The Kerry Way is one of Ireland’s most popular and longest walking trails covering 200 kms in length. The start and finish of this loop walk on the Iveragh Peninsula is Killarney. Despite some of the highest peaks of Ireland being in Kerry, this walk follows lower ridges. Passing through this isolated countryside offers the experience a wide and varied landscape, as well as walk on a variety of terrain from tarmac roads to mountains, to forests and national parks.
Recommended itinerary is in an anticlockwise direction around the peninsula; however, it can also be walked in a clockwise direction. (Signs on the route have yellow arrows on both sides of the posts)
Céad Míle Fáilte – Killarney is a vibrant town in the west of Ireland in Co. Kerry. Set on the edge of Killarney National Park it is easy to spend hours wandering in the park as well as the town. Be sure to visit Muckross House and Abbey and then enjoy a freshly prepared meal in one of the many restaurants or bars.
Leaving Killarney on the south side of the town the walk starts off on a cycle path taking you to the first highlight of the day Muckross House. Leaving then the Victorian opulence you will come to the natural beauty of Torc Waterfall. A stroll follows a steep ascent up the side of the waterfall, through a pine forest before coming out onto the wild mountainside. Mountain peaks provide an ever-changing landscape as you weave across the land in and out of woods. Coming to a great place for a break, Lord Brandon’s Cottage you only have a short section left on quiet country roads to Black Valley.
Although not a long day today, the walk is through a variety of forests perfect for strolling through. Licken Wood, a native oak wood has surprisingly a natural viewing point from which you can catch a glimpse of Caragh Lake. Leaving Licken Wood you will have time for a quick diversion to visit Blackstones Bridge. Continuing to follow the country road to Glenbeigh, you will leave this to traverse the Windy Gap where a sweeping panoramic view where you can see as far as Dingle will enrapture you. Arriving by the main road into Glenbeigh, this lively tourist town will welcome you with its many lively pubs. If you have time and the weather is on your side you might want to visit Rossbeigh Beach on the far side of the town but not on the Kerry Way.
Although not a long day today the walk is through a variety of forests perfect for strolling through. Licken Wood, a native oak wood has surprisingly a natural viewing point from which you can catch a glimpse of Caragh Lake. Leaving Licken Wood you will have time for a quick diversion to visit Blackstones Bridge. Continuing to follow the country road to Glenbeigh you will leave this to traverse the Windy Gap where a sweeping panoramic view where you can see as far as Dingle will enrapture you. Arriving by the main road in to Glenbeigh, this lively tourist town will welcome you with its many lively pubs. If you have time and the weather is on your side you might want to visit Rossbeigh Beach on the far side of the town but not on the Kerry Way.
Leaving Glenbeigh by crossing the River Behy we enter the Glenbeigh Woods. After a short stretch through the woods, you come out on the small country roads before crossing the N70 via an old railway bridge and beginning the ascent of Drung Hill. To the north, you will have an impressive view now of the Dingle Peninsula. Coming back down from Drung you will follow a track through the forest plantation in the Gleensk River Valley. From Cahernaman onwards you are now in more low-land farming country heading for Foilmore where you will pass through some grazing pastures before returning to the country roads. Moving from fields to roads and back ifater treatment plant and a view of not only Cahirsiveen but also Valentia Harbour and island will unfold. Following the track down you will arrive into the bustling little town of Cahirsiveen, where if time permits you may want to take a boat ride out to visit Valentia Island or even Skellig Michael.
Heading initially back out of town the way we came in yesterday till you are at the bottom of Coomduff. A short walk to the top of this hill and you will find yourself in up in the hills among sheep country and boggy ground. Some notable ascents and descents will pepper your walk before one final descent down Knockavahaun into the Inny Valley. Walking along quiet country roads you will return to the hillside as you come upon another Coomduff. A similar climb to the first Coomduff awaits and arriving at the top you will go west to Waterville. Panoramic views at this point will surely delight with its raw beauty. Sweeping down you will soon come to Termons before following a country road into Waterville you stop for the night. This pretty little town is a haven for tourists as it sits on the shore of Ballinskellings Bay. One of the town’s most notable visitors was none other than Charlie Chaplin and whom the local film festival is called after.
Starting off with a stroll on the waterfront promenade through Waterville it is not long before you are back out in the country. Ascending up Coomakista Pass although somewhat steep will reward you with views over Ballinskellings Bay and Hog’s Head. Descending from the Pass you will make your way through Derrynane National Historic Park, where coastal vistas will entice you to pause and admire the view. Entering the woods you will pass by Derrynane House, once home to the leading Irish historical figure, Daniel O’Connell. In the 19th Century, this coastline was a smugglers paradise with both French and Spanish ships regularly visiting these shores. A short stretch from Derrynane House will see you arrive into Carherdaniel. At this charming old village, you will plenty of places to choose from to grab a bite or a pint! (For those feeling energetic or looking a challenge there is an option of a longer inland route for today, approx. 23 kms)
Rising out of the village today you will be easily encouraged onwards by the views out over the bay and inlets of this Atlantic coastline. Making your way back down you will come to Kilcrohane Church and cemetery, once one of the most important ecclesiastical sites in Ireland. Moving from and between boreens to country roads and boggy track you will come to one of the highlights of today, Staigue Fort, which is well worth the small detour to visit. Gently climbing between Ardmore and Bohacogram you will find yourself in a sea of grass that at times can make it hard to find the way markers but keep a keen eye out for these and you will find your way. Be sure to also enjoy the view before descending to the valley of Bunnow River and eventually takes you through a forest plantation before back out onto boreens and a pleasant walk into Sneem. The touristic town with its two main squares has any number of cafés and bars to replenish you.
Leaving Sneem crossing farmland you will head up to the lower slopes of Knockanamadane. Before long you will leave this open area and be back on country lanes to gently rise and arrive at Derryquin Estate, which once belonged to the landowning Bland family who built the nearby Derryquin Castle. Leaving the forest walk through Derryquin you will be at the corner of Parknasilla estate. Passing by ponds, over boggy sections before returning to country roads and the through more forest paths and lanes to reach a jewel of the Kerry Way the Blackwater Bridge. Crossing the river of the same name this also marks a change of scenery as from here the walk will be dominated by forest paths. Views over Kenmare River finish off the last stretch of today as you make your way down to the town. Kenmare has much to offer with award-winning restaurants and famous pubs so you will easily enjoy your evening here.
Much of the way today will be on the Old Kenmare Road to Killarney. Ascending gently up to Lissyclearig views of the surrounding area will not disappoint. Continuing on the now familiar boreens you will drop down to Gowlane before hiking up to the aptly named Windy Gap between Peakeen Mountain and Knockanaguish. Following the Old Kenmare Road you will descend to the marshland valley that is rich in Irish mountain plants which will lead you to Derrycunnihy Wood. From here you are back on the track you started on heading back to Killarney past Torc Waterfall and Muckross Estate to finish at Killarney – congratulations you have completed the Kerry Way.
Today we say “Slán agus beannacht leat “ and we hope to see you on one of our other walking holidays soon or if you would like to spend a few extra nights here let us know and we can assist you with this.
Get the train from Heuston Train Station to Killarney Train Station or get the Dublin Coach M7 Express to Killarney. From the train station or bus stop you can get a taxi to your accommodation.
Fly from Dublin Airport to Kerry Airport with Aerlingus. Get a bus from Kerry Airport to Killarney.
Fly from Luton or Stansted to Kerry with Ryanair. Then get a bus from Kerry Airport to Killarney.
Fly from Heathrow (Aerlingus) or London City (British Airways) to Shannon. From Shannon airport get a bus to Limerick then a bus to Killarney.
Fly from Heathrow to Cork with Aerlingus. From Cork airport get a bus to Kent Street Train Station and then get a train to Mallow then a train to Killarney.
Get the train or bus from Killarney to Dublin.
Get a bus from Killarney to Kerry Airport. Fly to Luton or Stansted with Ryanair.
Get a bus to Limerick, then a bus to Shannon Airport. Fly to Heathrow with Aerlingus or London City with British Airways.
Get train to Mallow, then a train to Cork Kent Street Train Station and then get a bus to Cork Airport. Fly to Heathrow with Aerlingus.
Information on trains can be found on the following website:
Information the coach service between Dublin and Killarney can be found on the following website:
Information on buses can be found on the following website: