Kerry Way, 12-day Walking Tour

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The Iveragh Peninsula may be the most visited region in Ireland, but instead of driving the famous Ring of Kerry we invite you to explore this breathtakingly beautiful place on foot.

The north side of the peninsula mirrors the old red sandstone of the Dingle Peninsula, gradually changing as you venture south to the limestone crags of the Beara Peninsula. Long sandy beaches on the north side give way to rocky inlets and coves. The climate is warm and temperate, allowing sub-tropical plants to flourish.

The glaciated Lakes of Killarney have been long famous as a tourist destination and are the centre of the Killarney National Park, home to native oak woods, birch, beech and one of the last remaining herd of red deer. Beyond the Park boundaries, trails become sheep paths, old droving and butter roads and formed forest tracks. There are no great ascents but there are some long and challenging days. This is not a route for the faint hearted, or the first time hiker!

Walking the Ring of Kerry offers a chance to see Bronze Age forts, early Christian remains and a 6th century monastic settlement. This tour is the perfect blend of bustling towns with plenty of options for tourists and rural villages when you seek the quieter side of Ireland.

The Kerry Way provides 215km (135mi) of remote valleys, expansive coastline and beautiful historic villages.

What's Included

Price Includes

  • Bed and Breakfast in comfortable, friendly, locally-run Guest Houses
  • Daily Luggage Transfers
  • Detailed Route Notes, Maps & GPX Tracks
  • 24/7 Support Line
  • Where to Eat & Regional Reading List
  • Packing List, Travel Advice & more!

Optional Extras

  • Airport Transfers
  • Day Trips & Excursions
  • Extended or Customised Itineraries

Per Person Sharing Room €1155

Single Supplement +€385

Solo Traveller Price €1760

Tour Highlights

The 12 day tour consists of 9 full days walking on the complete route starting and finishing in Killarney. The tour starts through remote Black Valley to Glenbeigh via Glencar. It then follows the northern coastline to Caherciveen before turning south to Waterville and then following the spectacular southern coastline through Sneem to Kenmare. The route finsihes by ascending from Kenmare and descending to Killarney through Killarney National Park. A free day at the western end of the peninsula can be used to explore Valencia Island or to visit the magnificent Skellig Islands.

  • Seefin & Knocknadobar mountains, Derrymore Valley & Rosbeigh Beach
  • Seaside villages & views of Valentia Island
  • Derrynane House & Gardens, home of Daniel O’Connell “The Liberator”
  • Dromore Castle & colourful market town of Kenmare
  • 18th century Muckross House & Gardens & lunch at Lord Brandon’s
  • Magillicuddy Reeks & Carrauntohill, Ireland’s highest mountain
  • Chance to visit Valentia or Skellig Islands
  • More time to walk through Killarney National Park

Itinerary

Day 1 - Travel to Killarney

From Cork or Shannon airports, travel by bus to Killarney. The town is world renowned for the unsurpassed beauty of its setting on the shores of Lough Leane.  It is an interesting place to stay, with plenty to see and do.

Overnight accommodation in Killarney.

Day 2 - Killarney to Black Valley

Follow the lake shore through Killarney National Park, passing Muckross House & Gardens, Torc Waterfall, and through native oak forests. The Way is well marked and a pleasant start to the tour. Lunch at Lord Brandon’s Cottage at the head of the Upper Lake before entering the remote Black valley – the last place in Ireland to be electrified in 1967.

Distance 22km (14mi). Ascents 400m (1,312ft). Approximate walking time 7 hours.

Overnight in Black Valley farm guesthouse. Dinner will be in your guesthouse.

Day 3 - Black Valley to Glencar

Old green roads and mountain sheep country, under the magnificent Magillicuddy Reeks and Carrauntohill, Ireland’s highest mountain. The Black Valley passes into the Bridia Valley and mountain farming communities are all that are to be found here. Old roads from settlements go by the magnificent Lough Acoose under the Reeks to Glencar on the Caragh River.

Distance 21km (13mi). Ascents 620m (2,034ft). Approximate walking time 7 hours.

Overnight accommodation in Glencar.

Day 4 - Glencar to Glenbeigh

Start through the old woodlands of Glencar and lovely Blackstones Bridge. The route climbs above Caragh Lake then crosses Seefin Mountain via the Windy Gap with views of Dingle Bay. Descend through the Cummergorm Glen to the seaside village of Glenbeigh.

Distance 12.5km (8mi). Ascent 350m (1,148ft). Approximate walking time 4 hours.

Overnight accommodation in Glenbeigh.

Day 5 - Glenbeigh to Foilmore/Caherciveen

Your route passes under Seefin mountain with stunning views over the magnificent Rosbeigh Beach and Dingle Bay. The route turns inland at Drung Hill before walking through the Foilmore valley overlooked by the majestic Knocknadobar.

Distance 19km (12m) or 25.5km (16mi). Ascents up to 470m. Approximate walking time 6-8 hours.

Shorter route is possible by taking a transfer from Foilmore/Srugreana.

Total distance varies according to where your accommodation is located.

Overnight accommodation in Foilmore/Caherciveen.

Day 6 – Free Day in Caherciveen

Free day in Caherciveen with a number of options. Take a ferry to Valentia Island and walk on the island (11km/7mi). Take a boat trip from Portmagee to the Unesco heritage site at the Skellig Islands (45 minutes, fare not included); spectacular scenery with 5th century monastic remains perched on the Atlantic edge.

Overnight accommodation in Foilmore/Caherciveen.

Day 7 – Caherciveen to Waterville

Walk through the Caherciveen hinterland. The route passes through turf bogs and pine forest. Some short climbs give views over Valentia Island and the stunning scenery of the western end of the peninsula. Waterville is a colourful coastal village, bounded by a long white beach and the lovely Lough Currane.

Distance 20.5km (13mi). Ascents 520m (1,706ft). Approximate walking time 7.5 hours.

Total distance varies according to where your accommodation is located, Foilmore or Caherciveen.

Overnight accommodation in Waterville village.

Day 8 – Waterville to Caherdaniel

A wonderfully scenic route rounding to the south side of the peninsula. The distance is short and there is time to take a detour at Derrynane and visit Derrynane House and Gardens, home of Daniel O’Connell known as ‘The Liberator’ who was the father of Catholic Emancipation during the 19th century.

Distance 15km (9mi). Ascents 320m (1,040ft). Approximate walking time 5 hours.

Overnight accommodation in Caherdaniel village.

Day 9 – Caherdaniel to Sneem

Walk on the old “Butter road” – from where butter was transported by cart to Cork in the 19th century. The Way climbs again on the foothills of Eagle Hill and a short detour takes you to the 3rd century, stone built Staigue Fort. Your route stays above the main Ring of Kerry road, following rocky paths through sheep country to Sneem.

Distance 16.5km (10mi). Ascents 370m (1,214ft). Approximate walking time 6 hours.

Overnight accommodation in Sneem.

Day 10 – Sneem to Kenmare

This walk takes you along the rocky shoreline of Kenmare Bay, easy walking through forest and the estate of Dromore Castle. The delightful Blackwater Bridge spans the Blackwater River coming from high in the Macgillycuddy Reeks. Kenmare is an interesting and colourful market town, on the banks of the Roughty River where it opens up into Kenmare Bay. It was founded in 1670 and settled by Englishmen, who built a prosperous fishing industry and an ironworks.

Distance 28.5km (18mi). Ascents 600m (1,969ft). Approximate walking time 9.5 hours.

Shorter option: Distance 15.5km (10mi). Ascents 340m (1,115ft). Approximate walking time 5.5 hours.

Overnight accommodation in Kenmare.

Day 11 – Kenmare to Killarney

Walk on the “Old Kenmare Road” a delightful pass at 500m between Peakeen & Knockanaguish mountains. Descend through Killarney National Park, old oak forests, lichens, red deer, views over the Lakes of Killarney. The end of the Way passes 18th century Muckross House and Gardens and into the tourist town of Killarney.

Distance 25km (16mi). Ascents 460m (1,509ft). Approximate walking time 6.5 hours.

Overnight accommodation in Killarney.

Day 12 – Depart from Killarney

Depart by bus or train from Killarney.

Map

REVIEWS

July 2021 – Jim, California

We are leaving Killarney today, I just wanted to thank you for everything.  We had an incredible walk along the Kerry Way.  Everything was perfect.  We loved the variety of b & b’s along the way and all of the owners were wonderful to work with. We could not be happier.

May 2019 – Joan & Vincent, Newfoundland & BC, Canada

Thank you for the very organized holiday!!!   We didn’t have to worry about a thing, the B&B’s were all pleasant and clean, good food!!!!  The trails were as well marked as can be expected, I would prefer more markers but that’s just me.  I know its not plausible to have markers every 50 metres.
Hope to do another tour in a few years, I’ll recommend your company to everybody I tell my holiday stories to.

As promised, a short summary of my trip: fantastic!
Thank you so much for the organisation, I had fabulous four weeks and I enjoyed every single day with no exception, I even cannot tell what was best.
All BnBs were good choices, but of course, some were better than others; my favorites are Failte Farmhouse (Catherine is wonderful), Derrynane Bay House and Rowan Tree. Anyway, I’m already thinking of doing the next walk next spring, so be prepared 🙂 or give me some suggestions!!

August 2019 – Henk & Laura, Utrecht, The Netherlands

We would like to tell you that our walking holiday was a great succes. We enjoyed every day. No problems of any kind. The owners/landlady’s of the B&B’s were very nice and we had good conversations with them. We admire the way they do their business, especially those in farmhouses. They work hard for a living!

May 2019 – Maria + 5 friends, NY

Just want to thank you for planning such a great trip for us.  We had a wonderful time and all of the arrangements/accommodations were terrific.  You even managed to get us good weather.  Most of all, the people of Ireland were friendly, kind and funny.

June 2019 – Miriam, Karlsfeld, Germany

THANK YOU SOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH for all the organizations and preparations that made my holidays work out so well. Starting off with a whole week of pure sunshine, was so special and I kept thinking to myself: “what are people telling about the weather in Ireland”!? I had a wonderful time and I´m sure I will come back

August 2019 – Colin & Mike, Toronto, Canada

I have been meaning to write to tell you that my friend Mike and I really enjoyed the walk on The Kerry Way. After some rain the first few days, it started to clear up, and there was sunshine and blue skies for the last couple of days.  The scenery along the trail was fabulous, and the trip to the Skellig Islands was quite an adventure. All of the B&Bs were very good, but special note goes to Mrs. Morris at Failte Farmhouse. She was very welcoming and even offered to do our laundry! All in all, it was a great trip. Thanks very much!

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