You’ve seen the boardwalk, you’ve felt the waves of wanderlust wash over you, and you’ve decided that, finally, this weekend you’re going to conquer Ireland’s great wall.
As someone that’s just done it, you’re in for a treat!
The journey from Dublin to Cuilcagh is handy-out, and you can easily get there and back in a day.
Here’s the route along with some tips to help you get the most from your trip.
Getting from Dublin to Cuilcagh
We hit the M1 and managed to get to Cuilcagh in a little over two and a half hours.
If you don’t stop to grab a coffee, you could probably do it in twenty or thirty minutes less.
The roads are in good nick for 90% of the journey, so it’s pretty smooth sailing, from start to finish.
Here’s the route to take.
Parking the car (take note!!)
When you arrive at the car park at the entrance to Cuilcagh, you’ll be asked to fork out £5, but they’ll take five euro if you haven’t any sterling.
It’s a 1km walk from this car park (the first of two) to where the trail starts, according to the bloke taking the moolah.
Tip: stop in the first car park and grab a coffee – there’s a funky little coffee wagon along with the only bathrooms you’ll come across (note: this wasn’t there the second time that I visited, so it may no longer be running).
After hopping back into the car we continued towards the second car park, about a two minute drive up a narrow dusty road.
Here’s where you’ll encounter trouble if you arrive at Cuilcagh later in the morning; as there was no one manning this extremely snug car park on the day we were there, there was havoc with people trying to maneuver and park.
We ended up on a grassy mound, which was fine, but others were stuck for a while as cars tried to turn and navigate their way back out.
Is Cuilcagh as amazing as it looks?
Personally, before getting to Cuilcagh, the only photo I’d seen of the place was from the top, staring down the boardwalk – what people don’t show you is the insanely picturesque views you can soak up during the climb.
The view of the richly colored countryside in the distance was worth the trip alone.
Is climbing Cuilcagh difficult?
Getting from top to bottom took us roughly two and a half hours.
During this time I did a fair bit of arsing around with cameras, so we had plenty of time to catch our breath whenever it was needed.
One thing that made the climb slightly challenging was the wind.
It was super blustery from start to finish, so we were constantly battling against it.
Bring some form of windbreaker and you’ll be laughing!
As you get closer to the top it does get quite steep, but there was no point where it got to Croagh Patrick climbing-on-your-hands-and-knees-steep.
It’s a very manageable climb to the top.
Even if you did happen to climb Cuilcagh on a wet day, there’s a tonne of grip on the boardwalk, so I can’t imagine it ever becoming slippy to walk on.
Is it possible to do it in a day?
Getting from Dublin to Cuilcagh in a day is easily done, and it’s a great way to spend an active Saturday.
We left at 8 a.m. and reached Cuilcagh at around 10:40 a.m.
The hike itself took two and a half hours in total, and after stopping off for a bite to eat, we were on the road and home by around half four or so.