The Kerry Way is ten days of exhilarating walking around some of the most beautiful scenery in Ireland. The walk is about 215 Kilometres from Killarney to Kenmare and back to Killarney.Be prepared for an exhillerating Kerry Way.
"The true charm of pedestrianism does not lie in the walking, or in the scenery, but in the talking. The walking is good to time the movement of the tongue by, and to keep the blood and the brain stirred up and active; the scenery and woodsy smells are good to bear in upon a man an unconcious and unobtrusive charm and solice to eye and soul and sense; but the supreme pleasure comes from the talk."-Mark Twain
In otherwords; THE CRAIC.
The Kerry Way weaves its way under MacGillycuddy`s Reeks,
the highest mountains in County Kerry, through and around the Iveragh
Peninsula. It does not climb very high, but mainly consists of old
paths and green roads.
In using these old droving paths and butter roads, the walk is in effect a journey back in time. As the route is higher than present day roads, it improves on what is already renowned viewing. The Kerry Way offers views of some of the most outstanding scenery in Ireland.
“You can leave Killarney behind you, walk….up and up until everything touristed and ticketed is below in the deep valley, until you feel the colour of the mountains, soaking into your eyes, your hair, the fragile fabric of the skin, until the silence of the high places has seeped into your soul.”
We will start on day one.
Killarney to the Black Valley
A walk of about 22 Kilometres long.
This Kerry Way walk starts just outside the town centre of Killarney at the River Flesk. The first section is along the pavement and then the walk enters Muckross Park with magnificent views of Killarney Lakes.
It passes by Muckross Friary and Muckross House and emerges from the park at the foot of the Torc waterfall. Above the waterfall the route heads off towards the Old Kenmare Road, this can be quite boggy in places especially after a spot of Kerry rain.
Look out for wild deer as you walk through the trees with Mangerton Mountain rising ahead of you and the famous MacGillicuddy`s Reeks in the distance.
Passing a deserted church, the route crosses the Killarney to Kenmare road and heads downhill following the winding Derricunnihy River and the Upper Lake.
At a little landing stage and relaxing café the Kerry Way route meets a minor road and follows it to the Black Valley Hostel, Telephone- 064-34712, close by is the Hillcrest Farmhouse B&B, Telephone- 064-34702.
This is your first day of walking, have a good rest, there is plenty more yet.
The Black Valley To Glencar
A walk of about 20 Kilometres long.
This is the most stunning of the Kerry Way Walks, between Killarney and Glenbiegh. It passes through the famous “Black Valley” and even on a sunny day you can see why the place has earned its name.
The walk climbs up gradually through rugged jagged peaks, well away from civilization, roads and the dreaded car. It meets an old butter road The Kerry Way climbs up gradually through rugged jagged peaks, well away from civilization, roads and the dreaded car. It meets an old butter road and descends into a farmyard and valley and then climbs again over a pass on a spur of Curraghmore Mountain, finally meeting Lough Acoose and a road to Glencar.
There are several B&B`S and guesthouses around Glencar :
Blackstones House- 066-9760164 Rocklands Country Home- 066-9768215 The Climbers Inn-066-9760101
Have a pint in the Climbers Inn and plan your next day’s walk.
Glencar To Glenbeigh
About 17 kilometres.
This day’s Kerry Way walk goes through the Caragh River Valley, along a bit of a short stretch of road, through a forest pathway and finishes with scenic climb up Seefin Mountain.
From the top of Seefin Mountain there is a choice of routes skirting the mountain to the East and West, both equally beautiful and both descending down into Glenbeigh where you can enjoy a good meal and a typical Irish night on the Town.
Glenbeigh itself has a very lively pub scene.
The Village Pub has music every night. Sweeney’s is a good place for the Craic. The Towers Hotel has an excellent bar specially if you are a bit younger. The Glenbeigh Hotel at the far end of Town is another popular haunt.
An excellent meal is also on the menu at most of the bars.
Good B&B`S in and around Glenbeigh include:
The Towers Hotel-9768212.
Glenbeigh To Cahersiveen
A walk of about 28 kilometres.
The first section of this walk heads southwest out of Glenbeigh and follows the coast, first ascending Glenbeigh hill with spectacular views of the coast line, especially Rossbeigh Strand and the Dingle Peninsula.
There is a short spell along roads and then another climb up Drung Hill and more wonderful views.
You then take a turn inland along the flanks of Been Hill to Foilmore where you will come upon Fransal House, a very handy B&B, but if you want to, and are fit enough to continue, Cahersiveen is about 2 hours away, otherwise your Kerry Way walk is over for to-day.
Cahersiveen offers a large selection of B&B`S, Guesthouses, Pubs and Restaurants:
Bed & Breakfasts include.
Cahersiveen Park-9472543. A well situated Hotel with comfortable bar and restaurant. At the Waterville end of Town. B O`Shea`s-9472402. situated on Church Street. Iveragh Heights-9472545. As you walk into Town. Castle View-9472252.At the Waterville end of Town.
Now for the Pubs and the Craic:
Cahersiveen To Waterville
A stroll of about 30 Kilometres.
I hope you didn’t have too much of a good time last night, as you have a fair old walk ahead of you, well lets blow the fuzziness out of our head and take a good long stride and make for Waterville.
This distance the spur from Cahersiveen back to the main route at Foilmore and another at the end of the day into Waterville.
The day’s Kerry Way walk climbs onto high ground and for much of the first half of the day you are climbing and descending hills with magnificient scenery all around you.
The walk eventually descends into Mastergeehy, a small village with a tiny post office selling very basic supplies, and then follows an old mass path up Coomaduff Hill and along another series of ridges with fine views into Waterville.
On Coomaduff Hill the Way divides, one route going onto Caherdaniel and the other into Waterville. We are going to take the Waterville route; if we are going to do the Kerry Way Walk we may as well do the whole shebang.
Anyway if we take the Waterville route the final ridge walk to Waterville is well worth the effort.
Tonight we will stay in Waterville.
Charlie Chaplin used to stay here often, apparently with Virginia Woolf, until I started my travelling around Kerry I thought Virginia Woolf was something made up, but now I know she really did exist.
Well anyway if you want to stay where Charlie and Virginia slept, book into: Butlers Arms Hotel-9474144. An oldie Worldly Hotel lost in time, but still very elegant. Bay View-9474122. Right in the centre of Town, with excellent sea views. The Old Cable House-9474233. The Strand-9474436. Peter’s Place- On the main street.
Eating and Drinking:
The Beachcove café is at the Butlers Arms end of town. Sheilin Seafood Restaurant is nearby. The Huntsman, for a good Irish dinner is just up the road. The Lobster Bar has excellent food and a good pint. The Jolly Swagman is a lively bar at weekends.
Waterville To Caherdaniel
This is the long way to Caherdaniel a walk of about 28 Kilometres.
This distance includes walking back to Coomaduff Hill from Waterville, then, at the end of the days walk, walking away from the main route towards Caherdaniel. It is a magnificent walk despite the length of the detour.
Half way down the hill from Coomaduff you will meet a fork in the Kerry Way path to Caherdaniel. It skirts around the north side of Lough Currane, crosses some rough land where the markers are not too clear and meets a boreen. Which it follows for a while close to the eastern shore of Lough Currane.
The Way then turns east along a minor road past Lough Isnagahiny. Just beyond an old school, now a Heritage Centre, the route leaves the minor road and sets off southwards climbing Mount Eagle, crossing to the right of the summit at Windy gap.
The route down is a wide green road, easy and relaxing to walk, until it meets another branch of the Kerry Way travelling from Caherdaniel to Sneem.
Our route is westwards to Caherdaniel and a signpost points the way along quite marshy ground, but with some exhilarating views down into Derrynane Bay and the Kenmare River.
Eventually you will stroll into Caherdaniel. There is little to attract the Ring’s droves of travel coaches here. However, the hamlet of two pubs, a grocer, a restaurant, and a take-away adds to its character.
Caherdaniel is the ancestral home of Daniel O’Connell, which is in Derrynane National Park with its miles of beaches ringed by sparkling dunes.
Accommodation, Food and Pubs:
You have the run of the house at, The Travellers Rest Hostel, across from the gas station, near the crossroads. Kerry Way B&B-9475277. Roomy accommodation for the weary trekker. Derrynane Hotel is more upmarket with outdoor pool, sauna, gym and tennis courts. Angela O`Sullivan-9475124. A very comfortable B&B The Olde Forge-9475140. Another very relaxed B&B.
If you need a good meal:
The Courthouse Restaurant, serves sit-down and takeaway Irish food The Blind Piper is excellent for the finest of home cooked food and seafood chowder.
The Blind Piper is the place for the night, rest your weary feet and enjoy the comfortable atmosphere of this traditional Irish Pub.
People have been drinking here since 1865 and once inside you will see why, with its fireside cottage bar, interconnecting rooms, stone floor, wooden cubicle seating, everything, plus the excellent music, giving it a sense of the old days.
Caherdaniel To Tahilla
The route sets off backtracking yesterdays Kerry Way walk to the junction at the bottom of Eagle Mountain, take the right fork and for most of the day you stroll along the Old Kenmare Road, which today is “green”, with boggy pasture and minor tarmac roads.
The walk is quite pleasant but with no exceptional scenery like we have been used to over the last few days. There are views south over the Kenmare River for most of the day and a pleasant stop can be had at Sneem.
Infact if you have got the time, and why shouldn’t you, lets have an easy day and spend the evening and night in Sneem, for tomorrow we have a fairly tough walk to Kenmare.
Sneem village derives its name from snaidhm, the Gaelic for “Knot”. It stands on the bank of the tumbling River Sneem that twists and weaves its way down the mountainside. Ramblers on the Kerry Way, a way of walking around the Ring of Kerry, find Sneem a relaxing place to stop and sample the excellent food and drink. It is also a great place to catch a few salmon.
Sneem is arranged around two squares, with two interesting churches and public houses. Big Bertha, the oldest cow in the world, living to nearly 50yrs of age, is Sneems greatest celebrity.
Big Bertha was born on Saint Patrick’s Day in 1944; she was of the rare Dremon breed, mother of 39 calves, raised funds for local charities and loved her Guinness. She can still be seen in the town, stuffed and mounted.
This figure-of-eight-town joined in the middle by a picturesque little bridge, with a rushing salmon stream below, is a cornucopia of colour. With brightly painted houses, a sculpture park and a monument to an Irish president, Caerbhaill O Dalaigh who retired here.
It is certainly a village from the past, or could it be the future. Lets look around anyway.
B&B`S: Arch House-7145127. North Square. Bank House-7145226. North Square. Failte House-7142333. Shelborne Street. Derry East Farmhouse-71445193. Outside of town at the Waterville end. Harbour View Hostel-7145276
Now where shall we eat and enjoy the craic:
The Blue Bull, is a pub in South Square that serves good Irish food and magnificent Seafood (my Favourite) after your meal have a short stroll around the town and head back for the music and song. Sacre Coeur, is an excellent restaurant at the other end of town, you could have a meal here and then head over to the Blue Bull. Riverain Restaurant, in the North square for a candle-lit dinner. Village Kitchen, for decent home cooked food.
For your Evening Wind-Down.
The Blue Bull, as above The Fisherman’s Knot, best on a Sunday night O`Shea`s Bar, in North Square is as good a traditional Irish bar as you will find anywhere.
Sneem/Tahilla To Kenmare
A, sometimes hazardous, walk of about 20 Kilometres.
This is a fairly pleasant walk as far as Templenoe, where the walk is along the actual Ring Of Kerry and the road becomes very busy.
From Tahilla the route rejoins the Old Kenmare Road as far as Blackwater Bridge where it enters woodland besides the Kenmare River, emerging west of Templenoe.
You now follow the Ring Of Kerry Road to Reen where the route leaves the main road and heads uphill over Gortamullin Hill and then down into Kenmare.
Kenmare is a large tourist and Market Town where there are several places of interest.
B&B`S and Guesthouses: Two of County Kerry’s most exclusive hotels are in Kenmare, Park Hotel, in the Town, and Sheen Falls Lodge, Just out of the town. If you prefer more relaxing and friendly places as I do, there is. Lansdowne Arms-41368. On William Street. Brass Lantern-42600. Old Railway Road. The Rose Garden-42288. In Gortamullen, just outside of the Town. A Wander Inn-41038. In the Town Rose Cottage-41330. Right in the centre of Town. Ard na Mara-41399. Pier Road. Right on the river.
Something to eat:
Park Hotel, if you have won the lotto, have a meal here. The Lime Tree on Shelburne Street is an excellent cosy restaurant. You will find it above the Square Pint Bar. Café Indigo, if you like something different. The Old Dutch Restaurant, on Henry Street. The chef is Dutch. New Delight, if you are a vegetarian and eat organic, with a touch of Asia. Packie`s, also on Henry Street, I love the Seafood here. The Purple Heather, another excellent Seafood Restaurant. D`Arcy`s, on Main Street. An Leath Phingin, famous for their pasta dishes. The Horseshoe, a good pub grub Bar.
Now that we have eaten where shall we go for a drink:
Moerans Pub, lets start off here, we might finish here also. It’s one of the oldest buildings in Kenmare where you can guarantee some lively evenings of music and song. The Square Pint has traditional music every night. The Courthouse Bar, a beautiful exceptionally cosy and relaxing bar for that quiet pint at the end of a long walk. Aldswell Public house, on the square. The Atlantic Bar, on the square.
There are loads of great pubs in Kenmare; there is one at the top of the hill, right next to O’Leary’s the bookmaker where you can enjoy yourself till the next day’s walk. By the way O’Leary owes me a bob or two.
Kenmare To Killarney
It’s the final furlong and you couldn’t have a more pleasant walk. You follow the old roads, firstly along minor roads and then through a saddle high up between Knockanaguish and Peakeen mountains with spectacular views of Killarney Lakes.
Descending the Kerry Way route follows the Derrycunnihy River, finally meeting up with the Kerry Way out of Killarney.
You’ve just got a steady down hill stroll into Killarney, have a Guinness in the first pub you come along, you deserve it, and you’ve walked The Kerry Way.
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By the way if you would like an expert to guide you, just meet Richard, he knows every "nook and crany" of Killarney walks. He will guide you to wherever you want to go to around Killarney.