Torc Mountain

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Torc Mountain
Sliabh Torc
Torc upper lake killarney.jpg
View from the summit of Torc Mountain looking westwards to the Upper Lake in the Black Valley
Highest point
Elevation535 m (1,755 ft) [1]
Prominence300 m (980 ft) [1]
ListingMarilyn, Arderin
Coordinates52°00′0″N 9°31′0″W / 52.00000°N 9.51667°W / 52.00000; -9.51667Coordinates: 52°00′0″N 9°31′0″W / 52.00000°N 9.51667°W / 52.00000; -9.51667
English translationmountain of wild boar
Language of nameIrish
Torc Mountain is located in island of Ireland
Torc Mountain
Torc Mountain
Location in Ireland
LocationKerry, Ireland
Parent rangeMangerton Mountain Group
OSI/OSNI gridV955839
Topo mapOSi Discovery 78
Age of rockDevonian[1]
Mountain typeGreen sandstone & purple siltstone, (Glenflesk Chloritic Sandstone Formation)[1]
Easiest routeOld Kenmare Road

Torc Mountain (Irish: Sliabh Torc, meaning "mountain of wild boar"),[2] at 535 metres (1,755 ft), is the 329th–highest peak in Ireland on the Arderin list. It is a popular mountain for hill walkers as it has a stone or boarded path (using railway sleepers) from its base at Torc Waterfall to its summit, which has views of the Lakes of Killarney.[3] Torc Mountain is part of the Mangerton Mountain Group range in County Kerry, Ireland.


The word Torc comes from the Irish translation of a "wild boar", and the area is associated with legends involving wild boars – Irish academic Paul Tempan notes that: "Wild boar is significant in Celtic mythology, being depicted on Celtic artefacts found in continental Europe, Ireland and Britain; it represents physical strength and heroic fighting skills".[2] One legend is of a man who was cursed by the Devil to spend each night transformed into a wild boar, but when his secret was revealed by a local farmer, he burst into flames and disappeared into the nearby Devil's Punchbowl on Mangerton Mountain from which the Owengarriff River emerged to hide the entrance to his cave beneath the Torc Waterfall.[4][5] There is also the story of how the legendary Irish warrior, Fionn MacCumhaill, killed a magical boar on Torc mountain with his golden spear.[6]


Torc Mountain is part of the Mangerton Mountain Group which is a massif to the south of Killarney that includes 26 other named peaks with a height above 100 metres (330 ft).[7] Torc sits in the north-west corner of the massif and immediately west of Torc Mountain is the subsidiary summit of Torc Mountain West Top 470 metres (1,540 ft).[8][9] Torc's height and prominence, qualifies it on the British Isles Marilyn classification,[10] as well as the Arderin classification.[7]

Hill walking[edit]

View westwards into the Black Valley, with the wooden railway "sleeper" boardwalk visible at left.

Torc is popular for hill walkers as it can be accessed from a marked stone-step path its base at Torc Waterfall, which then becomes a small road (the Old Kenmare Road) from the top of Torc Waterfall to the mountain itself, and then finishes with a track of wooden railway "sleepers" over the underlying bogland to its summit at 535 metres (1,755 ft).[9] The route can thus be completed without full hiking boots, and requires no special navigational skills.[9][11]

View northwards down to Muckross Lake and Lough Leane.

The summit of Torc has views of the Lakes of Killarney, the Black Valley, the MacGillycuddy's Reeks and Muckross House and grounds.[3] The route from the Torc Waterfall car-park (at V966847), to the summit of Torc Mountain and back is 8–kilometres and takes 3 hours.[3]

Hill walkers can avoid the circa 100 steps of Torc Waterfall and start instead from the upper Torc Waterfall car-park (at 55 metres, V967842), to complete the shorter 7.5–kilometre hour 2.5–hour route to the summit of Torc Mountain, via the Old Kenmare Road, and back to the upper car-park.[3][8]

The northerly views from the summit of Torc Mountain can be achieved by climbing the steep stone steps up the lower Cardiac Hill, which is half-way up the north facing slopes of Torc Mountain, and which can be accessed from the N71 Road, half a kilometre from the Torc Waterfall car-park.[12][13]


  • 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: Vandeleur-Lynams & Arderins. Collins Books. ISBN 978-1-84889-164-7.
  • Ryan, Jim (2006). Carrauntoohil and MacGillycuddy's Reeks: A Walking Guide to Ireland's Highest Mountains. Collins Press. ISBN 978-1905172337.
  • Dillion, Paddy (1993). The Mountains of Ireland: A Guide to Walking the Summits. Cicerone. ISBN 978-1852841102.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d MountainViews: Torc Mountain
  2. ^ a b Paul Tempan (February 2012). "Irish Hill and Mountain Names" (PDF).
  3. ^ a b c d Fairbairn, Helen (2014). Ireland's Best Walks: A Walking Guide. Collins Press. ISBN 978-1848892118. Route 46: Torc Mountain. [..] From the main Torc Waterfall car-park, follow the signs for A wide footpath leads through the woods to a viewpoint beneath the main falls where the Owengarrif River plunges over a series of rocky walls on its way to Muckross Lake. The cascade is acclaimed as one of the finest waterfalls in Ireland and is popular with tourists during the summer months.
  4. ^ "Torc Waterfall Walk". Gems Publishing Limited. Retrieved 17 December 2017. History to know: Torc waterfall derives its name from the Gaelic word ‘torc’ meaning a wild boar. According to legend, the waterfall was created by a man who had been cursed by the Devil to spend each night transformed into a wild boar. He lived in a cavern beneath the cliffs of the mountain. His secret was discovered one night by a local farmer out looking for missing animals. The boar offered him great riches not to reveal his secret but became furious when his plight was revealed. In his anger, he is said to have burst into a ball of flame and disappeared into the Devils Punchbowl lake on nearby Mangerton Mountain. The lakewater burst forth and created the waterfall to hide forever the Boars cavern beneath the waterfall.
  5. ^ "Loop 10: Torc Waterfall". Discover Ireland. Retrieved 17 December 2018. Torc Waterfall – Mythical Landscapes
  6. ^ Donald E. Meek (July 1990). "THE DEATH OF DIARMAID IN SCOTTISH AND IRISH TRADITION" (PDF). Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.
  7. ^ a b Mountainviews, (September 2013), "A Guide to Ireland's Mountain Summits: The Vandeleur-Lynams & the Arderins", Collins Books, Cork, ISBN 978-1-84889-164-7
  8. ^ a b Paddy Dillon (10 March 2005). The Irish Coast to Coast Walk: Dublin to Bray Head. p. 156. ISBN 978-1852844332. Day 21: Muckross to Black Valley
  9. ^ a b c Jim Ryan (1 October 2012). Scenic Walks in Killarney. Collins Press. ISBN 978-1848891463. Walk 11: Torc Waterfall Circuit
  10. ^ Chris Cocker; Graham Jackson (2018). "The Database of British and Irish Hills". Database of British and Irish Hills.
  11. ^ Grace Harding (21 January 2017). "Torc Mountain". The Idyll. The combination of rocky path and sleepers will take you all the way up the summit. So unlike other mountains in Kerry, you won’t need any navigation skills.
  12. ^ "Cardiac Hill, Torc Mountain". Retrieved 22 December 2018.

External links[edit]