Purple Mountain old

Walk Grade

Hard, takes about 5hrs 45mins including breaks.


From Killarney take N72 for Killorgan at Beaufort turn left off N72 following signs for Gap of Dunloe. Kate Kearney’s Cottage GR(V 88.088 88.776) lies at northerly end of Gap of Dunloe.

Walk Description

Purple Mountain and Tomies Mountain in County KerClick on any Image to Enlarge itry overlook Lough Leane to the North East and are separated from Macgillycuddys Reeks by the gap of Dunloe. Purple Mountain derives its name from the colour of the sandstone rock, which emits a purple hue under favourable light condiClick on any Image to Enlarge ittions. This is a circular walk which can walked in either direction and started from Kate Kearney’s cottage or from the Black valley end of the Gap of Dunloe. My choice is to start from Kate Kearney’s Cottage where there are good parking facilities, and then to use a north south attack in order to complete the tarmac road walking section at the beginning of the walk, which would be the choice of most hill walkers. This area is covered in OS Discovery Series Map No 78.

Walk Details

From Kate Kearney’s Cottage GR(V 88.09 88.78) proceed into the gap of Dunloe in a southerly direction, as you walk along the road you will pass by Black Lake, Cushnavally Lake and Auger Lake and Black Lough. This road is often busy with hill walkers and in the summer months you will frequently encounter Jarvey horse and carts as they carry visitors through the gap. As you rise out of the gap of Dunloe you reach your first major waypoint at Head of Gap GR(V 87.15 83.71). This section of the walk is about 5km and takes about an hour but time seems to pass much quicker.

From Head of Gap you can see the mountains to the northeast, Purple Mountain actually lies behind the first mountain peak and cannot be seen directly from the road. The next waypoint will be Lough Glas GR (V87.75 84.46), which has a bearing of 40 deg from Head of Gap. Keep to left hand side of stream as you move up to Lough Glas. Lough Glas can be a good point for a break before the more rigorous ascent of Purple Mountain. As you move away from Lough Glas you need to turn first in an easterly direction and then back in a northerly direction. You will soon pick up a path which takes you directly to the first peak at 793m GR(V 88.37 85.05) From here you walk down the saddle and up again to the main Purple Mountain peak 832m GR(V 88.67 85.20). Alternatively it is possible to walk directly to the saddle between these peaks which will shorten some of the climbing. On the path up to the first peak there will be another track at about GR(V 88.234 84.828) which crosses your path. Follow this new track to your right and you will contour round the first peak and be able to climb up to the coll between the first peak and Purple Mountain. From Purple Mountain, which is the highest point of the walk, go to lower peak at 757m bearing 50deg GR(V89.45 85.83). Now walk along ridge to Tomies mountain 735m which has a large cairn at GR(V 89.51 86.76). From the Tomies stone enclosure head down through the heather and loose scree to a lower peak at 568m GR( V 89.13 87.45), the lower peak is known as Tomies Rock. The bearing from Tomies to Tomies Rock is 330deg. From this point you need to head down at a bearing of 336 deg to a small mound at GR(V  88.69 88.38) from here you proceed due north to a fence behind which lies a barn with a green roof. Proceed down along the ridge walking along the side of the fence and finally down to a pathway. Turn left here and then turn right further down the path and pass through a tubular gate. This path leads to another tubular gate on the side of the main road. Turn left on the main road for Kate Kearney’s Cottage.

Click on any Image to Enlarge it


Gap of Dunloe from Head of Gap

Lough Glas
Start of Purple Mountain Climb
Purple Mountain Climb


Gap of Dunloe from Purple Mountain
Black Valley fron Top of Purple Mountain
Descent from Tomies
Descent from Tomies Rock


Back at Kate Kearney’s
Walk Route
Walk Route


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