at 1,039 metres, is Ireland’s highest mountain and, weather permitting, offers
truly memorable vistas, the horizon punctuated by lakes, glens or more peaks.
IRELAND may be known for every kind of weather in a
single day – but in the county of Kerry you get every type of scenery as well.
Not that any Instagram fiend will have time to raise their camera phone to the breathtaking backdrops, as there’s far too much adrenaline-junkie fun to get through.
Entrepid climbers scale Caher Ridge in the Reeks District in Ireland.
The area of MacGillycuddy’s Reeks, once blandly
marketed as Mid Kerry, has now been repackaged as the Reeks District. It’s a
direct move to challenge the other similar UK “districts” — and is now trading
hard on its wild surfing, climbing, mountain biking and kayaking, with package
With the Ring Of Kerry’s unforgettable scenery only a Ryanair hop away from Luton, you wonder why it has not already had top billing.
And if you’ve overindulged in the local whiskey and Guinness by night, no place has more hangover cures than MacGillycuddy’s Reeks.
Every day you can enjoy a blast of mountain air, whether on a hike or having a bracing swim in a lake. There is also the free spirit of the locals who are quick to discuss legends or advise on a possible lock-in in the main town of Killorglin.
Sun man Andy Jones cycles in the Gap of Dunloe and takes in the breathtaking scenery
While the UK has all sorts of competing attractions with busloads of visitors, in the overlooked Reeks you don’t have to jostle for space or look for a parking spot.
At the dramatic Inch coast, Kingdom Waves offers group surf sessions for 30 euros (£26) per person per hour. And unlike a lot of UK surfing spots, you aren’t shoulder to shoulder with other surfers. Once you have conquered the peaks of the waves, you can switch to other heights.
Climbs are not for amateur walkers, but offer space and time to enjoy the views
Sun man Andy Jones scales mountains and enjoys open air in Ireland
Carrauntoohil, at 1,039 metres, is Ireland’s highest mountain and, weather permitting, offers truly memorable vistas, the horizon punctuated by lakes, glens or more peaks.
It is definitely not for the amateur walker. For
us, it was a seven-and-a-half-hour climb with long periods of scrambling. Your
boots will shift on falling scree one minute and be ankle deep in bog the next.
The trek requires strength and experience beyond standard rambling.
From the top though, the views are sure to dull any hard-earned aches.
Kingdom Waves offers group surf sessions for 30 euros and plenty of opportunities for water sports
If your calves can still carry you, a cycle ride through the Gap of Dunloe is a must. Killorglin Bicycle Tours will drop your bike to the top of the peaks, allowing you to freewheel into the valleys and circumvent the Caragh Lake. As the valley rolls into shades of green and flashes of bright orange gorse, your city life could not feel further away.
At Carrig Country House, the serenity of the Caragh Lake begs to be interrupted with a morning dip, provided you can handle the chill of the water that runs directly from the snowbound peaks of the Reeks. The Caragh Lake also hosts gentle, beginner kayaking through the Cappanalea Outdoor Training Centre, though white water rafting in other areas is also available.
Go: Reeks District
GETTING/STAYING THERE: Fly from Luton or Stansted to Kerry Airport with Ryanair from £14.99 one-way. See ryanair.com.
Double rooms at Carrig Country House & Restaurant are from €150 (£130) a night. See carrighouse.com.
OUT & ABOUT: A guided 12km hike in the Coumloughra Horseshoe (Ireland’s three highest mountains – Beenkeragh 1,010m, Carrauntoohil 1,039m and Caher 1,001m) is from €75 (£65) pp. See kerryclimbing.ie.
Half-day guided cycling tours are from €50 (£43) pp. See killorglingeneralcycles.com.
A day’s kayaking on Caragh Lake is from €65 (£56) pp. See cappanalea.ie.
MORE INFO: See reeksdistrict.com.
You can see the peaks reflected in the still waters and the only spectators are the goats along the bank.
If this seems too much like peace and quiet, the
town of Killorglin is a good spot for dinner and drinks.