Galtee Mountain Hike

Galtymore is easily accessed from the M7 motorway, it is an hour from Cork city and 2 hours from South Dublin. Take exit 12 of the M7 and drive 1 Km to the village of Kilbeheny. From Kilbeheny drive north on the R639 for 5Km. Turn left at the crossroads, there is a brown sign “Slí Chnoc Mór na nGaiblte / Galtymore climb” marking the junction. Drive 3Km to the end of this road.

There is a small carpark at the beginning of the hike. The carpark is marked on google maps as the Galty Climb carpark. Park with consideration to the local landowners, the road is an access road to a farm and it is in constant use.

 

From the carpark take the path leading northwards through a narrow laneway. After 100 meters you will pass through the first of two gates. The path, known as the Black Road, continues for about 2.5Km. After passing through the gate the path widens and continues under about a dozen beach trees. It is important that you keep to the path and not walk cross the fields, which often have cattle grazing in them.

Follow the path as it rises gently uphill, after 10 minutes you will pass through a second gate. The path continues uphill, ahead to the left you will be able to see Galtymore. Galtymore has long concave top known as Dawsons Table. Soon you will also be able to see a smaller mountain to its right, this is Galtybeg.

As you pass on the western side of Knockeenatoung the path begins to flatten. After about 250 meters the peak of Greenane to the east will now also be in view. To your right you will see an area of flat ground with a stone monument. The monument, which has recently been restored, was erected in memory of four members of the Abbeyshule Aero Club who died when their small aircraft crashed into the mountain close to this spot in 1976.  

From the monument continue uphill on the path. The path cuts back right and the path again flattens, soon you will reach a Y junction in the path. The junction is marked by a large cairn, from where you will be able to see Galtymore and Galtybeg. The junction is about 1 hours walking from the carpark.

From the junction take the left-hand branch of the path for about 100 meters Galltymore will be straight ahead and Galtybeg will be to your right. Before the path peters out, turn right and walk towards Galtybeg on a wide section of stony ground. Before the gradient of the ground up to Galtybeg increases, turn left and aim for the Col (the low point) between Galtymore and Galtybeg. Follow one the indistinct tracks running along the lower slopes of Galtybeg towards the Col.

In wet weather the ground here is particularly boggy and in poor visibility the tracks may be hard to find. As you approach the Col, find a safe place to step down off the turf bank to the solid ground where the turf has been washed away. Walk up towards the highpoint of the Col. From the Col you will see the cliffs on the North face of Galtymore.

Care is required here as there is a steep drop down to the corrie lake, Lough Dineen, below. From the Col follow the curve of the ground along the top of a gully running up from lough Dineen and then follow a well-worn path up towards Galtymore. The path runs close to the cliffs, so extreme care is required here.  

Roughly halfway up the path, before the path runs out and just after passing the top of an obvious gully to your right, veer to your left and come of the path. Continue to walk uphill, the ground on the second half is steeper but it has some natural steps to help you on your way up Galtymore.

After about 35 minutes of leaving the col (2 hours walking from the carpark) the ground eases as you reach the eastern summit of Galtymore. This is marked by a cairn and a trig point; the western summit is also marked by a cairn, in the middle of the concave plateau there is a white Celtic Cross.  There are panoramic views from the summit, on a clear day you can see Carrauntoohil to west, the Glen of Aherlow and the Golden vale of Limerick to the North, the Wicklow mountains to the east and Knockmealdown and Commeraghs to the Southeast. The summit is strewn with large boulders made up of the distinctive sandstone conglomerate rock local to the area.

On the decent off Galtymore take care to descend on the same route you came up. Firstly, aim for the Col between Galtymore and Galtybeg. At the col there is the option to climb Galtybeg or alternatively return to the Black Road by taking the path across the lower face of Galtybeg to the large stone cairn at the Y junction.

If you are climbing Galtybeg, from the Col with your back to Galtymore and lough Dineen follow the path up the ridge in front of you. This leads to Galtybeg, which is 799M high and has a short but dramatic ridge. At approximately the midpoint of the summit turn to your right to descend the southern slope of Galtybeg.  There is an indistinct track running down the mountain, aim for the stone cairn in the Y junction of the black road.  

From the Cairn follow the path back to the car. On the walk back to the carpark stay on the path, this will help prevent erosion of the mountain and help prevent damaging the farmers’ fields.