Walk of the Month: Torc Mountain, Co. Kerry
Want to climb a mountain? Torc Mountain is a straightforward one to tackle, with rewarding 360-degree views out over Killarney town and lakes, Muckross House, Killarney National Park and MacGillycuddy’s Reeks.
The easily recognisable form of Torc is visible from most parts of the town and the surrounding National Park. Rising up from the shores of Muckross lake, it looms over many of the most famed beauty spots of the Killarney area.
It’s just 7.5km from the upper Torc Mountain car park to the summit and back, and the whole route takes around 2.5 hours to complete. There’s a clear path, made up in part of railway sleepers, so this is an easy walk for almost all fitness levels – though take care though, the sleepers can be slippery when wet.
The initial section of the route is part of the Kerry Way walking trail and is also the traditional starting point for the Old Kenmare Road route. Leave the car park behind you and follow the trail as you head towards the shoulder of Torc Mountain.
You will shortly spot the Owengarriff river on your right. This river descends from Mangerton mountain before tumbling spectacularly at Torc Waterfall on its way to Muckross Lake.
After you cross a wooden bridge over the river, take an immediate left. This first section contains a few sharp ascents to get the blood flowing.
Before long, the trail exits the woodlands and emerges into the open expanses of the uplands of Killarney National Park.
The southern face of Torc rises to your right and the river valley extends below you on the left.
About 1.5k after you leave the car park you will see the beginning of the summit trail signposted on the right hand side of the pathway.
Difficulty: Moderate :: Distance: 7.5km :: Duration: 2–3hrs