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Start Point: Glen of Aherlow
There’s something special about hiking to the highest point in a county. Like reaching the summit of Lugnaquilla – Wicklow’s highest mountain or Mweelrea – The tippy top of Mayo. But there’s something even more special about reaching the highest point in two counties!
Galtymore is both the Highest point in Tipperary and Limerick. All this depends on the side you walk up, of course. You can’t simply use the Tipperary side to claim you climbed to the top of Limerick. This is sacrilege. But you can still claim the rewarding views over both counties when you reach the 918m summit.
The Galty Mountains are a gem in the Southwest midlands. The 24 peaks tower over nearby towns like Cahir and the spectacular Glen of Aherlow. Galtymore stands proud as the leader of the pack and one of Ireland’s highest peaks. This is definitely a peak to bag this season!
There are many routes up Galtymore. And if you want to claim one for Tipp, this 12km loop trail will certainly make the county proud! By no means the easiest route up, this will take (on average) about 7 hours to walk (including breaks).
Setting out from the picturesque Glen of Aherlow, you’ll follow the Lough Curra trail to the south veering west. This forest path will slowly ascend to a clearing where you’ll be reacquainted with the view of the climb ahead. This is an ideal spot to stop for a bit of water and a pre-climb snack.
The climb will begin to become steeper and you will reach a fork in the path. Keep right here to continue to the ridge of Slievecushnabinna, overlooking Lough Curra. There are steep edges here so be sure to stay clear from them, especially on a windy day. The prevailing winds are usually stronger in this part of the country, so be prepared!
Soon after a gradual climb from the ridge, you will reach the highest point in Tipperary (and Limerick). With views over both counties and over to Cork on a clear day, it is a sight worth the climb it took to get there.
If you’re bagging peaks, then this route still has more to offer. As you descend the opposite side of Galtymore, you’ll reach the saddle of Galtybeg (the little sibling) and climb its summit at 799m. You’ll then drop a good bit further down before another climb to the top of Cush mountain at 641m. This peak will give you an excellent view of the work you have just done and the remainder of the trail will be a splendid highlight reel as you descend to the car park.
This is mostly a well-marked trail. The forest path at the beginning is well walked and is mostly gravel but can be stoney in parts. As you ascend the open mountain you will notice the ground becoming softer. If it has been raining in the previous days, be prepared for boggy conditions. Over-ankle boots are recommended with Gaiters on this trail.
The area from where you start is quaint and quite rural. You won’t find many cafés here. But you are treated to natural wonder. Just behind you at the start point is the Glen of Aherlow and the nearby Balyhoura mountains.
The nearby towns of Tipperary town, Cahir and Mitchelstown are the best places to drop in for your post-hike treat.
There are a plethora of long distance trails nearby that offer amazing views of the Galty mountains, such as the Ballyhoura Way, The Tipperary Herritage way and the East munster way.
Weather is always going to be a factor, wherever you go in Ireland. But it is always wise to pay extra attention to mountains like the Galtys. The Wind and rain here can be a force to be reckoned with. Be sure to wear (or at least pack) waterproofs.
From this starting point, there are no shops or anywhere to supply yourself before the hike, so make sure that you pack what you need from home or in one of the nearby towns.
This is a particularly strenuous hike. We wouldn’t recommend this hike for small kids. And dogs are not allowed on this trail.
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