Turlough Hill

Total Length

9.44 Kilometres

Total Assent

343.6 metres

Time Taken

3 Hours 22 Minutes
Where to Park: Click to download, open in Google EarthGoogle Earth Parking Pin
The Route: Click to download, open in Google EarthGoogle Earth

I started this walk by climbing over the wall and through the farmers field
There weren’t any cattle in the field, though the gate was padlocked. On closer inspection it looks like an easier and more allowed route in would be about 100m downhill from the car park.

When I plan walks, it’s always nice to know what the parking looks like, as well as the exact location.
Get the location from above, and this is what it looks like from a little way up the hill. Plenty of room along an SUV track for perhaps a dozen cars.

As soon as you get past the field, the walking is tough, large Burren boulders requiring concentration !

I crossed over onto the East side of the wall which runs continuously all the way to the Hill Fort.

The rocks on what I would term the first high level are smoother and easily negotiated. Keep paying attention though
It was a bit hazy. On a clear day the views of Galway Bay and up into Connaught would be fabulous.

The next change of terrain before the first summit, not named on maps, are rocky outcrops, and a ledge / very small cliff up. You don’t need to scale the cliff, there are plenty of easy paths. If you want you can miss out the first summit altogether by traversing round to the East. From memory of my first go I crossed the wall and went up the gulley visible to the right in the photo below.

At the first summit and a good view of Abbey Hill to the West.

Galway Bay to the North West.

Slievecarran is the first hazy hill in the middle of the photo below. Slievecarran would be easily walked from this side.

A first view of the summit of Turlough Hill.

There’s a short steep decent off the first summit, but nothing I would consider even scrambling.

The level between the first summit and the plateau where the Hill Fort is situated. A good view of the distinctive Burren geology.

The next terrain change up to the Hill Fort plateau resembles the landscape just before the first summit. I guess these limestone rocks erode and collapse in the same way all over the Burren.

Remarkable geology. Getting up to the Hill Fort plateau doesn’t present any real challenges, though if you are keen on tame scrambling, then there are plenty of small rock faces with lots of hand and foot holds.

I presume this is some sort of burial place. It’s certainly man made.

The circular remnants of the Hill Fort boundary are easily discerned. It’s clearly visible on Google Earth, as is the cleft where the limestone has given way. I disturbed a mountain hare here, and it ran down the cleft to escape.
There was also a flock of birds calling out and flying off every time I got near to them from the first summit onwards to the Hill Fort. I would think Golden Plover.

I walked straight through the centre of the Hill Fort and through various walls.

before arriving at Turlough Hill summit. A large collection of carefully placed rocks ! A labour of love, or famine relief ?

The first summit, and Abbey Hill farthest away to the left in the photo below.

There’s another big pile of rocks on Slievecarran, presumably constructed by the same people that assembled the one on Turlough Hill.

They certainly put a lot of effort into it !

I doubt the modern walkers are having to exert the same effort into demolishing it. I have to admit to climbing to the very top, though I didn’t so far as I am aware dislodge any more rocks.

After a bit more research it would seem that these big cairns may actually be ancient burial mounds. The ancient foundations of stone huts which are numerous have been excavated by archaeologists. The Hill Fort title is also misleading. As with many settlements in the rest of Europe, it is now believed that these mountain top enclosures are more likely to be meeting places, or possibly livestock and produce markets. Why on the top of hill ? Guess the ancestors got the views as well. Hope they got a clear day

I can back down on the West side as I wanted to get a photo of the Abbey which lies at the bottom of the Southern slope of Abbey Hill. The photo is zoomed up 30x, so if you want the same view, take  similar kit. Though it is visible to the naked eye.

A good view of the eroded limestone shelves which make up the hills of the Burren.

The first summit.

A couple of Ravens seem to be chasing something in the bealach between the Hill Fort plateau and the first summit. The hare ? I got a photo of one of the Ravens, but too far away to be worth posting.

I did however get a reasonable photo of a wild goat. Camera not in the correct mode for action shots, but good enough for a positive ID so to speak.

I traversed round the first summit and to the last leg of the journey home.

Abbey Hill would be a reasonable alternative short walk if pushed for time.

This was, from what I have done in the past a short walk, though as I said at the beginning, the terrain is demanding ! Keep paying attention ! even more so on the descents
For scale the walking poles are extended out to 1.2m. The drop at the end of the large boulder in the middle is about a metre.

Back home, and it was still daylight. The previous attempt I made on Turlough Hill; I got as far as the Hill Fort and turned back. Just as well as it was getting dark and had started to rain.

This is a fabulous walk

An awesome calorie burn with the demanding terrain