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MacGillycuddy's Reeks Area , Cen: Reeks West Subarea
Feature count in area: 29, all in Kerry, OSI/LPS Maps: 78, EW-KNP, EW-R
Highest Place: Carrauntoohil 1038.6m

Starting Places (19) in area MacGillycuddy's Reeks:
Ballaghbeama Gap, Bridia Valley End, Cronins Yard, Gap of Dunloe Head of, Gap of Dunloe Kate K, Glashaknockbrassel Stream, Glasheenoultagh Stream, Hydro Road CP, Knocknsallagh Bridge, Lisleibane Trail Head, Lough Acoose North, Lough Acoose West, Lough Cappanlea OEC, Lough Caragh SW, Lough Fada N, Lough Reagh N, Maghanlawaun Bridia Valley, Shamrock Farmhouse B&B, Tomies Lough Leane NW

Summits & other features in area MacGillycuddy's Reeks:
Cen: Reeks West: Beenkeragh 1008.2m, Caher 1000m, Caher West Top 973.4m, Carrauntoohil 1038.6m, Cnoc Íochtair 746.3m, Hag's Tooth 662m, Knockbrinnea East Top 845.4m, Knockbrinnea West Top 852.2m, The Bones Peak 956.5m, Skregmore 847.7m, Stumpa Bharr na hAbhann 852.1m
E: Cnoc an Bhráca: Cnoc an Bhráca 728m, Cnoc na dTarbh 655m, Strickeen 440m
N: Reeks North: Knockbrack 425m, Knocknabrone Hill 353m, Skregbeg 573m
NW: Gortnagan: Gortnagan Beg 298m
SE: Reeks East: Brassel Mountain 575m, Cnoc an Chuillinn 954.6m, Cnoc an Chuillinn East Top 922.9m, Knocknapeasta 985.1m, Cnoc na Toinne 844.1m, Cruach Mhór 930.8m, Maolán Buí 968.9m, The Big Gun 939.9m
SW: Bridia: Beann Bhán 459.5m, Beendarrig 449.7m, Beann Dubh 450.5m

Note: this list of places may include island features such as summits, but not islands as such.
Rating graphic.
Carrauntoohil, 1,038.6m Mountain Corrán Tuathail A name in Irish,
Place Rating ..
(Ir. Corrán Tuathail [GE], 'Tuathal's sickle' [OSNB]) County Highpoint of Kerry in Munster province, in County Highpoint, Arderin, Vandeleur-Lynam, Irish Highest Hundred, Irish 900s Lists, Carrauntoohil is the highest mountain in Ireland. Carrauntoohil is the highest point in county Kerry.
Grid Reference V80363 84421, OS 1:50k mapsheet 78
Place visited by: 2036 members, recently by: Glengirl, RosieMc, farmerjoe1, lauracardiff, Nomad691, jellybean, MeabhTiernan, davidrenshaw, Muscles1960, eimirmaguire, endaodowd, claireod5, kieran117, rhw, purpleknight
I visited this place: NO (You need to be a logged-in member for this.)
Longitude: -9.742693, Latitude: 51.99945, Easting: 80363, Northing: 84421, Prominence: 1038.6m,  Isolation: 0.4km, Has trig pillar
ITM: 480339 584480
Bedrock type: Purple sandstone & siltstone, (Ballinskelligs Sandstone Formation)
Notes on name: Just as the summit of Ireland's highest mountain is often covered in mist, its name is shrouded in uncertainty. Unlike some lesser peaks, such as Mangerton or Croagh Patrick, it is not mentioned in any surviving early Irish texts. P.W. Joyce suggests that meaning of this name is 'inverted reaping hook' and that this sense can be appreciated from the middle of the Hag's Glen. He proposes that the reaping hook is inverted in the sense that it is convex rather than concave [Irish Names of Places, vol. i, p. 6]. The serrated ridges which run up the north face of Carrauntoohil are certainly amongst its most distinctive features and are therefore likely to have given name to the mountain. However, the image of a 'convex reaping-hook' is a very odd and complex one on which to base a place-name, and the use of tuathal to mean inverted, while found in dictionaries, seems to be without parallel in other Irish place-names. It seems more likely that the second element is simply the personal name 'Tuathal' as John O'Donovan believed. This forename was common in Medieval Ireland and is the basis of the surname Ó Tuathail (O'Toole). It also occurs in Lios Tuathail (Listowel, Co. Kerry) and Carraig Thuathail (Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork), which the Flanagans interpret in both cases as a personal name (Irish Place Names). Intriguigingly, one of the earliest accounts to mention Ireland's highest mountain, written by Isaac Weld in 1812, refers to it as 'Gheraun-tuel', which suggests that the first element was not corrán, but rather géarán, 'fang', which is found in the name of several other Kerry mountains. On the basis of this one reference, it is difficult to say whether this represents an earlier form of the name or whether it was a corruption. For further information on the name, see Paul Tempan, Some Notes on the Names of Six Kerry Mountains, JKAHS, ser. 2, vol. v (2005), 5-19.
  Short or GPS IDs, 6 char: Crnthl, 10 char: Crnthl

Gallery for Carrauntoohil (Corrán Tuathail) and surrounds
Summary for Carrauntoohil (Corrán Tuathail): Ireland’s highest – a steep-sided rocky cone in the western Reeks.
Summary created by markmjcampion, simon3, Harry Goodman 2023-08-16 16:22:04
   picture about Carrauntoohil (<em>Corrán Tuathail</em>)
Picture: Carrauntoohil from Knockbrinnae
Carrauntoohil when tackled by the recommended routes on a fine day is not the hardest or most dangerous hike. However, in bad weather it’s not always easy to find the routes as they are unmarked and easily lost amid rocks. So, best avoid it in those conditions. Also, the Devil’s Ladder is v eroded and is not recommended. Great 360 views. Be v careful in descending in mist.

N. Park at Cronins (V836 873) (charge) or at Lisleibane Lilybane (V82716 87317) (free). Follow a good track SW then across the Gaddagh River and on up between L. Gouragh and L. Callee towards the Devil's Ladder. At A (V81175 84079) take a ramp left up to the start of the Zig Zags B (V81477 84088). Take the winding track to the plateau C (V81240 83396). Turn right to cross Cnoc na Toinne and head to the col at D (V80679 83650). Go NW up the rocky cone following cairns along a good track to the top. [2.5 to 3 hrs]

W. Park at Hydro Rd (V772 871) and go up the steep Hydro Road to L. Iochtair. Go S and then SE up the long spur to Caher W Top, Caher and its 3rd top before dropping down SE and then E for a superb walk around the head of Coomloughra Glen. Follow a track on the right of the ridge E and then NE to the summit. [3hrs+] Return by way of ascent or if you’re ok with exposure return by way of Beenkeragh arete and then Skregmore, Cnoc Iochtair, L. Iochtair and the Hydro Road.

It's also possible to do all the reeks from Kate Kearney’s to Breanlee if you’ve a spare 10 hrs.

Notable tracks incl track/2580, track/2946 track/2304 and track/4370.
Member Comments for Carrauntoohil (Corrán Tuathail)
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   picture about Carrauntoohil (<em>Corrán Tuathail</em>)
Picture: Brocken Spectre from Summit of Carrauntoohil, (18th January, 2020 at 14:07)
Brocken Spectre
by Lauranna 31 May 2020
Brocken Spectre from Summit of Carrauntoohil in Winter Conditions Linkback:
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   picture about Carrauntoohil (<em>Corrán Tuathail</em>)
Picture: View from Lough Eighter
High times
by pplsgod 30 Jun 2010
I took on Carrauntoohil on the 25th June 2010 leading a group from the UK who were doing the five peaks challenge and attempting to do so within forty eight hours. I had never been up here before but I never let that stop me from exploring new horizons. Amongst the group of six walkers I was the only one with map and compass skills so I decided on a route via Caher as I have heard the Devils ladder route has become quite badly eroded in recent times. I also had some selfish reasons in choosing this route as I wanted to tick a few more peaks off my list at the same time

We started at Hydro Rd (V772 871) at the gate to the Hydro track. This track has a steep and punishing start having just jumped out of the car but it quickly warms the legs. Mercifully after maybe ten minutes of walking the track levels off as it turns South at approx E (V777 868). The track continues with Skregbeg (573m) and Skregmore (848m) on your left hand side before opening up at Lough Eighter and revealing the full view of Beenkeragh, Carrauntoohil and Caher (assuming the weather is clear that is)

After another hop over a locked gate we crossed a flat marshy section of ground before climbing onto the spur that would lead us directly up Caher. We got onto the spur at approx F (V776 857) before following it south-east all the way to Caher West top at G (V789 840). The last 500m of the spur is steep but thankfully the ground is quite good so progress should not be hindered. By the time we got to the first of the three Caher summits we were dipping in and out of the clouds. The fall away from the West top when heading for Caher in the clouds can be a little worrying if unsure of your bearings so care is definitely needed. The best approach would be to keep well to the right, we were fortunate however, just as I took a safe bearing the cloud cleared just enough for me to get an eyeshot of our target, a small gap in the wall, which seemed to settle the nerves of my fellow hikers

The walk to Caher from the West top is quick, a small amount of uphill climbing remains before the third highest summit in Ireland at 1 metre above 1000m. The small cairn at H (V792 838) is all that marks the top and as we were under some time pressure we did not hand around long either

Crossing the Caher ridge to Carrauntoohil was fantastic, some of the scenery that magically appeared from the cloud was breathtaking. There is a very noticeable track that leads across the ridge which makes navigation a lot easier. We were practically on the summit before we could see the cross marking it at I (V803 844), the cloud and wind had really picked up during the intervening time, so much so that we only took a few moments to take a few pictures and took off via the same route home. It was a very respectable five and a half hour round trip and a good start to the five peaks challenge for the other guys
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   picture about Carrauntoohil (<em>Corrán Tuathail</em>)
lewvalton on Carrauntoohil
by lewvalton 7 Jan 2008
Ridge up to Beenkeragh starting behind the great pillar of the Hag's Tooth (guide books we had call it the Hag's Tooth ridge) is a superb scramble. Go up to it via the steep grassy gully up to the right of the Tooth's base. Arete is longer and somewhat more testing than Brandon's Faha ridge, though perhaps slighly less exposed, but still overall within the same band of difficulty (for scramblers familiar with the UK grades it's a moderate Grade 2). The upper section breaks into two distinct ridges - we took the left hand one. More sustained scrambling here, though again not difficult. Views across to Carrauntoohil and back down to the Hag's Tooth are absolutely stupendous. Beenkeragh ridge to Carrauntoohil is much easier, though exposed if you choose to skyline it, and has all difficulties avoidable by path on the right until the large pinnacle towards the end. To skyline it is not as hard as it looks, otherwise is avoidable at mid height on the left (Coomloughra) flank. Again, works out much easier than first appears. Simple walk up to the summit from there. Magnificent views. Unlike mountains in, say, the Lake District, the great Kerry peaks rise in relative isolation unhemmed by other groups and the views, with the sea so near, are incredibly extensive - you really feel as if you're on the roof of the world. Descent via the hugely eroded Devil's Ladder truly awful. Book suggested 'The Bone' as better alternative. Couldn't be worse.

Why are the Reeks not part of the Killarney National Park? Linkback:
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milo on Carrauntoohil
by milo 29 Jul 2002
In about 12 ascents I've never used the Devil's Ladder. Reduce erosion damage by opting for one of the many safe alternatives. Linkback:
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The record breaking ascent/descent pt I
by Conor74 11 Aug 2011
Got this email from a friend who does the IMRA race up and down Carrauntoohil. It goes up the Lack Road, across to Curraghmore, on to Caher and then to Carrauntoohil. Oh and then back down again of course!

The Man of the Mountain by Jonathan Beverly
As featured in the September 2011 issue of Running Times Magazine

In 1988, the second year in the modern mountain running era that a race was run up the 1,039m peak, John Lenihan, a dairy farmer from the nearby hills , blew away the field and set a time of 71:43 for the round-trip to the cross atop and back, a time that has never been broken. Lenihan went on to win the race 14 times in a row and 19 times in all before retiring when the course was changed in 2010, only losing outright twice in that streak.

Lenihan wasn’t a newcomer to racing that first year in Carrauntoohil. “My first taste of mountain running was on Peel mountain in the isle of Mann in 1983 when I won the isle of Mann Easter athletics race to the summit and back,” he recalls. “I repeated this victory in 1985 and then came back to Ireland to win the Sligo warriors mountain race.” He remembers that race as significant because of the 1,000-pound prize purse and because he beat the then reigning world mountain champ Kenny Stewart. Lenihan went on to win the world mountain championship himself when it was held in Switzerland in 1991.

Lenihan recalls some of the more difficult years: “I broke my leg in October 1999 and was kept in hospital for a week, however two weeks later I resumed training each day doing laps of the field with my crutches. I got the cast off mid-December and I won the first race of the new millennium in Kerry on January 1st. I was very nervous facing the Carrauntoohil race in June 2000 as I hadn’t been past the accident site since it happened, as I approached the area on race day I had to focus with all my might to try and maintain my composure. That day it was a very mentally exhausting experience for me.”

On other difficult years, Lenihan recalls, “I was very sick one year with the flu but I can’t remember what year it was. I couldn’t make up my mind if I would compete or not and then I decided that I would go and see how I felt when I got there. I felt no better but decided I would start out in the race and see how I felt. After a mile or two warm-up, I remember standing under a hedge in the shade watching everyone warming up and I just wanting to go to bed. Many people tried to convince me that it was too dangerous to take part as I was feverish. Strangely enough, I managed to win that day but it was sheer torture and I think it took me weeks to recover. Linkback:
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