Ridge of the Reeks: A Trek Through Killarney’s Peaks and Valleys




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Nestled amidst the sprawling beauty of Killarney is one of its most revered trails, the Ridge of the Reeks. This expedition isn’t just a hike; it’s an immersive experience into the heart of Ireland’s breathtaking landscape.

Quick Summary

DetailsRidge of the Reeks
Length of Hike:Approx. 12 km
Duration:Approx. 7-8 hours
Starting Point:Cronin’s Yard, Hags Glen
Ending Point:Cronin’s Yard Tea Rooms
Highest Point:Cnoc na Péiste Ridge, 988m
Suitable For:Experienced Walkers
Trail Type:Loop (beginning and ending at the same location)
Best Time to Hike:Summer
Notable Sights:Lough Cummeenapeasta, Grotto, ‘Big Gun’, Cnoc na Péiste Ridge, Maolán Buí, ‘The Bone’
Facilities:Tea rooms available at Cronin’s Yard
Packing Essentials:Sturdy hiking boots, water, snacks, weather-appropriate clothing, map, first aid kit, and a charged mobile phone.
Historical Significance:Site of a World War I plane crash; remnants still visible.

A Historic Beginning

Your journey kicks off at Cronin’s Yard, a known haven for explorers and the official threshold to the enchanting Hags Glen. As you start, you can’t help but feel the weight of countless stories from travelers who’ve tread this path before.

Upon reaching Cruach Mór, which stands robustly at 932m, you’re rewarded with views that are nothing short of mesmerizing. Yet, amidst this natural beauty lies a somber tale. Lough Cummeenapeasta whispers of a past marred by the World War I tragedy, where a downed Army Air Force plane remains as an enduring memorial. This juxtaposition of serene nature and poignant history adds depth to your journey.

Challenges and Triumphs

The trail ahead promises challenges. The ascent to the iconic Grotto tests your mettle, but as you climb higher, the world below unfurls in a stunning panorama. For the adventurers with a bit more courage in their backpack, the optional climb of the ‘Big Gun’ awaits. Here, the winds might whisper tales of ancient Irish lore as you scale the weather-beaten rocks.

But, perhaps the crowning glory is the summit of Cnoc na Péiste Ridge. At 988m, it feels as if you’re on top of the world. The awe-inspiring view encompasses the Black Valley’s mystique, Purple Mountain’s grandeur, the tranquil Lakes of Killarney, the sprawling expanse of Kenmare Bay, and the rugged horizon of MacGillycuddy’s Reeks.

A Reflective Descent

The descent is no less eventful. Making your way to Maolán Buí, which stands tall at 973m, you’re led through ‘The Bone’, a path that seems to blend history with nature seamlessly. Views of landmarks like Carrauntoohil and Beenkeragh stand as silent spectators, watching over Loch Caillí and Loch Gabhrach’s placid waters.

As the trail circles back to its origin, the Cronin’s Yard Tea Rooms beckon. It’s more than just a place to rest—it’s a moment of reflection. Over a comforting cuppa, travelers share tales, recount challenges, and revel in shared experiences.

Final Thoughts

The Ridge of the Reeks isn’t merely a trail; it’s a journey through time, nature, and oneself. Each step holds a story, each view paints a memory, and each challenge faced carves a deeper sense of accomplishment. When in Killarney, this is an adventure that promises to linger in your heart and mind long after your boots have brushed off the trail’s dust.

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