The Story Behind The Photo: Fortress of the Fianna

This entry is part 2 of 19 in the series The Story Behind The Photo

The third photo in our series ‘The Story Behind The Photo’ comes from Piaras Kelly and it captures a moment of sheer beauty on Ireland’s highest mountain range.

Hill Walking in Kerry, Ireland

Piaras is an experienced mountaineer, walker and climber and runs a guiding and rock-climbing business called KerryClimbing. The adventure company is based in the South West and specialise in the McGillycuddy’s Reeks of Kerry but also cover the whole of Munster. The shot shows that you don’t have to have a gorgeous sunny day in the mountains to get amazingly beautiful views.

Piaras takes up the story….

This photo was the view that emerged as myself and a mate dropped off the summit of Corrán Tuathail onto the delightful jagged ridge running over to Ireland’s 3rd highest – Caher 1001m. Here lies another link to our ancient mythical past as Caher translates from Cathair na Féinne meaning “Fortress of the Fianna” and you can see why it was given such a name as through the thinning cloud its lower Eastern summit stands imposing.

It was Friday the 4th of November 2011 and we were completing the classic Coomloughra horseshoe in preparation for a traverse of this same route I was guiding two days later as part of my business for a group of 7 Northerners.

I remember we didn’t meet a single sole all day and even our companion and S.A.R.D.A Mountain rescue dog Lily had wallowed in the superb scrambling across the Binn Chaorach ridge. I remember we quickly scoffed a jammy scone behind the shelter fold on Corrán’s summit washed down with a tepid coffee and keen to be on our way had just struck the well-worn shale track heading West for our next objective when the light cold winds began to whip the clouds away in front of us and the impressive rugged bastion towered above…Truly a fortress of the Fianna….

Two days later and the group of 7 had to just take my word for it and through slits in their dripping hoods trudge on through the grey and wonder at what it must be like on a less miserable day….

Many thanks to Piaras and Kerry Climbing for sharing this picture with us. Kerry Climbing is a Guiding and adventure activity provider in Munster that offers a personal approach. The company will plan days to match your expectations whether you are learning to rock climb, climbing Howling Ridge or just want a gentle walk on a rugged hill.

Kerry Climbing will give you a head start in exploring this wonderful area.  Piaras Kelly is an experienced mountaineer and climber who has extensive knowledge of all of Munster’s mountains, but in particular the mountains of the South West. He has gained his knowledge not only through many years of climbing their slopes but also through his membership of the Kerry Mountain rescue team. He is a fully insured & qualified climbing instructor, wilderness first aid certified and is also an instructor in a cliff and coastal rescue unit of the Irish Coastguard. He treks and climbs in all seasons in Europe, Britain and Ireland.

You can read more about Kerry Climbing at