Four Peaks Challenge Walks

Complete the Four Peaks Challenge by climbing the highest mountain in each of the four provinces. Each year the club organises the Four Peaks Challenge Walks. This gives members the opportunity to climb the highest mountain in each of the four provinces. Members who complete all four mountains will receive the Four Peaks Challenge Certificate.

Four Peaks Challenge

Munster
Carrauntoohil – 1,038 metres (3,406 ft)

Leinster
Lugnaquilla –  925-metre (3,035 ft)

Connaught
Mweelrea –  814 metres (2,670 feet),

Ulster
Slieve Donard – 850-metre (2,790 ft)

See walk calendar for dates of these challenges.


Carrauntoohil

Carrauntoohil O'Sheas Gully

Carrauntoohil via O’Sheas Gully

Irish: Corrán Tuathail is the highest peak in Ireland and the first of the Four Peaks Challenge Walks. Located in County Kerry, it is 1,038 metres (3,406 ft) high and is the central peak of the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks range. The ridge northward leads to Ireland’s second-highest peak, Beenkeragh (1,010 m), while the ridge westward leads to the third-highest peak, Caher (1,001 m). Carrauntoohil overlooks three bowl-shaped valleys, each with its own lakes. To the east is Hag’s Glen or Coomcallee (Com Caillí, “hollow of the Cailleach”). To the west is Coomloughra (Com Luachra, “hollow of the rushes”).  Finally to the south is Curragh More (Currach Mór, “great marsh”).

A steel Christian cross, 5 metres (16 ft) tall, was erected on the summit in 1976 but was cut down by vandals in November 2014. Local volunteers re-erected the cross on Saturday, Nov. 29.

Carrauntoohil is classed as a Furth by the Scottish Mountaineering Club, i.e. a three thousander footer furth or “outside of” Scotland, which is why it is sometimes referred to as one of the Irish Munros.

The mountain is most often climbed from the north-east, along the Hag’s Glen. Then it is up the steep Devil’s Ladder to the col between Carrauntoohil and Cnoc na Toinne. From there it is a trudge north-west to the summit. The route has become more dangerous in recent years due to loose stones and crowding.[8] No special equipment is needed to climb the mountain, but caution is advised. Alternatively, one can walk the two other 1,000 m peaks in a “horseshoe” trip, starting from the west. The traverse from highest point to the second highest involves a light scramble.


Mweelrea

Mweelrea (from Irish Cnoc Maol Réidh, meaning “smooth bald hill”) is a mountain in County Mayo. It is the second of the Four Peaks Challenge Walks. With a height of 814 metres (2,670 feet), it is the highest point in the province of Connacht and the 34th highest in Ireland. The mountain overlooks Killary Harbour.

Four Peaks Challenge - Mweelrea

Mweelrea

Mweelrea is a mountain overlooking the Atlantic coast.  Because of this weather conditions can change very rapidly.  This poses particular challenges for inexperienced climbers or those who have limited navigation abilities.

From the east the mountain is well protected by outlying ridges and boggy ground as well as a cliff line to the east of the main summit. The easiest ascent is probably by starting on the coast to the west of the mountain and ascending gentle slopes, but even from this side climbers need to navigate carefully as cloud or mist can obscure the summit very rapidly. Access across land/farms may be a problem from this side however so climbers need to consult with local landowners before entering land there. The summit does provide stunning views of the surrounding area, including views of County Galway and Mayo, and the Atlantic Ocean.



Lugnaquilla

Lugnaquilla (from Irish: Log na Coille, meaning “hollow of the wood”) is a 925-metre (3,035 ft) tall mountain in County Wicklow, Ireland and the third of the Four Peaks Challenge Walks. 

It is the highest peak of the Wicklow Mountains range and the highest in the province of Leinster. It is the 13th highest peak in all Ireland. Informally referred to as one of the Irish Munros, it is classed as a Furth by the Scottish Mountaineering Club.

Views, on a clear day, extend east across the Irish Sea to the hills of the Llŷn Peninsula and mountains of Snowdonia in Wales, and west to the mountains of Munster.

Its proximity to Dublin ensures that it is a frequently climbed mountain. The three popular approaches are from Fenton’s Pub in the Glen of Imaal, Glenmalure and Aghavannagh with the shortest direct route from the Glen of Imaal via Camara Hill that skirts the military artillery range. This is a bulky mountain, with a large plateau-type summit, bounded on two sides by steep glacial corries called “North Prison” and “South Prison”.


Slieve Donard

Slieve Donard; from Irish: Sliabh Dónairt, meaning “Dónairt’s mountain”) is an 850-metre (2,790 ft) untain in County Down, Northern Ireland and the fourth and final of the Four Peaks Challenge Walks. Part of the Mourne Mountains, it is the highest peak in Northern Ireland and in the wider province of Ulster. It is also the 19th highest peak on the island of Ireland. The mountain sits near the town of Newcastle on the eastern coast of County Down, only 2 miles (3 km) from the Irish Sea.

The Mourne Wall – built in the early 20th century – runs up the western and southern slopes of the mountain, joining a small stone tower at the summit. Also on the summit are the remains of two prehistoric burial cairns. One of the cairns is the remains of the highest passage tomb in Ireland. In Irish mythology the mountain was associated with, and named after, the mythical figures Boirche and Slángha. It was later associated with, and named after, Saint Donard, who was said to have made the summit his hermitage. Up until the 1830s, people would climb the mountain as part of a yearly pilgrimage, which may have originally been a Lughnasadh ritual. Royal Engineers camped on the summit for four months in 1826 as part of the Ordnance Survey’s Principal Triangulation.