Options and Cost:

  • 5 Day – €470 pps Single supplement: + €135
  • 8 Day – €635 pps Single supplement: + €235
  • 9 Day – €715 pps Single supplement: + €265
  • 11 Day – €815 pps Single supplement: + €330

Deposit of just 25% required when booking.

The Kerry Way – Ireland

Self Guided Walk on the Kerry Way in Ireland
Tour Description

The Kerry Way is a long distance trail in the south West of Ireland on the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry.

The trail is over 200Km in length making it one of the longest self guided routes and one of the most popular.The Kerry Way Map

The trail is walked traditionally in an anti clockwise direction starting and finishing at the very popular town of Killarney.

Killarney is one of Ireland’s most visited parts of the country and extremely popular with tourists. Its not hard to see why when you visit this area for yourself with the Lakes of Killarney and the high peaks sitting behind them given this small town one of the most spectacular backdrops. The National park is also here as well as Muckross house, endless pubs and restaurants playing Irish music and Jarveys (Horse Carts) offering lifts around the lakes and park. This place is really alive during the summer months and a great place to start any walk from.

There are also many other fine small towns along the way such as Sneem, where I suggest you visit a small Deli to get some local cheeses and a great sandwich for your days walk.  Then there is Waterville where Charlie Chaplin used to bring all his family for holidays as he used to love doing some sea fishing here. Of course you could stop here and visit the Skellig Islands of the coast of Kerry, which were once an ancient monastery during the 6th to 9th centuries and more recently the film location of Star Wars and the last Jedi. With its ancients ruins, spectacular beaches, small towns and fine hills the Kerry Way really is a great trail.

We have broken down this trail into manageable stages for you. Allowing approx between 20 – 25Km per day.


Included in costs

  •     Friendly and family run guest Houses and B+Bs (Irish Tourism Board Approved)
  •     Detailed maps,  Water Proof Map Cover
  •     The Kerry Way Book with interesting facts of areas visited and route descriptions.
  •     Luggage Transfer each day.
  •     Phone support along the way.(Accommodations and pickup numbers)
  •     All Information on public transport required will be given.

Optional Extras:

  • Tours to the Skellig or Valentia Islands can be organized along the way.
  • Extra accommodation before and after your trip.
  • Pickup from Shannon / Kerry Airports.

Cancellation Policy:

  • A cancellation fee of 100% applies for cancellations made less than 2 weeks in advance, or in case of no-show.
  • A cancellation fee of 50% applies for cancellations made less than 4 weeks in advance.
  • No cancellation fee applies for cancellations made 4 weeks or more in advance.
Itineraries

Self Guided Walks on the Kerry Way in Ireland

5 Day Walk on the Kerry Way – Ireland – €470pps Single supplement: + €135

Day 1: Arrive Killarney – receive notes, maps books.
Day 2: Killarney to Black Valley, Distance 22Km, Ascent 400m – 6hrs
Day 3: Black Valley to Glencar, Distance 20Km, Ascent 500m – 8 hours
Day 4: Glencar to Glenbeigh, Distance 18Km, Ascent 420m – 5 hours
Day 5: Depart Glenbeigh by public transport.


8 Day Walk on the Kerry Way – Ireland – €635pps Single supplement: + €235

Day 1: Arrive Killarney – receive notes, maps books.
Day 2: Killarney to Black Valley, Distance 22Km, Ascent 400m – 6hrs
Day 3: Black Valley to Glencar, Distance 20Km, Ascent 500m – 8 hours
Day 4: Glencar to Glenbeigh, Distance 18Km, Ascent 420m – 5 hours
Day 5: Glenbeigh to Caherciveen, Distance 28Km, Ascent 450m – 8 hours
Day 6: Caherciveen to Waterville, Distance 22km, Ascent 270m – 6hrs
Day 7: Waterville to Caherdaniel, Distance 13km, Ascent 300m – 5 hours
Day 8:Depart for Killarney by Public transport

You could also stay the night in Waterville and visit the Skelligs,
You would need to let us know so we can pre-book this trip for you, and then the tour is weather dependent.


9 Day Walk on the Kerry Way – Ireland – €715pps Single supplement: + €265

Day 1: Arrive Killarney – receive notes, maps books.
Day 2: Killarney to Black Valley, Distance 22Km, Ascent 400m – 6hrs
Day 3: Black Valley to Glencar, Distance 20Km, Ascent 500m – 8 hours
Day 4: Glencar to Glenbeigh, Distance 18Km, Ascent 420m – 5 hours
Day 5: Glenbeigh to Caherciveen, Distance 28Km, Ascent 450m – 8 hours
Day 6: Caherciveen to Waterville, Distance 22km, Ascent 270m – 6hrs
Day 7: Waterville to Caherdaniel, Distance 13km, Ascent 300m – 5 hours
Day 8: Caherdaniel to Sneem, Distance 19km, Ascent 400m – 7 hours
Day 9: Depart for Killarney by public transport


11 Day Walk on the Kerry Way – Ireland – €815pps Single supplement: + €330

Day 1: Arrive Killarney – receive notes, maps books.
Day 2: Killarney to Black Valley, Distance 22Km, Ascent 400m – 6hrs
Day 3: Black Valley to Glencar, Distance 20Km, Ascent 500m – 8 hours
Day 4: Glencar to Glenbeigh, Distance 18Km, Ascent 420m – 5 hours
Day 5: Glenbeigh to Caherciveen, Distance 28Km, Ascent 450m – 8 hours
Day 6: Caherciveen to Waterville, Distance 22km, Ascent 270m – 6hrs
Day 7: Waterville to Caherdaniel, Distance 13km, Ascent 300m – 5 hours
Day 8: Caherdaniel to Sneem, Distance 19km, Ascent 400m – 7 hours
Day 9: Sneem to Kenmare, Distance 23km, Ascent 520m – 8 hours
Day 10: Kenmare to Killarney, Distance 26km, Ascent 630m – 7 hours
Day 11: Depart Killarney

Route Discription

The Kerry Way – Ireland in Stages

Killarney to Black Valley, Distance 22Km, Ascent 400m

The official start of the Kerry Way is at the Tourist Office in the town of Killarney. Walk south along the Muckross Road,  a stretch of hotels and B&B’s, crossing the River Flesk, and walk a gravel road which you’ll share with horse-drawn jaunting cars!

Enter the Bourn Vincent Memorial Park, Skirt the edge of Castlelough Bay with wonderful views across Lough Leane to the Shehy Mountains as you hike towards the Victorian townhouse and gardens of Muckross House and then on to the foot of Torc waterfall.

A steep climb for 80m by the waterfall, where we join the old Kenmare road dating back to medieval times – the original Ring of Kerry Road!

Following this old cobbled road with Mangerton and Torc mountains on either side and the Owengarriff river for several kms, through the Esknamucky Glen to Galways Bridge.

  • Watch out for: The highest mountain, Carrauntoohill (1039m) in front of you.
  • Standing stone: Situated on the West side of the mediaeval road. Around half a kilometre from the supposed position of the destroyed Gortroe Circle, this stone is intriguing. Most standing stones in Kerry are tall and thin or quite substantial, it is more usual to find stones of this shape as part of five stone circles. Its position, having been left standing at the edge of the road implies that it was treated with some respect by the road builders and may be a circle remnant.

Soon after passing through Esknamucky Glen, a beautiful dense oak forest is reached with dense moss carpeting the rocks beneath. A reasonably steep descent sees the Kerry Way meet a tarmac road. The trail forks with Galway’s Bridge and Black Valley to the right and north.

This stretch is very tranquil through the wild moorland, oakwoods and Lakes of Killarney national park and Lord Brandon’s Cottage.

  • At Galway’s bridge, there is the quaint Derrycunihy Church, now bricked up, dating back to the 19th

The trail gently descends to the valley floor, with Purple Mountain and Tomies Mountain to the north. In front of you is the Upper Lake of Killarney and Ross Castle in the distance. Following the gravel path for 2 kms, you will come to Lord Brandon’s Cottage where light refreshments can be purchased but can be quite busy during the summer season. The Kerry Way now crosses a beautiful six-arch bridge over the Gearhameen River and gently climbs 40m over the final 3km to the Hostel in the Black Valley.

Black Valley to Glencar, Distance 20Km, Ascent 500m – 8 hours

The way out of the Black Valley ascends with fine views of Bridia Valley ahead.

Watch out for: Walkers will need to be careful on a couple of steep and bouldery descents from the two passes on this section. The route follows quiet tarmac and gravel roads, as well as paths through forest, and fields.

Take in views to the wide Caragh River Valley and the range of hills beyond, dominated by the tilted triangular peak of Mulaghanattin (773m).

With a further kilometer on the road leading to Maghanlawaun, you may be greatly surprised to come across the Cooky Monster’s Café in this remotest of places!

Once you reach the head of the pass, you will have a fabulous view of Lough Acoose at the end of the valley ahead of you, with views beyond to the Dingle Peninsula, western Reeks and Carrauntoohil, Ireland’s highest mountain (1,039m).

The Kerry way follows the flank of Lough Acoose and reaches the main road to Glencar.

Glencar to Glenbeigh, Distance 18Km, Ascent 420m – 5 hours

Start from The Climbers Inn, the trail out of the town follows the road and meaders along quiet boreens and forestry paths through the Glencar Valley. You will have fabulous views of The McGillycuddy Reeks, Seefin Mountain and Lough Carragh.

  • Bothair (Bow-her) is the Irish for road and boreen is a small road – een being the diminutive in the Irish language.

This rough path eventually reaches a Gortdirragh, where the Kerry Way reaches a T-Junction. The left turn is the direct path to Glenbeigh with a 100m climb to the saddle at The Windy Gap with views of Rossbeigh, Inch Strand and The Dingle Peninsula.

1km of rough trail descends to meet a boreen at Gowlane, where the final 2km of tarmac road lead to the centre of Glenbeigh.

Glenbeigh to Caherciveen, Distance 28Km, Ascent 450m – 8 hours

This section of the Kerry Way is a strenuous 7 to 10 hour (28 km) walking route along quiet back roads and gentle ascents with stunning views of Dingle Bay and Peninsula from mountain stage on the slopes on Drung Hill (640m), through woodland and finishing on quiet county roads to Cahersiveen.

  • The field systems – The seaweed was used to make formerly worthless land arable. (Seaweed is a natural source of potash—it’s organic farming, before it was trendy.)
  • Look above at the patches of land slowly made into farmland by the inhabitants of this westernmost piece of Europe. Rocks were cleared and piled into fences. Sand and seaweed were laid on the clay, and in time it was good for grass. The created land, if at all tillable, was generally used for growing potatoes; otherwise, it was only good for grazing. Much has fallen out of use now.
  • You can see more good examples of land reclamation, patch by patch, climbing up the hillside.

Day 6: Caherciveen to Waterville, Distance 22km, Ascent 270m

Rejoin the Kerry Way at Teeraha. The trail leads up along a ridge of small hills and gradually up to some higher peaks of over 300 metres. Descending again, the trail leads along minor roads to Mastergeehy and on towards Coomduff.

  • Watch out for: Standing on the summit of Coomduff, the views to the north are of Aghatubride, Foilclogh and Beenduff. The south-east is dominated by Coomcallee. Lough Currane is to the south-west with Mullaghbeg, Cahernageeha and Farraniaragh Mountains forming the backdrop. Waterville can be seen on the western horizon with Ballinskelligs Bay and the Atlantic Ocean beyond it.

The following 7km of rough terrain and track brings you up and over Knag Hill and down into the pretty seaside village of Waterville.

Waterville to Caherdaniel, Distance 13km, Ascent 300m – 5 hours

Starting from the Tourist Office (open in Summer), the first 1km of the Kerry Way passes a statue of Charlie Chaplin who was a frequent visit to Waterville back in the day. After travelling the length of the promenade, the trail crosses the Currane River.

Watch out for: A low lying building on your left was once the only Club Mediterranee hotel in these islands.

We share the next 3kms with the ‘Ring of Kerry Cycle Route’ along a quiet back road. The road heads out in the direction of Hogs Head, passing many holiday homes facing out across Ballinskelligs Bay to Bolus Head and the Skelligs.

  • Watch out for: Old stone forts litter the landscape with Loher Fort being the most prominent. Irish: An Lóthar built by a local chieftain in the early 9th century has dry stone walls up to 3m high in places.
  • Study the top fields, untouched since the planting of 1845, when the potatoes didn’t grow, but rotted in the ground. The faint vertical ridges of the potato beds can still be seen—a reminder of the famine.

As you turn the corner, more stunning views are ahead of you – Derrynane Bay, Lamb’s Head, and a number of islands including Deenish and Scariff.

The final 2.5kms passes through ancient native forest in Derrynane National Park before arriving in Caherdaniel.

Caherdaniel to Sneem, Distance 19km, Ascent 400m – 7 hours

This is a quite pleasant walk along ” green roads” , part of it being the Old Kenmare Road (we started from Killarney on this old medieval track) with boggy pasture around and views south over the Kenmare River Bay towards Bantry.

  • Watch out for Staigue Fort enroute: This ancient ring fort is well worth the small detour and is highly recommended. Staigue is an iron age fort, 1km off the track in quiet countryside. The drystone walls are 30 mtrs in diameter, 4 mtrs thick and 5 mtrs high! An intriguing system of diagonal runs of steps is leading to the top of the wall.

The next 1½km follows the hedge-lined road to a beautiful old stone bridge which spans the Staigue River. The next 2kms follows what was once an old stagecoach road and rises over 100m but can be quite boggy in places. Views over Staigue below you and across the Kenmare River, Kilcatherine and Cod’s Head can be seen on the Beara Peninsula.

Following the signposts through forests, over hills and along boreens and even along the Ring of Kerry (N70) in places, the final 2.5km follows a quiet back road into the colourful village of Sneem.

Sneem to Kenmare, Distance 23km, Ascent 520m – 8 hours

This penultimate section of the Kerry Way is one of the longest but, luckily, one of the flattest.  Leaving Sneem behind, the route heads south east towards the 19th c estate of Parknasilla and through various types of oak, birch and holly, all mixed with the ubiquitous rhododendron.

After about 2.5km, you will arrive at the dormant village of Tahilla which was once a busy fishing village. The trail gradually gains height along Lough Fadda with great views back across Coongar Harbour and Drongawn Lough beyond to the south-west.

  • The bamboo-like rushes on either side of the road are the kind used to make the local thatched roofs. Thatching, which nearly died out because of the fire danger, is more popular now that anti-flame treatments are available. It’s not a cheap roofing alternative, however, as it’s expensive to pay the few qualified craftsman thatchers that remain in Ireland.

Following forest tracks, mountain trails and tarmac roads, you will reach the Blackwater Bridge and the beautiful cottage which is marked as a post office on the OSI map but is closed down. From the Bridge, the trail takes us along the estuary of the Blackwater River, around the 1830’s private house – Dromore Castle – and the ruins of Cappanacush Castle from the 13th century.

After 2.5kms you are in the village of Templenoe and the Kenmare Estuary on your right is becoming increasingly narrow and you have fine views of The Caha Mountains on Beara Peninsula across the water. Leaving the village behind, you start an ascent of 120m over the next 2km to cross a spur of Lacka Hill. A second ascent of 150m sees the Kerry Way climb Gortamullin Hill (205m) over the next 1½km.

The final 1km of trail approaches the town along a secluded gravel path which escapes the traffic before emerging in the central market square of Kenmare after crossing the Finnihy River.

Kenmare to Killarney, Distance 26km, Ascent 630m – 7 hours

This final stage of the Kerry Way starts from outside the Kenmare Tourist Office (only open in Summer). The first two-thirds of the section is uphill climb to the Windy Gap at around 320m via Strickeen Hill. From here you descend into Killarney National Park. Incheens is surrounded by a splendid horse-shoe of mountain peaks. From Eagles Nest to the west, to Peakeen and Knockanaguish to the south. Knockrower and Shaking Rock are to the east and Stumpacommeen and Cromaglan Mountain to the north-east. The exit to the valley is to the north with the more distant Purple Mountain on the horizon, above Killarney’s Upper Lake.

After walking 3½km from Windy Gap, the Kerry Way once again splits into two with Galway’s Bridge straight ahead and the route to Killarney climbing up towards Cromaglan Mountain and through a beautiful old oak forest. After crossing Galway’s River, the trail rises above the tree line and the unmistakeable ridge of the MacGillycuddy Reeks is to the north-west.

Here we are retracing our steps from our first day, down through the Esknamucky Glen, crossing the Crinnagh River the Kerry Way rejoins the Old Kenmare Road, along the Owengarriff River at the foot of the Mangertons. After passing the upper carpark at Torc, the trail steeply descends a stone staircase to a viewing platform at the base of Torc Waterfall. Passing through a tunnel beneath the ‘Ring of Kerry’, the trail stats a 4km section through Muckross Estate. Tarmac paths make for easing strolling beside Muckross Lake up to Muckross House. The trail then goes down along the lakeshore of Lough Leane.  The final 2.5kms of the Kerry Way is back into Killarney via the Muckross Road.

Note: There are many public buses and a train station in Killarney that can get you to many parts of Ireland.

Here is a short list of extras you will need to bring along for this walking holiday.

  • Good Walking boots.
  • Day Back Pack (25L)
  • Walking Socks.
  • Raingear,
  • Good walking Jacket,
  • Hat and Gloves
  • Insect Repellent
  • Sun Cream

Frequently asked Questions:

Q. How do we get to the Start of our walk?

A. All the information to get you to the start of your walk will be given to you, ie, bus times, train times etc. We can also organise a transfer for you from Airports or accommodations

 Q. What about the walks and fitness levels?

A. The terrain of this walk is from forest tracks, to open hillside, old roads, country lanes, beaches and Irish Bog.

The walks on the Kerry way can be demanding at some times with long walks of 20+Km per day. A good reasonable level of fitness is required for the Kerry Way.
It is possible to have your day shortened by letting us know and we can organise transfers to shorten the walk for you

Q What is the Accommodation like?

A. We use a mix of Guesthouses on these Self Guided Walks as we believe they give you a more personal service and many of them will provide you with a packed lunch and a hearty breakfast before you start your day. They are also locals to the area and know the best places for music, food and drink.

  • We choose our accommodation very carefully and have known the owners for many years now and have built up a close relationship with them
  • We can depend on these accommodations to give you the best service and assistance with any queries you may have.
  • The accommodation providers are well used to guests arriving after a day’s walk and know that they want somewhere comfortable to relax and freshen up.
  • They are all fully qualified and recognised accommodations with Tourism Ireland

Q What is the food in Ireland like and where would we get evening meals?

A. In many of the towns along the way, there is a choice of restaurant or Pub (Pub cuisine in Ireland is fantastic now with a wide variety of food at a high quality in most).

  • Breakfasts are included and there is a wide selection to choose from including a Full Irish, fruit, cereals, breads etc.
  • Lunches for the walks: Some of the accommodations may provide a packed lunch for you. If not they will let you know of a close by Deli or shop where you can have one made up the way you would like it.
  • Evening Meals In most towns there are restaurants and Pubs, the sea food on the Dingle and Kerry Ways is excellent as the fish is fresh from the Atlantic.
  • Dietary requests such as Vegetarians or Gluten free can be catered for with prior notice, although many locations in Ireland are well used to specific foods.

Q. Can we have our luggage transferred each day?

A. Yes your luggage is transferred each day and will be at your next accommodation before your arrival. So you can shower and freshen up quickly after arriving

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