Are you looking for a hike near Glenbeigh in Kerry? Hiking up Drung is a cultural experience. This route has views of Castlemaine Harbour, the Dingle Peninsula, the Blasket Islands, the Slieve Mish mountains and MacGillycuddy’s Reeks, but there is also a lot of history along the way.

During the Middle Ages, people from Kerry and other parts of Ireland gathered at the ogham stone on the summit of Drung as part of a pilgrimage, but by that time they were already part of an ancient tradition. Drung was probably a sacred site in pre-Christian Ireland as well. If you look at Ordnance Survey Ireland maps 70, 78, and 83, you will notice that the area around Drung is a hotbed for standing stones, megalythic tombs and ancient rock art. 

In the Middle Ages, Easter would have been a key time of year to undertake a pilgrimage. In our modern times, spring is a good time to reconnect with nature by going for a hike. To walk the old ways in the Reeks District is to be part of a tradition that stretches back centuries and connects people from many different historical periods. On Drung especially there are so many different views to remind you of the wonder of nature and the fact that history is always part of the landscape in this part of Ireland. 

Here are the top 10 things you can see from Drung:

1. The old stagecoach road

coach road Drung Mountain Stage
You can still see the wheel ruts in the old coach road on Drung.

In the 1700s, this part of the hike was a stagecoach road and the main route connecting South Kerry with the wider world. It was also used as a butter road where people transported firkins from South Kerry to the Butter Market in Cork in mule-drawn carts. The modern road was constructed in 1822.

2. The Great Southern and Western Railway

railway tunnel from Drung
The railway tunnel is just above the modern road near Mountain Stage.
Gleensk Viaduct

The Great Southern and Western Railway passed through Mountain Stage on the way to Valentia from Farranfore from 1892 until 1960. You can look down from the coach road and see a railroad tunnel just above the modern road. Further on, you can see the viaduct at Gleensk.

3.  Carrauntuohil, Ireland’s highest mountain 

Carrauntouhill with snow from Drung

4. Castlemaine Harbour and Rossbeigh Strand

When there’s a big swell, you can hear waves crashing from the stagecoach road.

You can also see Inch Strand across the harbour and the wetlands behind Rossbeigh where the Laune and Maine rivers meet.

5. South Kerry

South Kerry from Drung Mountain Stage

If you’re already planning your next adventure, there is also a walking route from Mountain Stage to Kells along the Kerry Way which continues along the coach road.

6. Standing Stone

standing stone Drung Mountain Stage

In past times, people navigated using standing stones and cairns.

7. The Blasket Islands, all the way off in West Kerry

8. Brandon over on the Dingle Peninsula

9. Beenmore and Teermoyle with deep combe lakes

Teermoyle mountain and lake from Drung

This area is part of Kerry’s Dark Sky Reserve, which means that you can go out star-gazing or try out astrophotography without light pollution getting in the way. You can also stand-up paddleboard at night on Lough Coomasaharn under the stars.

10. Summit cairn with views from the Slieve Mish to MacGillycuddy’s Reeks 

There is an ogham stone, trig point and cairn at the summit and panoramic views of South Kerry, West Kerry and the Reeks District.

If you really want to round off the stagecoach experience after this hike, have a meal in the Glenbeigh Hotel or the Bianconi in Killorglin. Both started out as stagecoach stops in the 1700s.

Read more stories on our Notes from the Reeks blog