Not originally on our itinerary, we had planned on doing Diamond Hill in Letterfrack but Arlene kept mentioning it so we decided it was on the way and that we could have a go.
Diamond Hill stands at 442m versus Croagh Patrick at 764metres. We read some reviews which told us many families make the trek with young kids, so we decided we would be fit for the mountain upgrade.
We arrived at the Croagh Patrick visitor centre to find to vans taller than 1.9m wouldn’t fit into the Carpark and had to head further down the road to find some lay by parking.
The visitor centre has toilets in the main car park, half way up the mountain and at the top, though they are currently closed.
We started the rocky ascent and it became quickly apparent that this was a very popular climb with lots of people heading in both directions.
Being used to friendly mountain walkers we were disappointed by the lack of greetings from our fellow hikers, though on the way down we found out that concentrating on your feet doesn’t allow for much conversation.
The terrain was slippy underfoot and very slow going in parts. We continued the ascent, arriving at what looked like some nice steps 3/4 of the way up the mountain.
Feeling smug walking up the steps versus the hikers dragging themselves up the other side of the mountain we climbed to the end of them. This is the point where it all went horribly wrong, the steps just stop and you are standing on a pile of rocks. You are scrambling up them on your hands and knees as every footstep makes the rocks move from under your feet and you fear sliding back down to the bottom on your bum. Pretty sure the other hikers were feeling rather smug at this point.
I completely freeze, my legs won’t move. I can’t go up or down, all I want to do is get off this mountain. It reminded me of my first time skiing when being the slowest I ended up solo and just stopped, just froze half way down the mountain.
Deciding going up is the better option I manage to keep going and move myself over to the other side of the mountain until I reach the top.
I understand this may all sound very dramatic, but it was! The fear was real, not helped by everyone close to me also having difficulties getting to the top.
Apparently pilgrims walk up here barefoot.
Once at the top we got a bit of a rest and were greeted with an excellent view of the little islands and were visited by some sheep, who seemed to have no trouble reaching the top.
We got the Instagram picture at the Croagh Patrick sign, then made our way back down the mountain.
This time I chose the right side, I’ll never make that mistake again, though I’m not sure I’ll ever return. Been there, done that.