About Kerry Climbing

About Kerry Climbing

Family run with a fantastic team.

KerryClimbing is a family run business by Piaras and Catherine Kelly and their team of (the absolute best!!!) guides, instructors and staff.

Piaras has a genuine deep love and passion for the history, geography, ecology and folklore of the Reeks. He is deeply involved with the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks Mountain Access Project and holds the elected position of ‘Guides and Commercial Operators’ representative on this management committee/structure that is tasked with sustainably managing and looking after the area encompassing these mountains. 

Catherine has a keen involvement in mountains being a hill walker and mountaineer for 25 years and she has a long term involvement with training Mountain Rescue Dogs. Catherine & Piaras live in the shadow of the Reeks with their two children, Orlaith and Tiernan.

We’re ranked No. 1 on TripAdvisor out of ALL outdoor activities in Killarney and surrounds for the last 7 years running, so be assured you are booking with the very BEST!!!

KerryClimbing prides itself on offering a warm & personal approach. The first thing we do is listen to you. We like to plan activity days to match your own personal expectations, whether you would like to learn how to rock climb, wish to climb or hike up Carrauntoohil by its most difficult or more straightforward routes.

Perhaps you just fancy an informative and interesting guided stroll or hike in the beautiful Killarney National park or up some smaller oak forested rugged hill?  Local knowledge is the essential factor in making the most of your visit and we will give you a head start in exploring this wonderful area.

If you are planning a walking or climbing holiday in the South West of Ireland we have the flexibility to tailor days to suit you whether you are on your own, with a group of friends or as a family.

We have extensive experience of running safety and rescue backup for a variety of charity events, mountain events and challenges and organise the annual Ultimate High Peaks Challenge, which traverses sixteen of Ireland’s highest summits in one day.

Piaras Kelly

Introduced to a lifelong love of the outdoors from my scout leader parents I have been walking, scrambling and climbing now for over 25 years. I am a highly experienced mountaineer/climber, a Qualified Mountain Leader, Qualified Rock-Climbing Instructor, Multi-pitch climbing award holder and trainee Mountaineering Instructor and my greatest passion is for winter mountaineering and climbing.

I  have been extremely fortunate and privileged to have climbed in India, America, Norway, European Alps, the UK and extensively in Scotland in both summer and Winter. I am a winter climbing guide book author and sea kayaker. 

Growing up near Ballycotton in East Cork, I spent many years as an instructor with a cliff and coastal rescue unit of the Irish Coastguard and I currently serve as member and
Training Officer with the volunteer Kerry Mountain Rescue team. I am Cardiac First Responder and Emergency First Responder (EFR) and a longstanding member of Mountaineering Ireland (M.I)Mountain Training Association (M.T.A), and the Association of Mountaineering Instructors (A.M.I). 

Piaras Kelly Kerry Climbing

Piaras Kelly

Introduced to a lifelong love of the outdoors from my scout leader parents I have been walking, scrambling and climbing now for over 25 years. I am a highly experienced mountaineer/climber, a Qualified Mountain Leader, Qualified Rock-Climbing Instructor, Multi-pitch climbing award holder and trainee Mountaineering Instructor and my greatest passion is for winter mountaineering and climbing.

I  have been extremely fortunate and privileged to have climbed in India, America, Norway, European Alps, the UK and extensively in Scotland in both summer and Winter. I am a winter climbing guide book author and sea kayaker. 

Growing up near Ballycotton in East Cork, I spent many years as an instructor with a cliff and coastal rescue unit of the Irish Coastguard and I currently serve as member and
Training Officer with the volunteer Kerry Mountain Rescue team. I am Cardiac First Responder and Emergency First Responder (EFR) and a longstanding member of Mountaineering Ireland (M.I)Mountain Training Association (M.T.A), and the Association of Mountaineering Instructors (A.M.I). 

Piaras Kelly Kerry Climbing

Catherine Kelly

I have a strong connection with the mountains, being keen walker and mountaineer for over 25 years. I have climbed throughout Ireland, The Dolomites of Italy and numerous Winter trips to Scotland and Norway.

Originally from Co. Cork I spent a number of years as a member of the Irish Coastguard Cliff and Coastal Rescue Team in Ballycotton and am a long-standing member of the Search and Rescue Dog Association (SARDA Ireland). Previously an operational search dog handler with my much loved Mountain Rescue dog Lily who passed away 6 years ago, I now have 2 pet collies Liath and Belle who I am not currently working but am constantly training!  I travel within Ireland and internationally as an assessor for N.S.A.R.D.A. dog teams.

With an extensive background in Customer Service & Marketing, I manage the bookings, social media and marketing side of the business and am always keen to assist in planning an adventure!

Catherine Kelly Kerry Climbing

Catherine Kelly

I have a strong connection with the mountains, being keen walker and mountaineer for over 25 years. I have climbed throughout Ireland, The Dolomites of Italy and Winter trips to both Scotland and Norway.

Originally from Co. Cork I spent a number of years as a member of the Irish Coastguard Cliff and Coastal Rescue Team in Ballycotton and am a long-standing member of the Search and Rescue Dog Association (SARDA Ireland). Previously an operational search dog handler with my much loved Mountain Rescue dog Lily who passed away 6 years ago, I now have 2 pet collies Liath and Belle who I am not currently working but am constantly training!

I travel within Ireland and internationally as an assessor for N.S.A.R.D.A. dog teams. With an extensive background in Customer Service & Marketing, I manage the bookings, social media and marketing side of the business and am always keen to assist in planning an adventure!

Catherine Kelly Kerry Climbing

Orlaith Kelly

I have been walking in the various mountains of Munster since I was knee high! I first climbed to the summit of Corrán Tuathail when I was aged 9, I am now 13 and I have climbed it over 80 times since along with the majority of the other Reeks summits. 

I have completed my Mountain Skills I and Mountain Skills II Courses. I have climbed the highest peak in each of the 4 Provinces of Ireland and have also climbed in Scotland in Winter.

Just this year I completed the Carn Mor Dearg Arete to the summit of Ben Nevis and the Aonach Eagach Ridge in Glencoe, both in Winter conditions. I have definitely got the mountain bug from my Mom and Dad! I really enjoy assisting on guided hikes and hope to complete my Mountain Skills assessment soon and go on to become a Mountain Leader in the not too distant future. In my spare time I like kayaking, horse-riding, cycling and baking.

Orlaith Kelly

I have been walking in the various mountains of Munster since I was knee high! I first climbed to the summit of Corrán Tuathail when I was aged 9, I am now 13 and I have climbed it over 80 times since along with the majority of the other Reeks summits. 

I have completed my Mountain Skills I and Mountain Skills II Courses. I have climbed the 4 highest peaks in each Province of Ireland and have climbed in Scotland in Winter.

Just this year I completed the CMD Arete on Ben Nevis and the  Aonach Eagach Ridge in Glencoe, both in Winter conditions. I have definitely got the mountain bug from my Mom and Dad! I really enjoy assisting on guided hikes and hope to complete my Mountain Skills assessment soon and go on to become a Mountain Leader in the not too distant future. In my spare time I like kayaking, horse-riding, cycling and baking.

Mike Ward

Growing up in north-east Galway where the highest point, Mount Mary is a modest 160 meters. I spent many years traversing the country working as a Forester and an opportunity to climb Mount Brandon via the Tralee Mountaineering Club would be my first real climb. Countless mountaineering trips later an opportunity to join Kerry Mountain Rescue team was taken on board.

I have been guiding for KerryClimbing for almost 10 years – a company dedicated to care of the mountains and the people eager to explore them.

Mike Ward

Growing up in north-east Galway where the highest point, Mount Mary is a modest 160 meters. I spent many years traversing the country working as a Forester and an opportunity to climb Mount Brandon via the Tralee Mountaineering Club would be my first real climb. Countless mountaineering trips later an opportunity to join Kerry Mountain Rescue team was taken on board.

I have been guiding for KerryClimbing for almost 10 years – a company dedicated to care of the mountains and the people eager to explore them.

Neil Antcliff

Born and raised in Sheffield, I was hillwalking from an early age, inevitably drawn to climbing on the grit and limestone of the Peak District. Outdoor activities became a passion as I progressed through the Scout Movement and travelled throughout the UK, mountain climbing and rock climbing as well as working on activity centres and selling outdoor equipment in my teenage years.

In college, competition climbing became possible. 
Trained as a teacher/lecturer after University, I gained my Mountain Leader Award and was a Gold Trainer and Assessor for the Duke Of Edinburgh Award. 

My work as an artist initially brought me across to Ireland and visiting friends in Killarney inspired me to move into the mountains where I now happily guide for Kerry Climbing.

Neil Antcliff

Born and raised in Sheffield, I was hillwalking from an early age, inevitably drawn to climbing on the grit and limestone of the Peak District. Outdoor activities became a passion as I progressed through the Scout Movement and travelled throughout the UK, mountain climbing and rock climbing as well as working on activity centres and selling outdoor equipment in my teenage years.

In college, competition climbing became possible. 
Trained as a teacher/lecturer after University, I gained my Mountain Leader Award and was a Gold Trainer and Assessor for the Duke Of Edinburgh Award. 

My work as an artist initially brought me across to Ireland and visiting friends in Killarney inspired me to move into the mountains where I now happily guide for Kerry Climbing.

Keith Wharton

I’ve been guiding with KerryClimbing now for the past 5 years. I’ve been on the hills since the early age of 11 and am a member of the Kerry Mountain Rescue Team for the last 9 years. I’ve climbed In Scotland (Winter), Tanzania, The Tetons in Wyoming as well as the French and Swiss Alps. I’ve done a few marathons and was a member of the reserve defense force for 4 years.

When not in the mountains, I enjoy travel, fishing, gardening and chilling! 

Keith Wharton

I’ve been guiding with KerryClimbing now for the past 5 years. I’ve been on the hills since the early age of 11 and am a member of the Kerry Mountain Rescue Team for the last 9 years. I’ve climbed In Scotland (Winter), Tanzania, The Tetons in Wyoming as well as the French and Swiss Alps. I’ve done a few marathons and was a member of the reserve defense force for 4 years.

When not in the mountains, I enjoy travel, fishing and gardening and chilling! 

Gerry Christie

A native of Meath, I have spent most of my life (I am no spring chicken) in Kerry – my mother’s native place. I am a retired scientist and have been climbing for 35 years, mostly in Kerry but I have ventured to Scotland frequently – the Black Cullins on Skye being a particular favourite.

Beyond that I have also trekked in Nepal, & climbed in Ecuador achieving an altitude record, 6263m on Chimborazo. A traverse of South Georgia in the footsteps of Tom Crean also features on my mountaineering CV. 

Guiding for Kerry Climbing, I enjoy safely revealing the Kingdom’s higher corners to curious connoisseurs.

Gerry Christie

A native of Meath, I have spent most of my life (I am no spring chicken) in Kerry – my mother’s native place. I am a retired scientist and have been climbing for 35 years, mostly in Kerry but I have ventured to Scotland frequently – the Black Cullins on Skye being a particular favourite.

Beyond that I have also trekked in Nepal, & climbed in Ecuador achieving an altitude record, 6263m on Chimborazo. A traverse of South Georgia in the footsteps of Tom Crean also features on my mountaineering CV. 

Guiding for Kerry Climbing, I enjoy safely revealing the Kingdom’s higher corners to curious connoisseurs.

Maureen Hegarty

Being a proud Kerry person, Irish dancing teacher and adjudicator and walking tour guide with a passion for travel and the outdoors, I joined the Kerry Climbing office team in 2018.

In my spare time, I enjoy nothing more than hiking and climbing the Kerry hills and mountains. My love of travel keeps me busy, but they do have to tie me to the office chair occasionally!

Maureen Hegarty

Being a proud Kerry person, Irish dancing teacher and adjudicator and walking tour guide with a passion for travel and the outdoors, I joined the Kerry Climbing office team in 2018.

In my spare time, I enjoy nothing more than hiking and climbing the Kerry hills and mountains. My love of travel keeps me busy, but they do have to tie me to the office chair occasionally!

We are an award winning company and are extremely proud to be awarded Ireland’s “Adventure Tour Operator of the Year 2017”  by the prestigious publication – Luxury Travel Guide. The Luxury Travel Awards recognise and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the affluent travel and tourism industry. Their team of experts scoured the globe and travelled extensively in order to identify the very best and most reputable service companies in the field of tourism and they signalled out KerryClimbing as being truly exceptional in what we do.

LTG Winner
Kerryman Awards
Trip advisor Award of Excellence

We also are extremely proud to be chosen as winner of  the –  “BEST OUTDOOR/INDOOR ADVENTURE EXPERIENCE” in the Kerryman Business Awards 2017 which were created to reward endeavour across business models from retail and tourism, to the services and recreational sectors.  We were also one of only three finalists in the over all BEST TOURISM AWARDS! This Award gives recognition to and promotes people, companies and organisations that have made significant contributions to developing, marketing, selling and delivering improved visitor experiences in the region.

In 2018 we again were chosen as finalists for Kerryman Business Awards, this  year in the category of “BEST CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE”

We were really humbled to be recognised two years running in such a high profile awards shortlist.

We are also immensely proud to be ranked #1 on TripAdvisor out of ALL outdoor activities in Killarney for 7 years running and being awarded a place in their renowned “Hall of Fame”.  Spend a day climbing or trekking with us and you will understand why!!!

Some may try to imitate what we do, but they can't imitate our passion for what we do!