Frequently Asked Questions at Simon Stewart's Hillwalking in Ireland.

Hillwalking Clubs - where to find them.
Locations in Ireland - info about mountain places.
I live in X so please send me info
Information about long distance low-level trails.
Information about a b&b I stayed in.
Talk to me about GPS in Ireland
Advertising on this site.
Hillwalking Clubs - where to find them.
have just visited your site - looks great.  I was wondering if you could send me any information on hill walking clubs in Dublin.  I'm having no success finding one. I would really appreciate any guidance you could give me. Kind regards, Nessa Carson
Nessa .. The Mountaineering Council of Ireland site ( has lists of clubs.    There are listings by area there.  Ring the secretary.  Hillwaking embraces a wide range of age-groups and you may prefer to walk with people of your own age.  On the other hand many of the best organised clubs, with the greatest range of activities are run by older people.
Personally I am a member of two Dublin based clubs both listed there.  These are the Irish Ramblers Club which usually has a fairly formal set of entry requirements most years and the Wayfarers, who are less formal.  Most clubs do have some sort of requirement and you can find out what by phoning or emailing the secretary as listed.  Try to accurately gauge what your capabilities are.  If you haven't hillwalked before then this is not necessarily going to exclude you however you should mention it.  If you are requested to bring particular gear, then do so.  For example, many clubs simply will not allow you to walk in trainers and it is embarrassing for everyone for you to be turned away.  It's also embarrassing and irritating for everyone if you overstate your capabilities and trail behind the rest of the group.
Sorry, I was looking for a site to check locations of a book I am reading, "The Legend of Carrountoohill Cave", wondering if there were such a place, or an ancient town called Cahirciveen - Allen"
Allen .. Carrauntoohil is the highest mountain in Ireland.  Don't know about any cave.  Cahirciveen may be ancient but is today a thriving town in County Kerry with a legal future.  Why not use the Mountaineering Council of Ireland site ( which has a general forum to answer questions. Currently the direct link is or you can goto to the site and look at forums
Advertising on the website.
The website advertises or more exactly has links to various company's websites. The small amount of money from these offsets the costs of running the site. Is this a slippery slope towards commercialisation of the site? No. The links have low visual impact and are controlled and predictable. It is a good deal for this website.
hi simon, im interested in starting to hillwalk.i live in monaghan so please send me info of any walks you know of in my area . thanks.  eithne mckenna
Eithne - Here are some resources you could use:  
a.  Have a look at, and look at comments for your area and the bibliography for books.
b.  Get a 1:50000 ordnance survey map of the area.  Usually available in newsagents.
c.  Have a look at the commercial links section here for sites that specialise in guidebooks. 
I'm interested in long distance walking and hillwalking. I was wandering if there is a trail which combines both. I am looking for a trail or a combination of more trails to walk +/- 150 km in six days. Compare it with the West Highland Way or the GR20. What can you advise me? Thanks,   Chris Belmans
National Waymarked Way Committee (Republic) Web Includes a description of 31 ways in the Republic only.  Maps and map information see  East-West mapping for example have a selection of maps and guidebooks.
I am looking for a B&B in Kells, Co. Meath.  I think it is called the White Gables, they offer local walking tours.  I stayed there last year and would like to stay there again but cannot find the address or phone number.  the accommadations were very nice and the hostess great.  I think her name was Penny. Can you help? Name:   Patricia Sohler
Try the reservation service run by the Irish Tourist Board
I am interested in using a GPS system but know little about what system to use.

I understand that there are dedicated units available and I could also use a system connected to a PDA (such as the iPAQ).  Advantage of using a PDA is to reduce the cost by spreading to use to other purposes also.  Joe Kelly
I haven't tried a PDA/ GPS combo so I don't have direct experience. While there would be advantages given that the PDA is programmable etc, I would point out some obvious issues.  You need a device that will work with rain pouring over it for hours.  A dedicated GPS will do this, would a PDA? I have to admit I am prejudiced about PDAs anyway since I have never seen anyone who bought one use it for more than a few weeks. (Apart from an estate agent).  I deliberately bought a simple GPS unit myself (Garmin GPS72) because of the lack of maps of upland areas.  If it works ok for 3 years I will be happy and by then the scene may have changed. (Feb 2005, which it may be starting to, see below)
In 2006 I bought a Garmin GPS Gpsmap76 CSX. This has various improvements over the GPS72, though not as much as one might have hoped. It allows the upload of maps such as those in MountainViews (Resources section)   Another thing to do with your GPS and this will work with almost all units, is to upload information about summits into the device.   Most GPS units will accommodate 500 waypoints which is enough to include all of the summits for the whole of Ireland over 500m.  This is really out on the hills as often walks in Ireland consist of visiting a number of summits one after another.  If your GPS can do it you can include the list of summits over 400m (840 of them or so).  You can put the summits in as "POI" or points of interest instead of waypoints - generally this requires some manufacturers software.  All of this data can be obtained from and there is an article about using this data on the Walkers Association site here
Where can I source GPS devices and relevant software?
I got both of mine from the UK by internet.  There's a usenet group sci.geo.satellite.nav that's informative. I use a software package called GPSU.  The free download for this is useable and if you spend a bit you get some extra capacity. EasyGPS free, at may be easier to use for simple tasks and handles more waypoints per route than the free GPSU.
Are MAPS of Ireland available for uploading to PDAs and/or dedicated devices that will show position on map?
Not official or commercial ones for upland areas.  Unfortunately the maps available are all tightly controlled and haven't been made available for GPSs.  I understand this may change (Feb 2005).  

Take a look at where there are free maps for Ireland and Britain based on NASA SRTM (Shuttle data) and other US public data.  I haven't personally seen these. I have used NASA SRTM data for maps and it's ok but wouldn't have enough precision for maps of anything like the quality of the 1:50k OS maps.  Still, it may be much better than what is available now and worth getting a GPS with enough memory to support maps. Choose carefully as new product options are appearing often.

Regrettably the GPS units themselves are also full of proprietary restrictions.  (Why can't I just scan a map I have bought and stick it into the GPS?)  There is no open source of GPS units.  The community website I manage has downloadable GPS data for summits.  See article here about a new Garmin gps.

I have seen road maps and I understand they are available, but not very detailed by comparison with other countries.

Is it better/cheaper to buy devices in the USA and will they work (ie maps, etc) in Ireland?
Buying in the US may be advantageous but not by much when you have taken shipping, credit card insurance, duty etc into account.  In the case of my Garmin, it came preloaded with Euro data.  But much of this data was ridiculous for walking purposes, like the position of aircraft beacons.  I just deleted it.   I'd suggest the UK where there is more competition than here.
Using a GPS
The Walkers Association of Ireland is now organising a course on what they call "GPS and Modern Navigation." which includes use of GPS.

For simple day walking from summit to summit in your local area where you know the hazards and routes relatively simple, load the peaks from, mark where you start and go.  As you move enter the next summit in.  Find a way of carrying the GPS that means it's accessible at any time. Plan to have the GPS on continuously.

If you are less experienced or don't know the area you may find it useful to put in complete routes including many intermediate waypoints.  Because of the lack of in-built maps this means scanning a map and using a utility program such as GPSU or Gartrip to mark your route and then upload it to the GPS.

For day walking in Ireland always bring two (2) sets of charged backup batteries.  Always bring a map and compass and know how to use them.  

Frequently Asked Questions at Simon Stewart's Hillwalking in Ireland.