Killarney Walking Festival

The Killarney Walking festival offers you some of the best hikes, trails and mountain walks in Ireland. There are a variety of walks to suit all ages and abilities whether your interest is in history, culture, wildlife or simply walking and indulging in the breath-taking scenery.

The Killarney Walking Festival has it all. A two day walking programme is offered with hikes, treks and hill walks to suit all interests and fitness abilities with The Gleneagle Hotel and Apartments as your walking festival base.

All walks and treks will start from The Gleneagle Hotel with its perfect vantage point and easy access to The National Park. The Hotel is perfectly placed to offer you a luxurious 3 star experience with a selection of deluxe bedrooms and spacious apartment accommodation. Walkers enjoy an evening of entertainment in the Festival headquarters with BBQ music song and dance long into the night.

An experience like no other, for some of the best hikes, trails and mountain walks in the country are no further than The Killarney National Park.  Established in 1932 to protect one of Ireland’s most precious natural habitats Killarney National Park is one of Ireland’s premier tourist attractions with over 1.5 million visitors annually.

Boasting three world famous lakes, the park today covers an area of over 26,000 acres with dramatic landscapes, rivers teaming with life, mountains, valleys and forests. Fifteen of Ireland’s twenty highest peaks can be found in Kerry and the McGuillycuddy Reeks, on Killarney’s doorstep, are the largest mountain range in Ireland.

So if you fancy an active weekend out and about in the hills and mountains of Kerry enjoying the beautiful scenery, the Killarney Walking Festival is the perfect opportunity.

The choice of walking trails on offer cover a range of walking abilities from the challenge of The Reeks and Carrantuohill to ambling through the National Park.

All the walks are led by experienced walk leaders who are there to ensure that the correct routes are followed and carry all necessary equipment for the safety of the group.

They have a great wealth of knowledge about the mountains and hills as well as providing interesting information on the beautiful scenic landscape.

An example of the walks is the beautiful

Black Valley to Bridia Valley Traverse:

The journey begins at Galway’s Bridge, at the old Derrycunnihy Church, descending deep into a more quiet and uninterrupted, Killarney National Park, some of  Killarney’s finest mature Oak trees come into view. 

Near the edge of  The Upper Lake, with a glorious view of the McGillycuddy’s Reeks, the path guides you directly into Lord Brandon’s Cottage,  a lovely café run by Kitty O’Connor.

the road meanders along the Gearhameen River, until it opens out to start the famous Black Valley trek. After the church, on the left, you come to a junction, right takes you to the saddle of the Gap of Dunloe, (heading north) but your journey opens up turning south into the glorious Cummenduff Glen.

Still traversing along the narrow road, taking you to the ‘last house in the Valley’, at the head of the Pass, there is a bronze age stone alignment. Opening out again, the sight of the Bridia boulders are in view, making your way downhill in the Bridia Valley, known for its ancient rock art and ancient farm systems.

Crossing the path you follow the Kerry Way signs.  At the junction, turning right, with Lough Acoose to your right, continue along the main road, The Glencar PO and Climbers Inn are in sight.

Then there is the exciting

Ridge of the Reeks.

Beginning this iconic ascent at Cronin’s Yard  – official entrance to the Hags Glen. First Peak is Cruach Mór, at a height of 932m, en route is Lough Cummeenapeasta, it was here  during World War 11 that an Army Air Force plane came down killing five passengers. The Remnants of the plane can still be there seen today.

After a strenuous ascent  to the iconic Grotto, traverse along the ridge with the option of climbing ‘Big Gun’ weather permitting. Then follows a challenging and careful climb along Cnoc na Péiste Ridge to the summit at 988m with astounding views of the Black Valley, Purple Mountain, Lakes of Killarney, Kenmare Bay and the entire MacGillycuddy’s Reeks.

You will have made the highest ascent  at this point. From here traverse along to Maolán Buí at 973m, before descending along ‘The Bone’, enjoying views of Carrauntoohil, Beenkeragh, Loch Caillí and Loch Gabhrach and back on the Hags Glen track, returning to Cronin’s Yard tea rooms!

The walks are graded as C1, C2, C3.


Easy: Low level, easy walking. Easy looped walk in the beautiful Killarney National Park, suitable for beginners, families and anyone! All gear should be lightweight and easy to carry. Walking shoes or runners are suitable.

§  Comfortable, sturdy walking shoes.

§  Trekking socks

§  Lightweight Waterproof Jackets: something that will definitely keep a summer shower off you!

§  Quick dry and/or waterproof pants: comfortable and lightweight trousers that are non-cotton will serve you well on your walk.

§  Bottle of water

§  Camera (optional)

§  Snack/packed lunch (optional)


Moderate: Less strenuous than the hikes but a reasonable level of fitness required. Rugged walking, with some ascent and off-road areas and stunning scenery. Footwear is very important on tacks and trails such as these, and can be the difference between a good day and a fantastic day.

§  Light/mid weight walking boots: these should be sturdy and waterproof.

§  Trekking socks: padded, comfortable walking/trekking socks are a must.

§  Lightweight waterproof jacket.

§  Lightweight Quick dry pants

§  Waterproof pants.

§  Base layer T-shirt-non cotton: it is vital not to wear cotton next to the skin on long walks, as cotton holds moisture and can be cold and uncomfortable.

§  A synthetic base layer is preferable. These move moisture away from the skin and often regulate temperature.

§  Small rucksack: to carry all of the above.

§  Packed Lunch

§  Plenty of water/energy drinks

§  Camera


Strenuous: High level of fitness required. These walks should only be undertaken by experienced walkers. Footwear is the most vital piece of equipment needed here.

§  Walking boots: A studier, strong, 3 seasons, waterproof, aggressive boot is required in this terrain with exceptional grip and ankle support.

§  Trekking socks.

§  Waterproof jacket.

§  Lightweight Fleece jacket: ideally you carry a spare fleece/insulated jacket with you to the reeks, remember it is an average 10 degree colder on the top of the Carrauntoohil that it is at the bottom.

§  Lightweight quick dry pants

§  Waterproof pants

§  Base layer non-cotton T-shirt.

§  Small rucksack: to carry all essentials.

§  Packed lunch with plenty high energy foods

§  Plenty of drinks/water/hot drinks

§  Camera

Please contact web-site for any information you may require.

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