For hikers and mountaineers visiting the west of Ireland, Mount Brandon on Dingles Peninsula is a place you must visit.
Not only will you enjoy the challenge of the mountain itself, but we hope you will be inspired by the peninsula’s landscapes, seascapes and the rich heritage that surrounds this high region generally referred to as the Brandon Group. The mountain’s rough rocky landscape is a result of a grating ice-age glacier that pulled and gouged the earth as it melted, shifted and receded.
Mount Brandon ridge is the ninth highest in Ireland, and offers spectacular views of the region. On clear day you may even hope to see the ‘Unknown Continent’ to the west (Newfoundland USA) that inspired the areas famous Saint Brendan to embark on his daring voyage to reach that land and bring religion to its natives. In fact, the mountain range is named after Saint Brendan who stayed on the mountain and fasted, prayed and prepared for his famous voyage.
His amazing and successful journey that took him and his fourteen monks seven years to complete, and is just one facet of the rich heritage of the Dingle Peninsula. Indeed, Brendan is the patron saint of Kerry and his journey has inspired many people around the world. Among these people was travel adventurer and author Tim Severin, who in the 1970’s set out from Brandon Creek in a boat similar to Brandon’s to retrace the journey and live the experience.
Walkers make regular trips to the mountain and Christian pilgrims also follow the ancient path now known as The Saints Road, and is marked with many small white crosses along the path. At the summit there is a large metallic cross to mark the end of the walk. This path greatly pre-dates the arrival of Christianity in Ireland and some historians believe it was originally a pagan pilgrim path for the greatest of all Irish deities, the sun god Lug Lámh Fada (Lug Of The Long Reach). No doubt pagans still walk this track to the ridge of the mountain to this very day.
If you mean to hike Mount Brandon alone, ensure you prepare for any type of weather, make sure you have warm clothes and strong hiking boots. Also include rain gear and snacks in your pack. You can also join organised walks with local walking clubs or go with a pre-booked Dingle Peninsula walking tour. If walking alone, make sure your inform people of your destination, your route and a time you expect to return.
You may also wish to bring a survival bag and survival blanket (metallic, extra water and signalling glow-sticks. There have been fatalities on Mount Brandon so please take every precaution to ensure you have an enjoyable and safe trip.
If on a clear day, you may be able to see Brendan’s ‘Unknown Continent’ to the west…