The highest mountain outside of the McGillicuddy Reeks, Mount Brandon is one of Ireland’s greatest natural wonders and a wonderful excursion to incorporate into your Dingle Peninsula Day Tour. Although technically Carrauntoohil is Ireland’s highest peak, Mount Brandon is Ireland’s highest ascent as, unlike Carraun, it begins at sea level. Situated at the heart of the Dingle Peninsula and overlooking the Atlantic, this 3,123 foot mountain has everything. For experienced climbers, it presents a challenge which may be what you’re looking for if the stroll up Torc Mountain doesn’t adequately challenge you, and for first timers, there is an abundance of clearly laid out and accessible trails which meander up the soft slopes of the mountain. If you’re lucky enough to climb Brandon on a clear day, the view is truly breathtaking.

All you need to take on this challenge is a good pair of boots and a sense of adventure. The beautiful Brandon Hostel is situated at the foot of the mountain and is owned a by the friendly German honorary resident of Brandon, Eco. After a hearty breakfast (you’ll need it) you’ll walk through a series of fields which slowly turn into slopes, which slowly turn into the west face of the mountain, which on clear days you can see all the way from Dingle Bay, a spectacular addition to your Dingle Day Tour.

On your way up you’re bound to bump into a few friendly mountain goats, who’ve now made Brandon their home, and their presence only adds to the magical serenity on Brandon. Surely a dream for anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of big city life for a few days. Once you reach the peak, you’re so high up that you can immediately see where the coast stops becoming mountainous and in the distance you just about make out where the hills drop and where the rich fields of County Kerry begin. The feeling of awe one experiences is something that is very difficult to put into words.

Once you finish your descent (bear in mind to climb Brandon you should start early so as not to be coming down in the dark), you’ll have worked up quite an appetite. If you fancy a drive, head into Dingle and sample the Ireland’s finest seafood in Out of the Blue, or in Doyle’s. Or, if you’d like to stay near Brandon, pop into The Gallery in the Brandon House Hotel, and then head to O’ Toole’s for a pint and some ceol agus craic.
Ronan Deasy

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