle and is well known for its abundance of rolling green fields, rugged coastlines, and lush woodland glens.
Among the many wonders that this small island has to offer, the sleeping giants that dominate the landscape are certainly some of the strongest contenders. Without a doubt, these lofty summits have survived the test of time and continue to stand as prominent features of the Irish landscape.
Whether you’re looking to climb to the top or pose for a cheeky selfie at the base, here are our top ten most beautiful Irish mountains you must see before you die.
10. Cuilcagh – for Insta-worthy views
First on our list is the spectacular Cuilcagh Mountain. Standing at an impressive height of 665 metres (2,182 feet), this splendid peak is located on the Cavan-Fermanagh border.
This summit consists of one of the largest expanses of intact blanket bog in Northern Ireland and is home to the iconic Insta-famous Cuilcagh Legnabrocky Boardwalk, a.k.a. “the Stairway to Heaven.”
The boardwalk was opened in 2015 to protect the bogland beneath and is the perfect way to experience Cuilcagh in all its heavenly glory.
Location: Cuilcagh, Co. Fermanagh and Co. Cavan
9. Croagh Patrick – for pagans and pilgrims
Located five miles from the idyllic town of Westport in County Mayo, Croagh Patrick is one of the most beautiful Irish mountains and is known for its intriguing ancient past.
Standing at 764 metres (2,507 ft), this sacred place is rich in archaeological heritage and has been a place of pilgrimage for over 5,000 years. The mountain is renowned for its Patrician Pilgrimage in honour of Ireland’s patron saint, St. Patrick.
The views from this holy mountaintop are breath-taking, overlooking the sensational Clew Bay. With views like this, it is no wonder that Croagh Patrick has been a place of worship and pilgrimage for so long.
Location: Croagh Patrick, Teevenacroaghy, Co. Mayo
8. Errigal – for iconic vistas
Next on our list is one of Ireland’s best-known mountains. Located in County Donegal, Errigal stands at 751 metres (2,464 ft) and is the tallest peak in the Derryveagh Mountain range, known locally as “the Seven Sisters.”
Famous for its striking pink glow at sunset, this iconic peak overlooks the picturesque townland of Gweedore and the transcendent Poisoned Glen. The views from the top offer phenomenal vistas of Donegal, most of Ulster, and as far away as the Aran Islands off the coast of Galway, and is one of the best things to do in Donegal.
Whether you wish to experience Errigal from above or below, these views promise to take your breath away.
Location: Errigal, Dunlewey, Gweedore, Co. Donegal
7. Lugnaquilla – for hiking trails and stunning views
Another beautiful mountain in Ireland is the stunning Lugnaquilla. This exquisite peak is the tallest mountain of the Wicklow Mountains range, standing at 925 metres (3,035 feet).
Located in the glorious “Garden of Ireland,” Lugnaquilla overlooks the tranquil wilderness of the Glen of Imaal and Glenmalure.
Legend has it that Fionn MacCumhaill hurled the famous Mottee Stone from the top of Lugnaquilla Mountain and it landed in Crobane, County Wicklow. He certainly chose a great vantage point!
Location: Lugnaquilla, Ballinaskea, Co. Wicklow
6. Croaghaun – an Atlantic haven
Our next peak can be found on Achill Island, off the coast of County Mayo. It is the most westerly peak of the island and is also its highest mountain, standing at 688 metres (2,257 feet).
The stunning cliffs at Croaghaun lie on the northern slope of the mountain and can only be seen by hiking to the summit, or from the sea beneath.
Croaghaun is a perfect example of untouched wilderness overlooking the great expanse of the Atlantic Ocean—a truly amazing location for whale watching!
Location: Croaghaun, Keel West, Co. Mayo
5. Mount Brandon – for voyagers
Next on our list is Ireland’s highest mountain outside of the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks range and stands at an impressive 952 metres (3,123 ft).
Mount Brandon takes its name from the renowned Saint Brendan the Navigator. In the story of Brendan’s life, it is said that he spent three days on Brandon before embarking on his great voyage. (Not a bad place to start!)
Location: Mount Brandon, Faha, Co. Kerry
4. Purple Mountain – for mesmerising hues
Our next mountain is also located in the kingdom county. Purple Mountain stands at 832 metres (2,730 ft) and is composed of Old Red Sandstone that gives it its distinctive colouring, which is best appreciated at sunset.
The combination of sunlight and sandstone gives off a breath-taking purple hue, which makes this summit an absolute feast for the eyes and certainly one of the most beautiful Irish mountains.
While several hikes this peak has to offer are quite strenuous, we promise that the postcard-perfect views of Kerry from the top are worth the effort!
Location: Purple Mountain, Doogary, Co. Kerry
3. Slieve Bearnagh – for breath-taking views
Slieve Bearnagh can be found in the lovely County Down and is without a doubt one of the most striking mountains of the Mourne Mountain range.
It has a height of 739 metres (2,425 ft) and a very distinctive jagged summit that makes it easy to identify from miles around.
The stunning Mourne Wall crosses the summit of Slieve Bearnagh, and the peak provides dramatic views. If you are planning to give the Mournes a visit, Slieve Bearnagh is an absolute must!
Location: Slieve Bearnagh, Newry BT34 4RQ, United Kingdom
2. The Twelve Pins – the more mountains, the merrier!
Less a mountain and more a mountain range, the Twelve Pins (a.k.a. the Twelve Bens) are one of the most stunning land formations in Ireland. This range is made up of over 22 stunning peaks, all so magnificent, it was impossible for us to choose just one!
At the centre stands Benbaun at 729 metres (2,392 feet). While the Pins are not the highest mountain range in Ireland, their prominence and rugged ridges in contrast with the surrounding landscape give them an amazing dreamlike quality.
Location: Twelve Bens, Glencoaghan, Co. Galway
1. Benbulben – for myths and legends
Last, but by no means least, Benbulben (sometimes spelled Benbulbin) is one of the most beautiful Irish mountains without a doubt.
This distinctive flat-topped formation stands at 526 metres (1,726 feet) and dominates the Sligo landscape with such majesty that it is no wonder it is the setting of several Irish legends!
It is known to have been the ancient location of the legendary Fianna’s hunting grounds! Also associated with Benbulben is the famous tale of the “Pursuit of Diarmuid and Gráinne,” and it is said that the mountain is the location of their final resting place.
Location: Benbulben, Cloyragh, Co. Sligo