Photo of hillwalkers taking a break and admiring the view. Courtesy of the Galtee Walking Club
Photo of Arboreal Rhododendrons (trees as opposed to the usual bushes) on the track to the youth hostel in Glengarra Wood, Cahir, County Tipperary. Photo by Brendan Davis
Photo of the River Suir along the Coronation Walk. Photo, Brendan Davis
Photo of Coumshingaun Cwm and Lake. 365 metres from the top to the lake and said to be the most perfectly formed mountain cwm in Europe. Photo, Brendan Davis
Correct spelling for the Galty or the Galtee Mountains? - there isn't one! There is about an equal use of the two spellings but it is fairly common to spell the highest peak 'Galtymore' and refer to the overall range as the 'Galtees'.

Walking In and Around Cahir

Cahir is an ideal central location for walking enthusiasts. There are three major mountain ranges nearby, The Galty Mountains, The Knockmealdowns and The Comeraghs, plus the solitary and majestic Slievenamon.

The Galty Mountains

The Galty Mountains (also spelt Galtee) are within a 10 minute drive from Cahir. At 919m (3015 feet) Galtymore is the highest inland peak in Ireland (i.e. not in a coastal range) and is very popular among hill walkers. It has a distinctive double summit and is very steep on the north side. This peak is a good day’s climb, especialy if you take in its smaller neighbour Galtybeg.

The Knockmealdown Mountains

lie on the Tipperary/Waterford border. The best known part of this range is ‘The Vee’, so called because of the V shaped gap in the mountains. The Vee is a 20 minute drive from Cahir. From Cahir take the R668 road to Clogheen. There are a number of parking places on this road which provide great views of the surrounding countryside (see photo on P14) as well as a mountain lake known as Bay Lough. Access for walking is easy. There are a number of roads through the mountains and the Knockmealdowns also contain several waymarked walking routes. The highest point is Knockmealdown mountain at 794 metres (2605 feet). On the southern side of the mountain there is a Cistercian monastery known as Mount Melleray.

The Comeragh Mountains...

where some of the finest examples of corrie lakes in Europe can be found, are within 25 minutes drive. The word Comeragh comes from Coumarach which means ‘full of hollows, glacial in origin’. The Welsh word ‘cwm’, pronounced ‘coum’, is the more internationally used term for these hanging valleys.

Slievenamon

the 721m (2365 foot) ‘maiden’s mountain’, is famed in songs, poems, prose and the history of Ireland. On a fine day it provides a spectacular three-hundred and sixty degree view.

Way-marked Trails

Long-distance trails abound in these mountains (go to www.walkireland.ie for more details). These include the East Munster Way, which is part of the coast to coast path from Dublin to Kerry and St Declan’s Way, which follows the footsteps of St Patrick from Cashel to Ardmore. The Tipperary Heritage Trail, which has been developed in the last few years, goes from The Vee to Cashel. This brings walkers to many heritage sites along the way and includes lots of information about these sites.
The Ballyhoura Way is an 80km (50 mile), long distance walking trail. It is divided into 7 sections each representing a half days walking. The closest section to Cahir is Lisvernane to Tipperary town.
The Glen of Aherlow is a lush valley where the River Aherlow runs between the Galty Mountains and the wooded ridge of Slievenamuck. Bounded by the rural villages of Bansha and Galbally, the Glen was historically an important pass between Limerick and Tipperary. Two trails have been developed, one starting at Christ the King statue viewing area (located on the R664 out of Tipperary town) and one at Lisvernane. There are two marked lake walks to Lake Muskry and Lake Curra.

 

Suggested Walks

Swiss Cottage Walk (Coronation Walk)

Riverside Walk, 4.0km (2.5 miles). Grade: Easy
From Cahir Castle Car Park, follow the path southwards (downriver) to the Swiss Cottage and return by the same route. The site was once part of the Butler-Charteris Estate; the family named it for the coronation of George IV in 1821, in whose inner circle they socialised. This walk runs beside the River Suir and is surrounded by native broadleaf woodland. Planted from the 1790’s, mature beech, oak, Spanish chestnut, sycamore, laurel, rhododendrons and elder can be seen. The area teems with wildlife. Swans, duck and cormorants are common, as well as red squirrel, pheasant and woodcock.

Millenium Trail—Glengarra Wood

7km (4.4miles) Grade: Medium.
Glengarra Wood is situated 13km (8 miles) west of Cahir town on the R639. The woods extend upwards on the southern slopes of the Galty mountains. Parts of the woodland have been developed to cater for visitors. The facilities provided include car parking, log bridges, picnic tables, and information boards providing the names of the different tree species, etc. There are many fine specimen trees, including the giant Californian Redwood, which were planted during the time when the area was part of the Viscount Lismore (Shanbally Castle) estate. In the early summer, the rhododendron flowers make a fine display. The track can be muddy in places. At the half-way point it is necessary to ford a stream. Walkers can choose to do this or retrace their steps back to the carpark.

Galtymore from the South

Grade: Moderately hard. Can be done in 4-5 hours at a brisk pace.
The approach to the mountain from the south side on the Black Road provides a panoramic vista of the mountain landscape. The gradual nature of the approach makes the ascent relatively straightforward for a climb to 919m (3015 feet). This area is covered in OS Discovery Series Map 74. From Cahir, take the R639 in the direction of Cork. Follow signs for Kilcoran Lodge or Skeheenarinky. Take a turning on your right GR(9070 1760) which has a signpost for Galtymore. Drive straight along this road for about 3.5km until it ends in a small car park GR(8930 2035).
For detailed climbing directions please see…

www.munsterhillwalks.com

For more information Ordnance Survey maps 74 (for the Galty and Knockmealdown mountains) and 75 (for the Comeraghs) are the best option for rambling and also for driving on the back roads. These can also be ordered from www.osi.ie/en/starticle/discovery-series.aspx
National Waymarked Ways offer walkers about 3,000 km of marked walking routes throughout Ireland. There is a very useful interactive map at www.walkireland.ie

Local walking clubs…

www.peaksmcclonmel.ie and www.galteewalkingclub.ie both welcome guest walkers. They generally meet on Sundays.

Coillte, Ireland’s forestry company, manages many hiking trails near Cahir. Search for trails on www.coillteoutdoors.ie

Safety on Mountains

Hill walking can be dangerous in any country, and Ireland is no exception. Because the mountains can control the weather the conditions can change very rapidly and turn a summer stroll into an exercise in survival. Always go well prepared with good boots, waterproofs, an extra fleece, food and drink. Most important on our mountains is good navigational skills so carry a map and a compass and know how to use them. We only have 1:50,000 scale maps which do not show the detail of the 1:25,000 scale maps you might be used to. Once off the beaten tracks and the access paths there are few (assume none) direction markers or cairns to mark a route.

A GPS unit is always useful but always carry a compass also. Don't forget to set your GPS to the Irish Datum and the Irish Grid system. If you are not familiar with grid systems this is explained on all OSI (Ordnance Survey Ireland) Discovery Series Maps—it is very easy.

Always let someone know your planned route and expected return time. Do not rely on a mobile phone (cell-phone) for communications.

If you are in any doubt about your ability and experience we would recommend that you contact one of the walking clubs mentioned above.

Photo of Galtymore and Galtybeg from the Knockmealdowns. Photo by Brendan Davis
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Photo. On the Coronation walk headed back to Cahir from the Swiss Cottage. Photo, Brendan Davis
Photo of the Dovecote near the start of the Coronation walk, between the Castle car-park and the car-park behind Cahir House Hotel. Photo, Brendan Davis
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