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Kerry Way Highlights

Kerry Way Highlights on Foot

Overview

Experience the unspoilt beauty of Ireland on The Kerry Way, including the famous Ring of Kerry. This 8-day walking tour starts in Glenbeigh and finishes in Killarney and takes in the highlights of the 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.

Should you have more time to spend on the Emerald Isle, we recommend our 12-day complete Kerry Way itinerary.

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival Glenbeigh

From Cork or Shannon airports, travel by bus to Killarney, then use local bus service to Glenbeigh, a traditional seaside village on the north side of the peninsula.

Day 2: Glenbeigh to Derrymore | 19-23 km

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
  • Accommodation: Iveragh Heights or similar

Day 3: Derrymore to Waterville | 25 km

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.

Day 4: Waterville to Caherdaniel | 15 km

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.

Day 5: Caherdaniel to Sneem | 19 km

Walk on the Old Butter Road – from where butter was transported to Cork in the 19th century. The Way climbs again on Eagle Hill’s foothills, 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
  • Accommodation: Coomassig View B&B or similar

Day 6: Sneem to Kenmare | 14 km

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 Roughty River banks 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)
  • Accommodation: Kenmare House B&B or similar

Day 7: Kenmare to Killarney | 25 km

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
  • Accommodation: Noraville House or similar

Day 8: Departure

Departure by bus or train.

What to Expect

Accommodation

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.

Click to view default hotels

*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.

Meals

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.

Difficulty & terrain

This itinerary is suitable for regular walkers. 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.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

Click to view travel options

By plane

Our recommended airports for this tour are Dublin (DUB), Kerry (KIR), Cork (ORK) or Shannon (SNN).

By train or bus
  • 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 to Dublin city centre. From Dublin take the bus or train to Killarney and then a local bus to Glenbeigh.
  • Kerry Airport: There is a bus (25 mins) from Kerry Airport to Killarney and then a local bus to Glenbeigh.
  • Cork Airport: Flights are available to Cork Airport from Bristol, London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester and Birmingham. From Cork Airport it is a short bus ride (20 mins) to Cork Kent train station, then a 1h30-2hr train ride to Killarney and then a local bus to Glenbeigh.
  • Shannon Airport: Flights are available to Shannon Airport from Dublin, Bristol, Manchester, London Heathrow and Birmingham, and Boston and New York JFK. From Cork Airport it is a short bus ride (20 mins) to Cork Kent train station, then a 1h30-2hr train ride to Killarney and then a local bus to Glenbeigh.
  • See Bus Éireann and Irish Rail for details or use the Omio planner above.

Inclusions

Included

  • 7 nights in private en-suite rooms (B&Bs and guesthouses)
  • 7 breakfasts
  • Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel on all walking days (up to 18 kg per person)
  • Detailed journey documentation and practical information (road notes, 1:50000 maps)
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
  • Any items not explicitly listed as included

Options, extras & supplements

  • A supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Extra nights along the trail are bookable upon request

Gallery

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