Top 5 mountains to climb in Ireland

There are many mountains to climb in Ireland, all well worth ascending. Upon reaching their summit, not only will you have a sense of achievement, but you will also be met with truly stunning views, unlike any other.

The landscape of the Emerald Isle is renowned for its lush green fields, beautiful beaches, and mesmerizing mountains. These mountains are steeped in history and mythology and can provide a unique experience.

There are many mountains to climb in Ireland, which can offer you unparalleled views from where you can admire and witness the breathtaking scenery on offer throughout the four corners of the country. 

In this article, we will list what we believe to be the top five most popular mountains to climb in Ireland.

5. Slieve Donard – steeped in ancient history

Slieve Donard is steeped in ancient history and another one of the top to visit.
Credit: Instagram / @jamesnolan8787

Slieve Donard Mountain, which stands at 850 metres above sea level in County Down, is both Ulster and Northern Ireland’s highest peak and is part of the inspiring Mourne Mountains range. Slieve Donard overlooks Dundrum Bay, and its lofty summit offers excellent views of the surrounding scenery. 

Slieve Donard offers a challenging climb to hikers as they will have to navigate through a landscape comprised of granite ridges and boggy paths. There is also a lot for any history buffs to enjoy on Slieve Donard as on its summit there is a stone tower and two prehistoric burial cairns which contain neolithic tombs that actually date back to 3,000 BC! 

4. Croagh Patrick – a traditional pilgrimage

Croagh Patrick is loved as a pilgrimage route.

Croagh Patrick in County Mayo is 760 metres in height and is steeped in Irish religious tradition. Regular pilgrimages, which date back to pre-Christian times, were made to its summit and still continue this day.

According to tradition, if one correctly climbs Croagh Patrick, then they will be spiritually cleansed and receive an everlasting holy reward. Some devout people are even known to complete the pilgrimage bare-footed!

On the summit of Croagh Patrick, you will see the infamous St. Patrick’s Chapel and will also be rewarded with dramatic and beautiful views of the surrounding Clew Bay.

3. Benbulbin – a unique natural attraction

Benbulbin in another of the top mountains to climb in Ireland.

With its large flat top made up of limestone and formed during the ice age, Benbulbin, in County Sligo, is without a doubt Ireland’s most distinct mountain and one of its most unique natural attractions.

While Benbulbin, at 526 metres high, is one of the smaller mountains in Ireland, the climb to its summit is no less difficult as it is a challenging hike that can take approximately four hours to complete. Once you reach the summit, you will get panoramic views of the jaw-dropping Sligo landscape.

2. Mount Brandon – one of the top mountains to climb in Ireland

Another of the top mountains to climb in Ireland is Mount Brandon.

Mount Brandon in County Kerry is a whopping 952 metres in height. It is the highest peak in Ireland outside of the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks. Mount Brandon was named after Saint Brendan, and the route to its summit is part of a popular Christian pilgrimage trail which is known as Cosán na Naomh.

Mount Brandon is one of the most popular mountains on the Wild Atlantic Way with the Faha route leading up to the summit commonly regarded as the most challenging but also most rewarding route. It offers breathtakingly beautiful views of the Dingle Peninsula.

1. Carrauntoohil – the rooftop of Ireland

Carrauntoohil is one of the top mountains to climb in Ireland.
Credit: @liv.blakely / Instagram

Carrauntoohil in County Kerry is the central peak of the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks range and is famous for being the highest peak in Ireland; it is over 1,038 metres in height. As Carrauntoohil is the highest peak in Ireland, its summit is often referred to as the rooftop of Ireland.

By reaching the summit of Carrauntoohil, you will be met with a magnificent steel cross and rewarded with truly breathtaking views. There are many different routes one can take to ascend Carrauntoohil that suit hikers of all varying experiences and ability, from beginner to expert.

So there you have our definitive list of the best mountains to climb in Ireland. How many of these mountains in Ireland have you conquered and experienced already?

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Conor Wickham is a writer from County Wexford with a keen interest in discovering everything Ireland has to offer. From sleeping in tree houses in the Ox Mountains to staying in shepherd huts in Donegal, Conor has experienced it. With a degree in Marketing & Advertising with Online Media, Conor has used his love of writing to guide his career path and has worked as a Website Content Writer/SEO Specialist in the past. When not exploring Ireland and finding out its secrets, Conor can usually be found hiking or working on his long awaited (long awaited by him at least!) supernatural thriller novel series.