Torc Waterfall

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Torc Waterfall
Easach Toirc
Torc Waterfall - - 1417334.jpg
Torc Waterfall near Killarney
LocationKillarney, Ireland
OSI/OSNI gridV966847
Coordinates52°00′18″N 9°30′24″W / 52.005024°N 9.5066471°W / 52.005024; -9.5066471Coordinates: 52°00′18″N 9°30′24″W / 52.005024°N 9.5066471°W / 52.005024; -9.5066471[1]
Elevation55 metres (180 ft)[1]
Total height20 metres (66 ft)[2]
Run110 metres (360 ft)[1]
WatercourseOwengarriff River

Torc Waterfall (from Irish: Easach Toirc, meaning 'cascade of the wild boar')[3] is a 20 metres (66 ft) high, 110 metres (360 ft) long cascade waterfall formed by the Owengarriff River as it drains from the Devil's Punchbowl corrie lake at Mangerton Mountain. The waterfall, which lies at the base of Torc Mountain, in the Killarney National Park, is 4.3 miles (7 kilometres) from Killarney in County Kerry, Ireland.[2][4] The waterfall is a popular site on the Ring of Kerry and the Kerry Way tours.[1]


Lower section of Torc Waterfall

The word Torc is from the Irish translation of a "wild boar", and the area is associated with legends involving wild boars. 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 Devils Punchbowl on Mangerton Mountain from which the Owengarriff River emerged to hide the entrance to his cave beneath the Torc Waterfall.[5][6] There is also the story of how the legendary Irish warrior, Fionn MacCumhaill, killed a magical boar on Torc mountain with his golden spear.[7]


Pathway up the Torc Waterfall

The 20 meters high waterfall is formed by the Owengarriff River as it drains from the Devil's Punchbowl lough, a deep cirque high above in Mangerton Mountain.[8]

Torc Waterfall sits on a geological fault called the Muckross to Millstreet Fault Line. Torc Mountain consists of 400 million-year-old Devonian Old Red Sandstone, but the base around Muckross Lake is circa 100 million years younger and consists of Carboniferous Limestone. At some stage, after the limestone was deposited, a period of tectonic-plate collision occurred and the land under Torc was lifted up 3,000 metres, re-exposing the underlying older sandstone.[8]


Torc Waterfall is 4.3 miles (7 kilometres) from Killarney, and 1.6 miles (2.5 kilometres) from the gates of Muckross House, in the Killarney National Park.[9] The cascade is one of the main points on the 200-kilometre (120-mile) Kerry Way walking tour,[4] and a popular stop-off location on the larger Ring of Kerry tour.[1][10]

The waterfalls are a 200 metre walk from the car park (at V966847) just off the N71 road,[2][11] and the climb to the top of the waterfalls is by way of a stone path of about a hundred steps (and circa 55 metres in elevation gain), and takes around 30 minutes to complete.[1][8] Red deer are frequently seen and heard in the area.[10]

Steps up Cardiac Hill

Killarney National Park has a number of loop-trails around the Torc Waterfall of varying lengths, called the Blue, Yellow and Red Trails.[12] The Red Trail climbs Cardiac Hill (also called Huntsman's Hill or the Cardiac Steps), and involves climbing a very steep series of stone steps (the starting point is half a kilometre west of the waterfall car-park off the N71)[13] to an observation point and stone beehive hut, half-way up Torc Mountain at circa 300 metres (980 ft),[14] giving views of the Lakes of Killarney, and then looping back eastwards to join the Old Kenmare Road and descend via Torc Waterfall.[15]

A marked hiking trail also runs from the waterfall to the top of Torc Mountain 535 metres (1,755 ft) via the Old Kenmare Road, however, hikers can avoid Torc Waterfall and start from the upper car-park above the waterfall (at 55 metres, V967842), to complete the 8–kilometre 3 hour route to the summit of Torc Mountain and back.[1][10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h 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.
  2. ^ a b c "Torc Waterfall". Killarney National Park. Retrieved 17 December 2018. Torc Waterfall is 7 kilometres from Killarney Town and approx 2.5 kilometres from the motor entrance to Muckross House and is signposted from a carpark off the N71. A short walk of approx 200 metres brings you to the waterfall. From that point steps lead to another viewing point at a higher altitude that provides a view over the Middle Lake. The path is also part of the Kerry Way long distance walking route and a starting point for circular walking routes which are indicated by a map down at the start of the trail beside the car park. The waterfall which is approximately 20 metres high is at its best after heavy rainfall.
  3. ^ "(irish) Easach Toirc (genitive) Easach Toirc (english) Torc Waterfall". Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Killarney to Torc Waterfall". Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  5. ^ "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.
  6. ^ "Loop 10: Torc Waterfall". Discover Ireland. Retrieved 17 December 2018. Torc Waterfall – Mythical Landscapes
  7. ^ Donald E. Meek (July 1990). "THE DEATH OF DIARMAID IN SCOTTISH AND IRISH TRADITION" (PDF). Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.
  8. ^ a b c Jim Ryan (1 October 2012). Scenic Walks in Killarney. Collins Press. ISBN 978-1848891463. Walk 11: Torc Waterfall Circuit
  9. ^ Ireland for Dummies By Elizabeth Albertson, Liz Albertson p290
  10. ^ a b c 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
  11. ^ Frommer's Ireland Day by Day By Christi Daugherty, Jack Jewers p289
  12. ^ "Torc Trails". Killarney National Park. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
  13. ^ "Cardiac Hill, Torc Mountain". 18 February 2017. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
  14. ^ "Cardiac Steps & Torc Mountain". 26 March 2017.

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