Length: 8 km/ 4.97 mi, allow 3.5 – 4 hours
Terrain: rocky terrain, worn paths, some steep sections
Gear: Comfortable walking shoes/boots, raingear, mobile phone, snacks and fluids
When to go: All year round
Wheelchair Accessible: No
Family Friendly: Yes
Dog Friendly: No
Stopping Points: You will pass the ‘Stations of the Cross’ as listed in description below.
Nearest Services: Cahersiveen
Car Parking: Roadside
Ordnance Survey Map No: 83
Disclaimer: Gems Publishing Ltd. do not accept responsibility for injury, loss or inconvenience caused while walking these trails. Common sense should prevail at all times.
Before you start: Cnoc na dTobar, meaning “Mountain of the Wells,” is 690 metres high and situated 4.5 kilometres from Cahersiveen town. It is one of the main mountains of the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry. Starting from the town of Killorglin, you follow the N72 until you reach Cahersiveen. Turn right at the tourist office and cross the bridge. Again take the first right and continue along that road. The second road on your left is where the trailhead is. You could also park your car at Coonanna Harbour and walk the 15 mins or so back along the road to the start.
History to know: Cnoc na dTobar has been a sacred pilgrim site since prehistoric and medieval times. The mountain was also an important mountain in Pagan Ireland, long before Christianity arrived. It was the site of ancient mountain assemblies, especially the festival of Lughnasa, where harvest was celebrated on the mountain’s summit. In 1885, Canon Brosnan, parish priest in Cahersiveen and builder of the Daniel O’ Connell Memorial Church, decided to build fourteen stations of the cross along the mountain’s ancient trail. At the base of the mountain there is a well dedicated to St. Fursey or St. Fursa, the sixth-century saint, which is known for its healing mineral properties, especially for eye problems.
The crosses have been recently painted white by local development group ACARD, who worked with various community groups to paint the crosses white and place way markers along the trail between the crosses so that the path is clear. At the summit, there is a large cross called the Canon’s cross. The cross is not the true summit. Continue northwest straight over a turf expanse. There is a small cairn and this is the summit.
Walk Description: At the base of the mountain there is a well dedicated to St. Fursey or St. Fursa, the sixth-century saint, which is known for its healing mineral properties, especially for eye problems. The walk is aligned with the famous Skellig Rocks and as one climbs the mountain, they gradually appear. The trail is clearly marked and people of all ages can walk some or all of the path. The scenery is impressive, offering views of the Kerry mountains, Dingle Bay, Caherciveen and Valentia Island to the Skelligs and West Cork.
There are numerous prehistoric monuments scattered around the mountain as well as a large Celtic cross adorning the top of the mountain. Richard Mersey, author of The Hills of Cork & Kerry, writes “The crosses were positioned to give the worst possible ascent – as an additional penance, presumably.”
Some of the sections of the path can be quite steep and reasonable care is required, especially on the descent, in returning to the foot of the mountain. Do take care to stick to the marked path for your own safety and close any gates you may pass through.
Finish: We hope you have enjoyed the walk and found the information here useful. As always, if you have any comments to make please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.