The Kerry Way is a long distance walking route of 215 km (135 miles) traversing the Iveragh Peninsula (Ring of Kerry) in the southwest of Ireland. Starting and finishing in Killarney, The Kerry Way is Ireland’s one of the first Waymarked long distance walks and features remote valleys and expansive coastline providing varied and interesting walking.
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Moderate
- Walking above and beyond the very famous Ring of Kerry. All the best sites and sights in peace, on foot.
- Muckross House and Killarney National Park, by track and trail.
- Looking west to the Skellig Islands and the Atlantic from Foilclogh Hill. Get there if you can. And don’t miss the Skellig Chocolate makers!
- Derrynane House and Park, blissful gardens, dunes and coffee shop
The Kerry Way is a long distance walking route of 215km (135miles) traversing the Iveragh Peninsula (Ring of Kerry) in the southwest of Ireland. Starting and finishing in Killarney, The Kerry Way is Ireland’s one ofthe first Waymarked long distance walks and features remote valleys and expansive coastline providing varied and interesting walking.
The Iveragh Peninsula or Ring of Kerry, the second of the five southwestern peninsulas, is the more popular tourist driving route. You will be walking across it as well as around it and only occasionally will you meet the mainstream tourists.
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 center of the Killarney National Park, home to native oak woods, birch, beech and one of the last remaining herd of red deer.Since their introduction from Norway in 2008, it is also now home to breeding white tailed eagles. Three chicks were hatched in 2013.
The section through Killarney National Park is composed of well-formed trails, footbridges, graded paths and plenty of Way marker signs. Beyond the Park boundaries, trails become sheep paths, old droving and butter roads and formed forest tracks. Modern recycled plastic Way markers and stiles are interspersed with wooden signs, which date to the original marking of the route. 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!
The 8-day tour is an abbreviated tour that starts at Glenbeighand follows the full route from Glenbeigh to Killarney via Caherciveen, Waterville, Sneem and Kenmare.
- 7 nights accommodation in en-suite rooms with private bathrooms (where available) in selected guesthouses, inns and hotels.
- Breakfast each day.
- Door to door luggage transfer.
- Relevant 1:50000 Map and a guidebook describing the trail.
- Detailed route notes.
- Detailed travel instructions on how to get to the start of the holiday and back from the end of it.
- Emergency assistance
Total distance: 73.5 miles (118.5 km)
Duration: 8 days/7 nights, 6 days walking
Minimum/maximum daily distances: 9 miles (15km)/16 miles (25km)
Waymarking: The trail is clearly waymarked and very easy to follow.
Season: Start on any day from March 7 to October 24
Starting point of holiday: Glenbeigh
End of holiday: Killarney
Nearest arrival airport: Kerry airport
- Day 1 Arrival in Glenbeigh
Day 2: Glenbeigh to to Derrymore. 12 miles (19km) or 14mi (23 km), Ascents 300 m. Approximate walking time 7 hours.
Your route passes under Seefin mountain with stunning views over the magnificent Rosbeigh Beach and DingleBay. The route turns inland at Drung Hill before walking through the Foilmore valley overlooked by the majestic Knocknadobar.
Overnight accommodation in Derrymore valley or Caherciveen town.
Derrymore to Waterville. 16 miles (25km) Ascents 350 m. Approximate walking time 7 hours.
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. Watervilleis a colourful coastal village, bounded by a long white beach and the lovely Lough Currane.
Overnight accommodation in Waterville village.
Waterville to Caherdaniel. 9 miles (15km) Ascents 200m. Approximate walking time 5 hours.
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.
Overnight accommodation in Caherdaniel village.
Caherdaniel to Sneem. 12 miles (19km). Ascents 280m. Approximate walking time 6 hours.
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.
Overnight accommodation in Sneem village.
Sneem to Kenmare. 9 miles (14km) or 16 miles (26km). Ascents 50 m. Approximate walking time 6 or 8 hours.
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 colorful market town, on the banks of the Roughty Riverwhere it opens up into Kenmare Bay. It was founded in 1670 and settled by Englishmen, who built a prosperous fishing industry and an ironworks.
Overnight accommodation in Kenmare town.
Kenmare to Killarney. 15.5 miles (25km). Ascents 550 m. Approximate walking time 7 hours.
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.
Overnight accommodation in Killarney town centre.
Depart from Killarney after breakfast.
Departure by bus or train from Killarney
The itinerary above shows our preferred overnight stops, but if accommodation is not available at any one of these locations, we may alter the itinerary slightly.
Accommodation in en-suite rooms with private bathrooms (where available) in selected guesthouses, inns and hotels.
Singles: Add $37 per night for a single room; solo traveler add $67 per night.
Extra rest days: Can be added at any of the overnight stops. Add $99 per person per night, based on 2 people sharing a double room.
*Extra night in Derrynane to walk the lovely Abbey Island and Derrynane MassPath. An explosion of sea blues, orange montbretia, purple heather and yellowgorse. Gorgeous.
* Take an extra day in the buzz of Killarney. Ten minutes from the hustle of abusy town are the beautiful mountains and lakes of the Killarney National Park.Take a shuttle bus to Kate Kearneyâ€™s Cottage, walk through the Gap of Dunloe,and drift slowly down the Upper and Muckross Lake by riverboat to the 15thcentury towerhouse Ross Castle.
* Spend an extra night in the village of Waterville and take a trip to theUNESCO World Heritage site, the Skellig Islands. Climb the stone-carved stepsto the 5th century monastic remains and cruise past the sea bird colonies onthe Little Skellig.
* Or spend some time in Kenmare, a colorful market town, carefully designed bythe early Lords of Kerry at the head of the Kenmare River. Climb MucksnaMountain overlooking the town and bay. Or walk the Kenmare Heritage Trail tosee the prehistoric stone circle.
Tour starts with arrival at the first hotel in Glenbeign. Fly to Shannon or Cork airport. Bus Eireann Expressway to Killarney and a local bus service to Glenbeigh village. Or fly to Kerry airport, then 20 min shuttle to Killarney and local bus service to Glenbeigh.
Tour ends at the last hotel in Killarney. Expressway Bus Service from Killarney to Cork or Limerick. Kerry airport is 20 minute shuttle ride from Killarney town