They say the toughest climbs lead to the best rewards, and that is definitely true for the beast that is Galtymore in County Tipperary. They also say that there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing choices, we may agree to disagree on this one! Standing at 919 metres, Galtymore is the highest peak for both Tipperary and Limerick, which for a summit chaser like me, is double bang for your buck. This mountain, though rewarding, is not without its challenges. I had this summit on my horizon for quite some time but felt that it would be safer to tackle in a group of more experienced mountaineers than I! After a glorious battle with the beast, we managed to champion our way to the Tip of Tipperary (pun intended), and here’s what I have taken away from the feat, so that you can head into your battle with guns blazing.
Our group set off on the Galtymore to Cush Mountain loop, which can be found easily through the Hiiker app. This hike is labelled as difficult to extremely difficult, and deservedly so. We set off on a noticeably murky Sunday morning, in full knowledge that the weather was going to be less than optimum for a leisurely hike. Despite this, we mustered our courage and set off. The initial trail, beginning at the Galtymore North Car Park, was well gravelled and easy to follow, however I would recommend having a map to hand as there aren’t many signposts and there won’t be many people along the way to ask for directions. There were plenty of spaces in the car park for cars, vans, and campers, which was a welcome sight.
What you will need:
The terrain itself, as mentioned already, was kind at the beginning. However, when you cross the steps over the fence you will soon realise that your runners are no longer going to cut it. For this reason, I would recommend comfortable hiking boots or trail shoes. On the particular day we went, the terrain was incredibly wet and muddy in places, meaning grip was going to be an issue. Be prepared for wet weather and blustery conditions, as these cannot be avoided at such an elevation, the wind will take your breath, (and jacket), away if you’re not prepared! In summary – check your weather app before you leave!
Traffic on trail:
As this is a tricky enough trail, you more than likely won’t expect to meet too many large groups of people on your journey, apart from other experienced hiking groups. This implies that this trail would not be recommended for small children or strollers. As well as no children, this trail also has a no dog policy. There are sheep roaming freely on the entire route, so unless you are prepared to hold on to your pup’s lead 100% of the time, it would be best to leave them at home for this one!
The end of the road:
This was an incredible trail from beginning to end, but definitely not one for the faint hearted. It is a challenging hike with a very sleep incline at the peak, which would pose difficulty to anyone will little experience. Despite this, I would still recommend giving it a go, and turning back wherever you feel your peak is! Take your time, pace yourself, and bring plenty of snacks!
“I took the road less travelled by and that has made all the difference” – Robert Frost