From Killarney, take signposts to Kenmare (the Ring of Kerry route) and at Moll’s Gap take the signposts for Sneem. Keep on the main road, passing Boughil, Cnoc na gCapall, Bascadh and Knocklomena on your right, through one set of crossroads about 6 or 7 miles from Moll’s Gap (you will see the sign for the Blackwater Tavern, of which more below), passsed another turn off to the right that leads to Ballaghbeama. Knocknagullion is the mountain in front and to the left. Drive past it, there are a few places you can park on the opposite side of the road, and a large area for parking just as one goes over its shoulder and is looking down towards the Tahilla/Sneem area. As you pass, keep an eye out for the very distinct fence that runs up its north flank. You will be following this up. Park car and walk back a few hundred metres beyond a small forestry to anywhere around GrtGow Wd (V75180 70730)
, and leave road. You may have to skirt a small hillock or two but the fence you passed earlier should become obvious pretty quickly. After that it’s a very straightforward but pretty joyless slog across a bog for 40 or 50 mins following the fence, might be a bit wet in places. There are two distinct summits, go over spot height 405 and across another boggy area (watch out, there is bog burst that can be a bit sticky) to a trig point at 411.
Great views down across Kenmare Bay and towards Sneem on one side and Blackwater/Templenoe on the other, which latter is the parish that wraps around the mountain to the north and goes right up to Ballaghbeama. Sneem was the home of Steve Crusher Casey, former world heavyweight wrestling champion, William Melville, the first head of MI5 and one of a few who stand accused of being the inspiration behind James Bond, and former President Cearbhall O’Dalaigh. Blackwater/Templenoe has the footballing Spillane Brothers, the last Irish Wimbledon winner (check out my review on Mullaghanattin), and of course Big Bertha, the oldest cow in the world and the one who fired out (is that the veterinary term?) the most calves. Now deceased, she lived on a farm to your north, under Mullaghanattin, and her death was one hell of a do in the Blackwater Tavern. The hill on the sea side is Doon, and I had spent a memorable night on its slopes years ago at, of all things, a rave – come on, the topic title was surely a giveaway for any others here born in 1974 or thereabouts!
The real treat is to your north, though the trek isn’t the greatest the view of the full length of the Dunkerrons makes it worthwhile. You can clearly see all the giants of the range, and the deep cooms and valleys that scar them. The walk back down is 15/20 minutes. Linkback: mountainviews.ie/summit/769/comment/6489/