Cashel Hill

cashel hill walk

This is a simple out and back hill climb, to a summit of just 311m (1010ft). It starts at sea level, and it is quite steep nearer the top, so be prepared for bit more of a fight than you might otherwise expect. Though it is not overly demanding, this is a walk for experienced hill walkers. You should boots and a walking stick, swell as all the normal hill walking gear. Because this is a stand-alone hill rising quickly from the level countryside to a small top, the views from the summit are simply amazing.

Start & Finish: A roadside car park at St. James’ Church in Cashel, some 14km from Roundstone.

Drive to Start: From Roundstone, drive north on the R341, turning right at the T-junction for Cashel. Swing left onto Toombeola Bridge and just after the old Riverside Bar, turn right, sign-posted Cashel/Carna. Continue on this scenic R342 road beside Cloonile Bay and then Cashel Bay, passing the Cashel sign and then the former post office. Watch for the church on the left, and park opposite it.

Walk up the side road (A) just to the left of the church grounds - it is steep at first, but eases after a few minutes - leaving any gates as you found them. Ascend this road until you reach the cemetery (B) at the top. Now take the stoney path just to the left of the cemetery, and go through a gate that leads onto the open hip ground, closing it securely after you. Beyond the gate, walk left up onto the higher ground, and ascend this ridge westward. Closer to the main hill, your objective is to veer right, into a broad gully (C) at the South side of the hill. (Notice that the East side of the hill face has many rocky escarpments, and these are best avoided). Now there is nothing for it but to ascend the final steep section towards the summit. There are good grassy spaces as you slog up, but just take it steady and watch your footing.

Don’t forget to look back from time to time to watch the coastal scenery unfolding. At the top, there are actually two summits, separated by a wet grassy section. The real summit, with the contrite trip point (D), is the more northern one, and as you ascend the last few metres, you will be treated to one of the most spectacular views of the Twelve Bens, and indeed over nearly all of this part of Connemara. It is a truly wonderful panorama.

If the weather is good, you will spend quiet some tome up here. When you have seen it all, the return route is the same way you came up. Take it really carefully as you descend those steep grassy gullies now, particularly if the ground is wet. Remember to keep away from the rocky escarpments, now to the left, as you go down. Then bear left (east) across the lower ridge again - the cemetery is visible from higher up, so you should have no difficulty in heading for it. From the cemetery, head back down the tarmac road to the car park (A).

Map courtesy