Mount Brandon: A Wild Atlantic Way Secret Worth Scaling

The Wild Atlantic Way is one of the world's best-loved road trip routes, and with good reason – it's a rollercoaster of emerald hills, craggy cliffs, and quaint coastal towns. But tucked into this coastal tapestry lies a hidden gem: Mount Brandon, a peak of holy pilgrimage and breathtaking natural beauty.

Why Embark on the Mount Brandon Hike?

  • Challenge Yourself: Hiking Mount Brandon isn't a stroll in the park. Its summit rises 3,123 feet (952 meters) above the Dingle Peninsula, offering a decent physical challenge even to experienced hikers. The most popular routes, while well-marked, involve steep climbs, sometimes exposed sections, and varying weather. The conquest is so much sweeter for it.
  • A Pilgrimage Through Time:  Mount Brandon bears the name of Saint Brendan the Navigator, an Irish monk famous for his legendary sea voyage in the 6th century. Legend has it that he climbed Mount Brandon to seek divine guidance before embarking on his quest for the fabled 'Isle of the Blessed'. The mountain has been a place of pilgrimage for centuries, with a tiny chapel nestled near its summit, a testament to Brendan's enduring legacy. To hike Mount Brandon is to walk in the footsteps of history and explore the connection between faith and the untamed beauty of Ireland's coast.
  • Views That Take Your Breath Away: The reward for those who persevere are panoramic views that stretch for miles across the Wild Atlantic Way. On a clear day, you'll see the rolling green patchwork of the Dingle Peninsula, shimmery blue Brandon Bay, the distant Blasket Islands, and the jagged peaks of the MacGillycuddy Reeks – the highest mountains in Ireland.
Mount brandon hike ireland

What To Expect On The Trails

Mount Brandon offers several hiking routes, but the most popular are:

  • The Saints' Route: This is the traditional and most historic pilgrimage path. It's moderately strenuous, involving a steep ascent up grassy slopes and rocky paths.

  • Faha Route: A more gradual but longer approach from the north offers a different perspective and potentially gentler slopes.

Whichever route you choose, be sure to:

  • Prepare Thoroughly: Check weather forecasts, carry adequate water and snacks, wear sturdy hiking boots, and layer your clothing as conditions can change rapidly.

  • Leave No Trace: Pack out all your litter and respect the delicate mountain environment.

  • Time it Right: Hiking Mount Brandon during spring or fall will help you avoid summer crowds, and early starts ensure the best chance of clearer views.

The Secret's Out

Mount Brandon may be a secret to many Wild Atlantic Way travelers, but its combination of physical challenge, spiritual history, and staggering natural beauty makes it a destination worth seeking out. The mountain awaits, ready to leave you with aching legs, wind-kissed cheeks, and a soaring spirit that matches the views.  Uncover more hidden gems along the Wild Atlantic Way!

Donegal - Irelands forgotten corner

Copyright: Tourism Ireland

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