There are two main routes up Galtymore. The first is via the Black road from the south (the ‘tourist route’), with the walk-in along a clear track. The second is from the north from Clydagh Bridge, a more satisfying though more challenging circuit taking in Cush and Galtybeg. I chose the former given I’d camped at Apple Farm campsite, on the road between Caher and Clonmel.
There’s a small car park at the end of a lane that winds its way uphill from the R639, just east of the imaginatively-named hamlet of Skeheenaranky. Here there’s perhaps space for 6 to 8 cars. I left the ‘Cherish the Galtees’ sign on a beautifully sunny, warm day with the gorse out and great views of the Knockmeadow mountains opening up to the south. It starts as a stony path but widens to become a better track for almost 3km as it gains height.
I was very lucky to be enjoying the Irish mountains in this weather. Every trip report I’d read previously featured damp walkers in full waterproofs trudging upwards into the mist. Today, the birdsong accompanied me up the grassy hillside, past the memorial to the deceased airmen half way up and on to the cairn that marks the start of the grassy track to the mountains proper.
I made a straightforward ascent of the steep grassy/stony slopes of Galtybeg first of all, a nicely-shaped hill that gives superb views of neighbouring Cush and the patchwork of green fields beyond. I enjoyed lunch on a calm, sunny summit before dropping down to the col, next to the deep corrie on Galtymore’s northeast face. From here there’s a clear track about half way up before you head straight uphill following an intermittent stony path.The trig point sits next to the summit cairn and not very far away, a white metal cross proudly stands overlooking the northern aspect. It was a day to savour the views: Ireland’s green countryside spread out for miles, dotted with farms and hamlets, and topped off with fluffy white clouds. I took a shortcut across grassy slopes back the cairn on the Black road track before retracing my steps back to the car park, where a long, cool drink was waiting.
I was back by early afternoon, taking just 3 hours 15 minutes for the 11km walk. I said goodbye to Tipperary in the heart of Ireland and drove west to the bigger and more impressive mountains in County Kerry.