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(and Galty Mountains)
Cnoc Mór na nGaibhlte
Galtee range aherlow.JPG
Galty Mountain range seen from the north, with the summit of Galtymore at its centre
Highest point
Elevation917.9 m (3,011 ft) [1][2]
Prominence898 m (2,946 ft) [1]
ListingCounty top (Limerick and Tipperary), P600, Marilyn, Furth, Hewitt, Arderin, Simm, Vandeleur-Lynam
Coordinates52°21′58″N 8°10′45″W / 52.365985°N 8.17915°W / 52.365985; -8.17915[1]
English translationbig hill of the Galtees
Language of nameIrish
PronunciationIrish: [ˈɡɑlʲtʲə ˈmoːɾ]
Galtymore (and Galty Mountains) is located in island of Ireland
Galtymore (and Galty Mountains)
(and Galty Mountains)
Location in Ireland
LocationCounty Limerick/Tipperary,
Republic of Ireland
Parent rangeGalty Mountains
OSI/OSNI gridR878237
Topo mapOSi Discovery 74
Age of rockDevonian[1]
Mountain typeConglomerate & purple sandstone, (Slievenamuck Conglomerate Formation)[1]
Easiest routeBlack Road Route

Galtymore or Galteemore (Irish: Cnoc Mór na nGaibhlte, meaning "Big hill of the Galtees")[3] at 918 metres (3,012 ft), is the 12th–highest peak in Ireland on the Arderin scale, and the 14th–highest peak in Ireland according to the Vandeleur-Lynam scale.[4] Galtymore has the 4th highest topographic prominence in Ireland which classifies Galtymore as a P600, or "major mountain".[4] Galtymore is also one of the 13 recognised Scottish Furths, or Irish Munros, in Ireland. Galtymore is the County Top for both Limerick and Tipperary, and it is the highest mountain of the Galty Mountains, or Galtee Mountains, a 30–kilometre range that runs east–west, split between Limerick and Tipperary in Munster, Ireland.


The geology of the Galty Mountains are described as being Old Red Sandstone, from the Devonian period, and Silurian Shales.[5] Old Red Sandstone is also common in the MacGillycuddy's Reeks, and as well as having a purple–reddish colour, is also devoid of fossils.

The southern smooth slopes of the Galty range give way to a steep northern face, pocked with deep corries and their accompanying moraine–impounded lakes.[5] The long central ridge of the Galtees, which runs for about 15–kilometers in an east–west direction, was too high to be overridden by the inland ice–sheets and, although it resulted in the creation of small corrie glaciers, its summits are capped by tors built of massive conglomerate rock.[5]


Irish academic Paul Tempan in his 2010 Irish Hill and Mountain Names listed Galtymore as the name for the peak, and Galty Mountains as the correct name for the range.[3] Tempan notes that the summit of Galtymore is marked as Dawson's Table; the Dawson–Massey family were large landowners in the area (Tipperary Directory 1889) owning much of the land on and around the north section of the Galtee range.[a][3][7]

The diarist Amhlaoibh Ó Súilleabháin (Humphrey O'Sullivan) recorded a different Irish name for the peak: Beann na nGaillti, and the names of three nearby places are derived from this: Glencoshnabinnia (PW Joyce, Irish Names of Places iii, 366), Slievecoshnabinnia and Carrignabinnia.[3] Tempan notes the anglicised name Galtymore is recorded as early as the Civil Survey of Co. Tipperary (Down Survey, 1654–56), where it is mentioned, and spelt exactly as today, as a boundary feature of the barony of Clanwilliam.[3] The peak is named Galtymore Mountain on the Ordnance Survey Ireland Discovery Map.

Tempan does not comment on whether the term Galtees originates from an anglicised corruption of the name Irish: Sléibhte na gCoillte, meaning "mountains of the forests", as referenced in some guidebooks,[8] and other publications.[9][10]

The area also originated Kerry Group's popular Irish bacon food brand Galtee;[11] and the term Galtee Mountains is still in common use.[12]


Galtymore's eastern summit ridge, and north cliffs (right)

Climbing guidebook writer Paddy Dillion described "the lofty Galty Mountains have forested flanks; and there is much heather, bogs and steep slopes, but the effort is worth it and Galtymore is a splendid viewpoint".[8]

The Galty Mountains, or Galtee Mountains, are a broadly straight 30–kilometre east–west grass–covered range with a 15–kilometre central ridge section, stretching from Greenane 801 metres (2,628 ft) in the east, to Temple Hill 783 metres (2,569 ft) in the west. This central section includes the highest peaks of Galtymore 918 metres (3,012 ft), Lyracappul 825 metres (2,707 ft), Carrignabinnia 823 metres (2,700 ft), and Slievecushnabinnia 775 metres (2,543 ft). Many of the peaks of the central Galtee section have a moderate prominence, which means that the central ridge maintains a reasonably sustained height; an attractive feature for hill walkers.[8]

The 24 peaks of the Galty range with a height above 100 metres include 13 peaks above 2,000 feet and 5 peaks that are classified as Marilyns, peaks with a prominence above 150 metres.[4] The Galtees are described as Ireland's highest "inland" range.[4]

Galtymore and Galtybeg sit near the middle of the Galtee range and their north faces show evidence of glacial erosion with a number of deep corries, most of which are now occupied by loughs. Lough Diheen lies between Galtymore and Galtybeg, while Lough Curra lies between Galtymore and Slievecushnabinnia.[8]

Galtymore is the 460th–highest mountain, and 12th most prominent mountain, in Britain and Ireland, on the Simms classification.[13] Galtymore is regarded by the Scottish Mountaineering Club ("SMC") as one of 34 Furths, which is a mountain above 3,000 ft (914 m) in elevation, and meets the other SMC criteria for a Munro (e.g. "sufficient separation"), but which is outside of (or furth) Scotland;[14] Galtymore is referred to as one of the 13 Irish Munros.[15][16] Galtymore's prominence qualifies it as a P600 which classes Galtymore as a "major" mountain in Britain and Ireland.[13] Galtymore ranks as the 5th–highest mountain in Ireland on the MountainViews Online Database, 100 Highest Irish Mountains, where the prominence threshold is 100 metres.[17][4]

Hill walking[edit]

Galtybeg and Lough Dihneen, part of the Circuit of Glencushnabinnia

The most straightforward route to the summit of Galtymore is from the south via the 9–kilometre 3–4 hour Black Road Route, which starts at the end of the Black Road car park (R893204) (accessed from the R639 road near the village of Skeheenarinky), and summits Galtybeg 799 metres (2,621 ft), before the main summit of Galtymore. It then retraces its route back to the Black Road car park.[18][7]

Lough Curra below Galtymore, on the Circuit of Glencushnabinnia, as seen from Slievecushnabinnia; "twin summits" of Galtymore visible

The 12–kilometre 5–6 hour Circuit of Glencushnabinnia, which follows a loop around Galtymore's deep northern corries at Lough Curra and Lough Dihneen, is described as the "connoisseur's route".[19][7] It starts at the forest car park (R875278) near the Clydagh Bridge in the north, and climbs Cush 641 metres (2,103 ft), Galtybeg 779 metres (2,556 ft), Galtymore and Slievecushnabinnia 775 metres (2,543 ft), before returning to the start (it can also be done anti–clockwise).[20][19][7]

Western Galtees of (after a right turn) Slievecushnabinnia, Carrignabinnia, and Lyracappul (farthest); Lough Curra is in the deep corrie (near right)

The annual Galtee Challenge organised by the Galtee Walking Club is the full 31–kilometre +10–hour east–to–west crossing of the range, also called the Galtee Crossing, and takes in all major peaks of the Galty Mountains. The challenge normally starts in Cahir in the east, and finishes in Anglesboro Village, in the west.[21] Despite the distance, longer than the MacGillycuddy's Reeks Ridge Walk, the 10–hour estimate is reasonable as the variation in elevation is moderate.[21]

List of peaks[edit]

The following is a download from the MountainViews Online Database, who list 24 Galty Mountains peaks over 100 metres.

  Furth (or Irish Munro): Height over 3,000 feet (914 m), and on the SMC Furth list.
  Marilyn: Any height, and prominence over 150 metres (492 ft).
Peaks of the Galty Mountains (MountainViews Online Database, October 2018)
Name Irish Name (if different) Translation Height
OSI Grid
1 1 Galtymore Cnoc Mór na nGaibhlte gig hill of the Galtees 918 898 3,011 2,946 74 R878238
2 6 Lyracappul Ladhar an Chapaill fork/confluence of the horse[b] 825 100 2,708 328 74 R845232
3 22 Carrignabinnia Carraig na Binne rock of the peak 823 27 2,700 88 74 R850237
4 5 Greenane An Grianán sunny spot 801 157 2,629 515 74 R925239
5 9 Galtybeg 799 80 2,622 263 74 R890241
6 16 Greenane West 787 39 2,582 129 74 R910239
7 3 Temple Hill Cnoc an Teampaill hill of the church 783 188 2,569 617 74 R833218
8 20 Slievecushnabinnia Sliabh Chois na Binne mountain beside the peak[c] 775 28 2,542 92 74 R858240
9 13 Knockaterriff Cnoc an Tairbh hill of the bull 692 51 2,269 168 74 R848216
10 21 Knockaterriff Beg Cnoc an Tairbh Beag hill of the little bull 679 28 2,229 91 74 R844222
11 4 Cush Cois side/flank[d] 641 176 2,104 578 74 R894262
12 7 Monabrack Móin Bhreac speckled moor[e] 630 94 2,067 308 74 R859219
13 18 Laghtshanaquilla Leacht Sheanchoille burial monument of the old wood[f] 629 36 2,065 118 74 R951250
14 11 Knockeenatoung Cnoicín na Teanga hill of the tongue 601 66 1,973 218 74 R895219
15 23 Lough Curra Mtn 600 23 1,970 75 74 R869242
16 24 Laghtshanaquilla North-East Top 598 19 1,962 62 74 R957256
17 10 Knockastakeen Cnoc an Stáicín hill of the little stack[g] 583 78 1,913 256 74 R915258
18 14 Sturrakeen An Starraicín "the pointed peak" or "the steeple"[h] 542 46 1,777 151 74 R973253
19 8 Benard An Bhinn Ard the high peak 480 85 1,573 277 74 R821199
20 12 Slieveanard NE Top 449 64 1,471 210 74 S005264
21 15 Seefin Suí Finn Fionn's seat 447 42 1,465 136 74 R891197
22 17 Seefin N Top 444 39 1,457 128 74 R888206
23 19 Slieveanard Sliabh an Aird mountain of the height 438 33 1,436 108 74 R992258
24 2 Slievenamuck Sliabh Muice mountain of the pig 369 234 1,211 768 66 R842306


White iron cross on Dawson's Table, Galtymore summit

Galtymore's summit is described a "large concave plateau" separated by two peaks.[20] The plateau consists of Old Red Sandstone and is known as Dawson's Table after the historical landowners, the Dawson family.[a][3][22] This is similar to Percy's Table on the summit of Lugnaquilla, the highest mountain in County Wicklow and Leinster. There is a cairn on top of each peak and the eastern cairn marks the true summit of Galtymore.[7] The "twin summits" give Galtymore a distinctive profile from a distance.[22] The summit of Galtymore marks the boundary of Limerick and Tipperary.[20][22]

A 7–foot iron white cross was erected on the north edge of Dawson's Table, a few metres away from the east summit cairn, looking into the glen of Aherlow, in 1975 by Tipperary man Ted Kavanagh. The iron cross is kept white by being painted every year.[23]

The Galtee Wall leading westwards to the summit of Lyracappul

To the west of the summit of Galtymore lies a 3.5–kilometre long drystone wall, known as the Galtee Wall, that was built in 1878 to separate the Dawson-Massey Estate in the north, from the Galtee Castle Estate in the south. It is recorded that it took 30–40 men over 4 years to complete the wall, and that the reason for its construction was to give employment to local small farmers during a period of economic depression (hence why is it also called a famine wall).[24] The Galtee Wall runs from below the west summit of Galtymore, across the top of Slievecushnabinnia, Carrignabinnia, to the summit of Lyracappul, the second highest peak in the Galtees.[25]


Lough Dihneen

The deep corrie lakes of the Galtees are noted in various legends and all believed to be enchanted.[10] Lake Muskry was formerly known as Lough Beal Sead, "The Lake of the Jewel Mouth", but has also been identified as, Loch Beal Dragan, "The Lake of the dragon’s mouth". Its present name, Lough Muskry comes from the Múscraighe sept that lived in the south of Ireland.[10] The lake is said to have been formed on the spot where Cliach–the–harper stood for a year to serenade his beloved, the daughter (of) Bodhbh of Slievenamon. After failing, he played his two harps together, and the hill burst open and formed Lough Bel Sead.[10] The Galty Mountains have been known as Sliab Crocta Cliac, or "the mountains of the harps of Cliach".[26][27]

Lake Muskry below Greenane, is also mentioned in a legend where a serpent that was killing livestock on the Galtee Mountains was banished by Saint Patrick and confined to Lake Muskry.[10] It is said that Saint Patrick chained the serpent with a silken thread in Muskry and he promised to release the creature in seven years on the morning of La–an–Luan (the Day of Judgement), which the serpent mistook as Easter Monday, or An Luain.[28] The serpent comes up on Easter Monday at the end of seven years and he says, "Is it the Monday morning yet Patrick" and Patrick says "No", and the serpent goes down again for another seven years".[10]

The same legend is also associated with Lough Dihneen, below Galtybeg.[10][29] An account states that the legend of the serpent in Lough Dihneen was held so strongly, that one Captain Dawson, the local landlord,[a] attempted to drain Lough Dihneen sometime in the 1830s in order to destroy the serpent.[30]

The banishing of the serpent by Saint Patrick is associated with the subsequent richness of farming in the area.[31]

Lake Muskry also features in the tale of the Caer Ibormeith.

1976 air crash[edit]

On Monday 20 September 1976, three airmen Tom Gannon, Jimmy Byrne and Dick O'Reilly from nearby Abbeyshrule, were killed when their plane crashed not far from O'Loughlin's Castle, a rock–formation near Greenane West, on the Galtees. The three were founding members of Abbyshrule Air Club. A stone monument in the shape of a plane's tailfin was erected (R393223) a short distance into the Black Road Route on the path to Knockeenatoung. The crash led to the founding of the South Eastern Mountain Rescue Association ("SEMRA") in 1977.[32] The event was remembered on its 40th anniversary by SEMRA in September 2016.[33]


  • O'Dwyer, John G. (2018). The Comeragh, Galtee, Knockmealdown & Slieve Bloom Mountains: A Walking Guide. Collins Press. ISBN 978-1848893474.
  • Fairbairn, Helen (2014). Ireland's Best Walks: A Walking Guide. Collins Press. ISBN 978-1848892118.
  • MountainViews (Simon Stewart) (2013). A Guide to Ireland's Mountain Summits: The Vandeleur-Lynams & the Arderins. Collins Books. ISBN 978-1-84889-164-7.
  • Dillion, Paddy (1993). The Mountains of Ireland: A Guide to Walking the Summits. Cicerone. ISBN 978-1852841102.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c The 126,000–acre Dawson–Massey estate, centered on Ballynacourty House in the Glen of Aherlow, on the northern side of the Galty Mountains. It was destroyed by fire during the Civil War in 1922.[6]
  2. ^ This peak may be named after the channels on its north–western slopes. The glen here is named Lyraveg Glen.[3]
  3. ^ PW Joyce suggests that the peak (binn) in question is Galtymore, which seems logical. Glencushabinnia is a townland north-east of here.[3]
  4. ^ The name may well be a shortened form of Cois na Binne, which appears in several place-names in this area. This mountain is referred to as Binnia in 'The Mountains of Ireland' by Paddy Dillon.[3][8]
  5. ^ On the Discovery map the name Monabrack does not appear. The name Carrigeen Mountain is in roughly the same position but this is a townland name (i.e. the mountain pasture belonging to Carrigeen townland). Previously Lyracappul SE Top in earlier MountainViews listings.[3]
  6. ^ This peak is unnamed on the Discovery map. There is a cairn near the summit, which could be the leacht in question. Previously Greenane East in ealier MountainViews listings.[3]
  7. ^ Stáca can be a stack of hay or corn. The name appears to refer to the hill's shape.[3]
  8. ^ Also known as Carrigphierish, Ir. Carraig Phiarais, 'Pierce's rock'. Note that this peak is actually unnamed on the Discovery map, while both Carrigphierish and Sturrakeen are marked a little to the NW of this peak.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e MountainViews: Galtymore
  2. ^ Peakbagger
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Paul Tempan (February 2012). "Irish Hill and Mountain Names" (PDF).
  4. ^ a b c d e Mountainviews, (September 2013), "A Guide to Ireland's Mountain Summits: The Vandeleur-Lynams & the Arderins", Collins Books, Cork, ISBN 978-1-84889-164-7
  5. ^ a b c "Galtee Mountains cSAC (Special Area of Conservation)" (PDF). National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). July 2005. p. 12. Physical Features
  6. ^ "HOUSE: BALLYNACOURTY Dawson/Massy-Dawson (Ballynacourte)". NUI Galway, Landed Estates Database. 11 May 2011.
  7. ^ a b c d e O'Dwyer, John G. (2018). The Comeragh, Galtee, Knockmealdown & Slieve Bloom Mountains: A Walking Guide. Collins Press. ISBN 978-1848893474.
  8. ^ a b c d e Dillion, Paddy (1993). The Mountains of Ireland: A Guide to Walking the Summits. Cicerone. ISBN 978-1852841102.
  9. ^ "Galtee Mountains". 2014. The Galtee Mountains are spread across the borders of three counties in Munster: Limerick, Tipperary and Cork. The name for this range of mountains was derived from the Irish Sléibhte na gCoillte, or ‘Mountains of the forests’. Galtymore is the highest peak in the range, reaching 3,009 ft., and is situated the border between Limerick and Tipperary.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g "Lough Muskry and St. Patrick". The Tipperary Antiquarian. 15 March 2017.
  11. ^ "Where your full Irish really comes from". Irish Times. 8 November 2013.
  12. ^ "A Taste of More: Hiking in the Galtees". 2018.
  13. ^ a b Chris Cocker; Graham Jackson (2018). "The Database of British and Irish Hills". Database of British and Irish Hills.
  14. ^ Mountains – Key Facts. The Munros, Corbetts, Grahams, Donalds & Furths at Accessed on 5 Feb 2013.
  15. ^ "Hill Lists: Furths". Scottish Mountaineering Club. The list of peaks of 3000ft or more within the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland outside (furth) of Scotland. There are currently 34 Furths.
  16. ^ "Ireland's Munros". Ireland's Own. 26 June 2018.
  17. ^ "Irish Highest 100: The highest 100 Irish mountains with a prominence of +100m". MountainViews Online Database. September 2018.
  18. ^ John Dwyer (29 July 2014). "Go Walk: The Galtees, Co Tipperary". Irish Times.
  19. ^ a b Fairbairn, Helen (2014). Ireland's Best Walks: A Walking Guide. Collins Press. ISBN 978-1848892118. Route 52: Galtymore
  20. ^ a b c Russ Mills (20 August 2018). "The Galtymore Cushnabinnia Horseshoe".
  21. ^ a b "2018 Galtee Challenge". Galtee Walking Club. June 2018.
  22. ^ a b c John G. O'Dwyer (18 May 2018). "Walk for the Weekend: A twin-county stroll with splendid views". Irish Times. Upon gaining this top for the first time, I remember being surprised to discover Galtymore is actually a liminal mountain. I had simultaneously reached the highest point of both counties Limerick and Tipperary for Galtymore is a twin-county, twin-cairned top boasting a large concave plateau known locally as Dawson’s Table.
  23. ^ John G. O'Dwyer (23 May 2009). "Galty Mountain Challenge". Irish Times. Here your eyes will immediately be drawn to a white Celtic cross overlooking Aherlow, which was painstakingly erected by Tipperary man Ted Kavanagh in 1975. Its pristine condition is accounted for by local hillwalker and rescuer Jimmy Barry, who for the past decade has taken upon himself the task of painting this cross annually.
  24. ^ Frank Treacy (March 2005). "If those trees could speak: The story of the Massey family in Ireland" (PDF). South Dublin Libraries. p. 47. In 1878 a wall was built by the 6th Baron from behind the hill at the rear of Massy Lodge to the western slopes of Galtymore Mountain. It took 30–40 men four years to build and acted as a boundary between the estates of Galtee Castle and the Massy estates. The main reason for building the wall was to give employment to local small farmers during a period of economic depression. The wall covers several of the main peaks of the Galtees and ninety percent of it still stands.
  25. ^ John G. O'Dwyer (26 October 2013). "Go Walk: Lough Curra, Co Tipperary". Irish Times. An impressive structure built in the late 19th century to divide the landholdings of the Galtee Castle and Massey Dawson estates, the Galty Wall runs 3,500m along the ridge top.
  26. ^ Hendroff, Adrian. From High Places: A Journey Through Ireland's Great Mountains. The History Press Ireland, 2010. p.150
  27. ^ Rynne, Colin. The Heritage of Ireland. Collins Press, 2000. p.146
  28. ^ Lady Jane Francesca Wild (1888). "Saint Patrick and the Serpent – Legends, Charms and Superstitions of Ireland". Library of Ireland.
  29. ^ Massey, Eithne. Legendary Ireland: A Journey Through Celtic Places and Myths. University of Wisconsin Press, 2004. p.83
  30. ^ "The Serpent in Lough Diheen on the Galtees". So strong was their belief that an attempt was once made to drain the lake. The owner of Ballinacourtie estate [Ballynacourty House], one Captain Dawson, about 150 years ago heard so much about this serpent that on one occasion he took a number of workmen with him to drain the lake and destroy the serpent. They had pickaxes, shovels, spades with them. As they were about to start work Captain Dawson looked towards home only to see as he thought, his mansion on fire.
  31. ^ "St Patrick and the Killer Snake". YourIrishCulture. 2014. After St Patrick banished the snake he made his way back to the farmers and informed them of the snakes fate. To their relief he told them to go and look after their livestock which will be vast in quantity for years to come. After 7 long years later the snake appeared at the edge of the lake and asked St Patrick “is it time for me be released yet?” to which St Patrick replied “no” and the snake sank back into the lake. Ever since the snake was banished from the area the Galtee Mountains became famous for its dairy farming and its where Ireland’s largest food companies, Galtee, was founded.
  32. ^ John G. O'Dwyer (27 November 2008). "Love is in the air". Irish Times. After about 20 minutes of gentle ascent you will observe a monument in the shape of an aircraft tail about 50m to your right. It was erected to the memory of three Abbeyshrule airmen who died in a crash on a nearby mountainside. This event triggered the foundation, in 1977, of South Eastern Mountain Rescue Association, which provides a comprehensive rescue service across several ranges.
  33. ^ "Forty year commemoration of Galtee Mountains light aircraft crash held". Avondu. 20 September 2016. Members of South Eastern Mountain Rescue Association (SEMRA) and relatives of the three men who died in a light aircraft crash in the Galtee Mountains in 1976, commemorated the event on Saturday last, 17th September. Forty years on from that fateful day on Monday, 20th September 1976, the deceased airmen continue to be remembered by their families as well as local people. A large group of relatives of all ages, and local people were accompanied by members of SEMRA on Saturday last, when they walked to the stone monument on the Black Road.

Coordinates: 52°21′58″N 8°10′44″W / 52.366°N 8.179°W / 52.366; -8.179

External links[edit]