Explore the best nature trips trails in Ireland with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

I was dead set on knocking this out while I was in Ireland and staying in Killarney. Originally I had wanted to do the horseshoe route to the east but the threat of high winds and rains did not make for a good mix on the ridge lines. The weather forecast was looking pretty miserable and included thunderstorms on the only day I would have a chance. To beat the weather I decided to be at the trail head around 4:30 am, i wanted 3:30 am but I couldn't find a taxi willing to take me out there that early (~30 euros). There are no real shuttles to the trail head at Cronin's Yard. After arriving at Cronin's Yard I headed out along the well worn rocky trail. The trail gently rises from the yard to the base of the mountain where the Devil's Ladder begins. The first light of day was already visible around 4:45 am as I left the yard. Fortunately the clouds were up near the peak and the valley was visible. Even with it raining and blowing sideways the unbelievable beauty of the lush green valley and waterfalls were a knockout. After passing between the two lakes I hit the base of the ladder and began the ascent. The devils ladder is essentially a steep chute filled with scree, talus and running water. Although the elevation and gain remind me of the Appalachians, the rugged terrain and slopes reminded me of the Rockies but covered in grass. The loose scree in the ladder would have been interesting on a dry day but the running stream that zig zagged back and forth really loosened up the material. I spent most of the climb navigating back and forth looking for larger rocks to scramble around on and to stay out of the water. I could definitely see why people regularly get hurt and even die. There are several spots where a bad foothold could result in a short fall and then a long cascading tumble. After about 45 minutes I popped out at the saddle to a herd of sheep, heavy sideways rain and high winds (~40 mph gusts). Visibility was about 50 feet (16 m) and I ended up following a sheep path to the summit. The GPS app I had made a world of difference keeping me headed towards the summit. I found the iconic cross around 6:45 am, took picture and headed down. I considered returning via Shea's but the weather was just too bad. On the way down I found the actual trail and followed it back to the ladder and descended. Descent was much more treacherous and being alone I was very careful. Overall I made it up and down in around 4:15 hours which included putting on and off jackets and rain gear.

Once back to the yard I was able to see several memorials to people who had lost their lives. There is also a nice monument to Gerard McDonnell who was the first Irishmen to summit K2, but lost his life on descent helping other distressed climbers (see The Summit documentary). I did run into three very nice french hikers that had stayed at the yard the night before and we were able to split the taxi fair back to Killarney, nice.

Very nice place and a little bit challenging to pick the right way, but definitely worth the visit!

My wife and I went to Ireland just for this trail. We were able to complete it in 7 days, staying at B&Bs each night along the way. We took the path from South to North, however, starting our trek in Clonegal and ending at Marlay Park in Dublin. I am glad we took this direction, as it made the trail get more interesting the farther we got in. The southern section of the trail is mostly farm land with trails through pine woods. There are quite a few stretches where we were walking on roads with cars periodically whizzing past us. In my opinion, this was the best way to experience a new country; walking through it. The countryside is gorgeous, as are the wooded areas. We did not see too many other walkers until we got near Glendalough, so that was nice as well. I do think I assumed it was going to be easier than it was. Some of the uphill stretches are much more steep than some of the mountain hikes near Los Angeles. Also, we carried all of our items in our packs, and if I could do it over again, I would have brought less clothing. I would have brought maybe 2 outfits of athletic materials that I could wash in the sink and dry overnight. My pack was about 30lb, and after 12-13 miles each day, it got pretty cumbersome.

lovely walk

The first part of this hike is pretty easy, walking through the country side and in between the beautiful lakes. The devil's ladder portion, however, is the toughest hike I've done! The views on both portions are breathtaking I would highly recommend it.

nature trips
9 months ago

Brilliant spot! My two girls 6 and 4 really enjoyed the adventurous walk along side the beautiful waterfalls.

walking
11 months ago

My own favourite destination here is the native woodland at the end of the point,especially in May, bluebells time. However, people with me are always fascinated by the remains of the Norman settlement. The Lough Ree waterside part of the walk near the start is very scenic. A visit to the old medieval hospital site also very interesting.

Three recent downsides. One is the signage has become damaged or even vanished. Two, some of the direction markers have gone from the wooded area so you may go off trail. Three, due to irresponsibility of dog owners there is a total ban on dogs now. If you are with a dog, even small dog, you will be seen and escorted off of the trail.

on Kilkee Strand Line

walking
Friday, August 07, 2015

Spectacular cliff walks

on Kilkee Strand Line

Thursday, August 06, 2015

on Kilkee Strand Line

walking
Tuesday, August 04, 2015