Day three: Carrauntoohil – Dingle Peninsula
The next morning we got up really early, as we had a few things on our list that we were hoping to tick off on that first day; the first being reaching the top of Carrauntoohil, Ireland’s tallest mountain. After talking to the locals the night before we weren’t that confident about the upcoming hike, as both the guidebooks that we read and the locals had told us that it would be too difficult to get to the summit, and that only experienced climbers should make the route. We were told that we’d definitely need a guided tour to reach the top safely.
Just left of the summit you can see a bright vertical line, which over generations has earned the name ‘the Devil’s Ladder’. We were told that by no means we should attempt to climb up the steep slope to reach the top, and if we wanted to reach the top we should make the eight-hour trek all the way around it; this supposedly being the safest way to scale the mountain. As we approached the trail, neither of us thought that it looked too difficult, and so we threw caution to the wind and gave it a try. If it was too difficult we were still able to turn around even if it meant not reaching the top, which would be disappointing, but not a disaster. Despite hearing perilous stories of failed attempts at scaling the mountain, and multiple warnings about how difficult it could be, we climbed the Devils Ladder without problem and reached the summit. We also made it back down over the Zig Zags and back to the carpark in about four hours, finishing the trail in half the time that we were told we’d need. Though it wasn’t the easiest ascent, with good weather conditions and as fairly experienced hikers, we were able to accomplish it with enough time to tick off the next point on our list.
As we had our first accomplishment in the rear-view mirrors, we headed straight to the coast. While taking a short break at Inch Beach on the Dingle Peninsula, we encountered another kind of 80’s German! Shortly after, we headed our way to the well known Slea Head viewpoint and we drove around the Dingle Curve; one continuous road along some of the most beautiful cliffs of Ireland. After a long but enriching first day filled with hiking and driving, we collapsed onto our beds and got some rest before day four.