Kerry Way Self Guided Walking Holiday
A wonderful 8 day self guided walking holiday along the Kerry Way. The MacGillycuddy’s Reeks form the centrepiece of the Ring of Kerry in the South West of Ireland.
The Beara Peninsula in the South-West of Ireland
Ireland’s fabled County Kerry consists of a series of spectacular mountainous peninsulas divided by deep-sea inlets. MacGillycuddy’s Reeks form the centrepiece of the Ring of Kerry, a 179-kilometre circuit from Killarney, via Killorglin, Caherciveen, Waterville, Kenmare and back to Killarney across Moll’s Gap and past Ladies View – one of Ireland’s most famous viewpoints.
Weaving between these points are a network of ancient paths that are nearly as old as the land itself, many of which form part of a long-distance track known as the Kerry Way. The name ‘Kerry’ comes from the Old Irish word Ciarraige meaning the people of Ciar, an early Celtic tribe that settled in the area around 300 BC.
In fact, Kerry has an outstanding collection of historical and archaeological sites that date back over 7,000 years, with several ancient forts and numerous early Christian churches.Impossibly green pastures stretch as far as the eye can see, completely empty save for small herds of sheep or goats, and at almost every turn there are spectacular views of mist-covered mountains and wild stretches of uninhabitable coastline where deep fissures have been carved, over the eons, by the pounding waves of the Atlantic Ocean.
Here and there along the coast, pretty fishing villages, such as Caherdaniel and Portmagee, have successfully withstood the elements and offer a picturesque contrast to the verdant hills that surround them. The Skellig Islands lie 8 miles off the tip of the peninsula, two rocky peaks rising sheer out of the Atlantic Ocean.
Skellig Michael is a world heritage site on account of its 6th century monastery, with beehive huts, oratories and inscribed crosses. Small Skellig is home to over 40,000 gannets, the second largest colony in the world. This is a delightful one-week walk and along the way you’ll enjoy plenty of good Irish cheer.
Ring of Kerry Walking Holiday Day by Day:
This trip takes us on a circular route from Killarney, unveiling some of the most beautiful scenery in the region, exploring both the southern and northern coastlines of the Iveragh peninsula. You will spend one night at each of the following centres: Killarney, Kenmare, Sneem, Caherdaniel, Waterville, Caherciveen and Glenbeigh.
The daily stages take you cross-country, and the landscape can be quite hilly at times. During the week you’ll experience dramatic, almost wild, scenery, along with picturesque coastal villages.
Day 1 – Arrive in Killarney
The popular town renowned for its three magnificent lakes in the heart of Kerry. On arrival at your first guesthouse, your hostess will give you your full detailed information pack. She will also be able to suggest some of the many local restaurants or pubs for food and possibly music.
Access for this holiday can be from Dublin, Cork or Shannon Airports with bus and/or train connections available to Killarney all year round.
Day 2 – Killarney to Kenmare
You will be transferred/driven to the start of your walk – about 5kms outside Killarney. From here you walk across Killarney National Park and through Esknamucky Glen to the heritage town of Kenmare. This is a glorious walk, giving you an opportunity to see some of Ireland’s native red deer as you walk through the National Park. Overnight in Kenmare.
Walk Details: Distance: 22kms. Duration: 6 hours. Max. Height: 400m. Mountain tracks and green roads. Can be wet underfoot – boots essential.
Day 3 – Kenamre to Sneem
From Kenmare you walk to the award winning village of Sneem via Templenoe. This walk takes you along the shores of Kenmare Bay, with views across to the Beara Peninsula and the Caha Mountains. Overnight in Sneem.
Walk Details: Distance: 23kms. Duration: 6.5 hours. Max. Height: 300m. Forest tracks, some road walking, mountain tracks and country lanes. Boots essential.
Day 4 – Sneem to Caherdaniel
Continue walking from the village of Sneem, following an old ‘butter road’ to the little village of Caherdaniel – once home of our famous liberator – Daniel O’Connell. The views across the Beara Peninsula and out to the Atlantic Ocean are fantastic. Overnight in Caherdaniel.
Walk Details: Distance: 19kms. Duration: 5.5 hours. Max. Height: 400m. Country lanes, grass tracks, rocky mountains and some road walking. Boots essential.
Day 5 – Caherdaniel to Waterville
Continuing from the village of Caherdaniel, you walk around and above the coast to reach the town of Waterville. Glorious coastal views out towards the Skellig Islands and Ballinskelligs Bay. Overnight in Waterville.
Walk Details: Distance: 16kms. Duration: 5 hours. Max. Height: 350m. Rocky and grass tracks, mountain tracks and bogland and some road walking. Boots essential.
Day 6 – Waterville to Caherciveen
From Waterville, you will once again be driven a short distance to the starting point of today’s walk at Mastergeehy. From here you will be walking to the town of Caherciveen. This walk takes you across the tip of the peninsula with views north over the Dingle Peninsula and south to Kenmare Bay. Overnight in Caherciveen.
Walk Details: Distance: 24kms. Duration: 6.5 hours. Max. Height: 400m. Grass mountain tracks with some rocky sections. Gravel tracks and some road walking. Boots essential.
Day 7 – Caherciveen to Glenbeigh
Your final walk takes you from the town of Caherciveen along the northern shores of the peninsula to the little town of Glenbeigh. This walk follows an old 17th Century “Stage Coach” route and gives spectacular views across to the Dingle Peninsula. You will pass through old deserted villages which were once busy centres of activity, trading with passengers on the old stage coaches. Your holiday finishes in the village of Glenbeigh. Overnight in Glenbeigh.
Walk Details: Distance: 24kms. Duration: 6.5 hours. Max. Height: 350m. Grass mountain tracks with some rocky sections. Gravel tracks and road walking. Boots essential.
Day 8 – Departure
Departure from Glenbeigh by bus or taxi to Killarney. Bus leaves at 08:45 and arrives at 09:50 (Does not operate on Sundays or Public Holidays). From Killarney, connections by bus and train are frequent to Cork, Limerick, Shannon or Dublin.
Day 1: Take the opportunity to stay on in Killarney and enjoy more time around this magnificent area of mountains and lakes. Alternatively you can enjoy a day at the famous Muckross House with its’ beautiful gardens and Traditional Farms.
Day 2: Remain in Kenmare, and do some of the glorious mountain walks in this area – over Mucksna Mountain, or Peakeen Mountain.
Day 3: Remain in Sneem – this wonderful award-winning and very picturesque village, and enjoy some of the walks in the area that have been put together by the local community here.
Day 4: Stay on in Caherdaniel for an extra day and visit Derrynane House and National Park – once home to the famous liberator – Daniel O’Connell. There is a lovely walk around Derrynane Beach, to Abbey Island and returning via an old ‘mass path’ to Derrynane.
Day 6: Stay an extra night in Caherciveen with the possibility of getting a boat out to visit the famous Skellig Islands, or if the weather is not suitable, go across by ferry to Valentia Island and enjoy a lovely walk here. It is also very easy to hire bicycles for a day and cycle around the island.
Make enquiries when booking and we can organise the extra reservations and transport necessary to do these options.
Everything was very well organised on our walking holiday and we loved our experience!
We’ll be back for sure!
I was there with my eldest son. We loved the beautiful hills and coast, the Irish people (very kind and helpful) en de B&B’s we visited were nice and clean. Our hostesses prepared us a delicious breakfast every morning: that gave us the energy for our daily hikes.
After our first night in Dundalk and a full Irish Breakfast, we did a lovely hike from Ravensdale forest to the Lumpers. After the 2nd night and another filling breakfast, we walked across the beautiful Cooley peninsula to the picturesque village of Carlingford on the coast where our bags were waiting in another superb B&B.
And a perfect place for a hike around. Also for fun and good food is taken care of. So we’ve taken one more day. In summary, a beautiful country, incredibly friendly and polite people and an excellent organisation.
As a couple we enjoyed a beautiful walking holiday this summer organised by Cliff Wayenberg of Walking Holiday Ireland. The six days of walking in Dundalk area, Carlingford and the Mourne Mountains were a good combination of different types of scenery, from easy walking to steep climbings. Walking distances each day a bit longer and a bit more difficult, giving it a nice challenge every day. B&B’s located in towns with lots to see and to do in the evening, and all with very enthousiastic hosts, willing to fulfill all wishes. We stayed two nights in each B&B, which gives good opportunity to learn more about a city and the B&B
In summary: Very well organized, well balanced and beautiful holiday!
For our walking holiday in Beara and the south-west of Ireland we advise the following airport(s):
Alternatives: Dublin Airport