I took a trip to Purple Mountain in County Kerry this weekend. Purple Mountain is the highest in a small cluster of peaks directly across the lake from the town of Killarney.
We started our trip by the tourist centre at Kate Kearney’s cottage. From there we walked through the Gap of Dunloe, a spectacular narrow valley cutting through Ireland’s highest range of mountains. A low cloud accompanied us for the entire distance. It was magical.
As if on cue, the fog lifted just as we began our ascent. We spent an hour and a half climbing uphill beneath an unrelenting sun.
Dry blanket bog gave way to loose stone during the last few metres of the climb to the summit. The mountain is well-named: the old red sandstone gives the mountain a purplish hue from afar. While we were there, a helicopter flew through the Gap. You don’t see a helicopter flying beneath you every day.
We proceeded on to Tomies mountain where we were rewarded with one of the most spectacular views in all of Ireland. To the West rose the Magillicuddy Reeks and Carrauntoohil. To the North, the Dingle Peninsula swept into the sea. To our East was Killarney, Lough Leane and the mountains beyond.
The sounds of thunder could be heard in the distance. Rain swept down in torrents near Mangerton. The rumbles began to get louder. It was time to go.