Overview for The Kerry Way
Experience the unspoilt beauty of Ireland on The Kerry Way, including the famous Ring of Kerry. This 12-day walking tour starts and finishes in Killarney and takes in the entire Kerry Way. The 210 km of The Kerry Way make it Ireland’s longest trail, offering a unique mix of mountains, lakes and coastal views. Take in Muckross House and Killarney National Park, enjoy the vistas to the Skellig Islands and the Atlantic from Foilclogh Hill. And don’t miss the Skellig chocolate makers!
Itinerary for The Kerry WayGo to top of page
Day 1: Arrival Killarney
From Cork or Shannon airports, travel by bus to Killarney. The lively small town of Killarney is the official start of the Kerry Way. The town is famed for the unsurpassed beauty of its setting on the shores of Lough Leane. It is a nice place to stay, with plenty to see and do. Overnight accommodation in Killarney town centre.
Day 2: Killarney to Black Valley
Follow the lakeshore through Killarney National Park, passing Muckross House & Gardens, Torc Waterfall, and through native oak forests. From time to time, you will be following the famed Ring of Kerry road route, with impressive views across to the Purple Mountain, and MacGillycuddy’s Reeks beyond. 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. Overnight in Black Valley farm guesthouse.
Walking for the day: 22 km, 7 hours, ↑400 m
Day 3: Black Valley to Glencar
Walk on old green roads and through mountain sheep country, under the magnificent Magillicuddy Reeks and Carrauntohill, Ireland’s highest mountain (1039 m). The Black Valley passes into the Bridia Valley with its mountain farming communities. Old roads from settlements go by the magnificent Lough Acoose under the Reeks to Glencar on the Caragh River.
Walking for the day: 23 km, 6-7 hours, ↑300 m
Day 4: Glencar to Glenbeigh
Easy trails characterise today’s section. 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.
Walking for the day: 13 km, 4 hours, ↑200 m
Day 5: Glenbeigh to Derrymore
Pass under Seefin mountain with stunning views to the north 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. Overnight in Derrymore valley.
Walking for the day: 19 km or 23 km, 7 hours, ↑300 m
Day 6: Derrymore Rest Day
Free day in Derrymore with several options. Transfer to Cahirciveen to take a ferry (fare not included) to Valentia Island and walk on the island (11 km). Or 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 Derrymore valley.
Day 7: Derrymore to Waterville
Walk through the hinterland of Cahirciveen. The route passes through turf bogs and pine forest. Some short climbs give views over Valentia Island and the western end of the peninsula. Overnight in Waterville, a colourful coastal village.
Walking for the day: 25 km, 7 hours, ↑350 m
Day 8: Waterville to Caherdaniel
A wonderfully scenic route as the Way rounds the southern side of the peninsula into a different region. 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.
Walking for the day: 15 km, 5 hours, ↑200 m
Day 9: Caherdaniel to Sneem
Walk on the Old Butter Road – from where butter was transported 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.
Walking for the day: 19 km, 6 hours, ↑280 m
Day 10: Sneem to Kenmare
Today’s walk takes you along the rocky shoreline of Kenmare Bay, easy walking through a 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.
Walking for the day: 14 km, 6 hours, ↑320 m (longer option: 26 km, 8 hours, ↑320 m)
Day 11: Kenmare to Killarney
Walk on the Old Kenmare Road, a delightful pass at 500 m between Peakeen & Knockanaguish mountains. Descend through Killarney National Park with its 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 lively town of Killarney. Overnight accommodation in Killarney town centre.
Walking for the day: 25 km, 7 hours, ↑550 m
Day 12: Departure
Departure by bus or train.
Hotels for The Kerry WayGo to top of page
Accommodations on this tour include a mix of welcoming B&Bs and guesthouses. They have been carefully selected for their location, atmosphere, cuisine and/or unique services. All rooms are en-suite. Note that it is sometimes necessary to accommodate you a short walk away from the trail itself, as there is not always suitable accommodation close to the trail. Details will again be given in your pre-departure info pack.
*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal or higher value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.
Breakfast is included on all days. When no restaurant location is available on the route, lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before. You can have dinner at the guesthouse you are staying at or at the village inns and restaurants.
Travel for The Kerry WayGo to top of page
You are best to fly in and out of Dublin, Kerry, Cork or Shannon airports.
Please note that flight information can change rapidly, and not all flights run daily, so do check directly with the airlines’ websites or Skyscanner before finalising any booking with us. Do not book your flights before we have confirmed your booking.
Transfers to/from Airports
- Dublin Airport is easily accessible from the UK with several low-cost airlines covering the route as well as scheduled international carriers. Irish Ferries also operate from Holyhead to Dublin. From Dublin Airport there is a good bus service into Dublin city centre. From Dublin take the bus or train to Killarney.
- Kerry Airport: There is a bus (25 mins) from Kerry Airport to Killarney. For bus timetables, see www.buseirann.ie.
- Cork Airport: From Cork Airport it is a short bus ride (20 mins) to Cork Kent train station, then a 1h30-2hr train ride to Killarney. For train timetables, see http://www.irishrail.ie/.
- Shannon Airport: From Cork Airport it is a short bus ride (20 mins) to Cork Kent train station, then a 1h30-2hr train ride to Killarney. For train timetables, see http://www.irishrail.ie/.
All hotel to hotel luggage transfers on walking days are included (maximum one piece of 20 kg per person).
A comprehensive and reputable travel insurance policy is essential to your enjoyment and peace of mind while on an active holiday. It is highly recommended when booking with us that all group members have valid travel insurance which includes cover for all activities included in your trip. We have teamed up with to offer you adequate cover at a great value from a reputable insurer, and it takes only a few minutes to buy online.
Up-to-date travel advice on Ireland is available here
Trip Info for The Kerry WayGo to top of page
Difficulty Grade: Moderate to Strenuous
This itinerary is suitable for regular walkers. While the daily itineraries are not overly strenuous, this tour is graded moderate to strenuous for its duration. It includes daily walks of around 20 km on average, on varied terrain. Overall about 1/3 of the Kerry Way follows tarmac roads, which is less than most Irish national trails. This is unavoidable because rights of way are almost non-existent in Ireland. The road walking is mostly along quiet and scenic lanes, and there are only a few busier stretches where you will need to be cautious with traffic (read more about difficulty grades).
The routes are waymarked, and the itinerary is easy to follow. We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.
When to Go
This trip is available from early April till the end of October. The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your trip on any date during the season.
What to Bring
We recommend that you travel as light as possible – airlines might charge you an extra fee, and during ground transfers, the place might be limited. Ideally, you should bring one piece of luggage weighing no more than 20 kg (to be checked in) and a daily pack (15 – 20 l rucksack) for your everyday essentials (snacks, drinking water, camera, etc.). Below is a non-exclusive list of what you should bring to this trip. More detailed info will be included in your holiday information pack.
- Good hiking boots
- Hiking socks
- Several T-shirts (preferably breathable/fast drying)
- Packable waterproof and windproof jacket with hood
- Synthetic mid layer or warm fleece
- Trainers and/or sandals – to relax and wear inside the accommodation
- Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip salve
- Hat/Baseball cap
- Personal First Aid kit (wet wipes, flu remedies, stomach remedies)
Included for The Kerry WayGo to top of page
- 11 nights in private en-suite rooms (B&Bs and guesthouses)
- 11 breakfasts
- Detailed journey documentation and practical information (road notes, 1:50000 maps)
- Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel on all walking days (up to 20 kg per person)
- 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative
Single Room & Solo Traveller Supplements
- Supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room (subject to availability); note that single rooms may be of an inferior standard to double/twin rooms
- This holiday is available for solo travellers; as costs are not shared, there is a solo traveller supplement to the standard price.
To see the price of the holiday for your desired dates, including the cost of different options and supplements, please click the CHECK AVAILABILITY button above.
Other Trip-Related Costs
- Entrance fees for attractions and museums
- Flights and airport transfers
- Travel insurance
- All lunches and dinners
- Personal expenses such as snacks, drinks, phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
- Any items not specifically mentioned as ‘included’ in the programme
Extensions and Optional Extras
- Extra nights along the trail are bookable upon request