Kerry Walking

Go Visit Ireland
Go Visit Ireland has been operating walking holidays in Ireland since 1994. It has a team of experienced guides throughout Ireland, many of whom have a second language.

Tailor-made itineraries for private groups a speciality. Singles, couples, friends and groups are all welcome. Discover the heart of Irish culture and heritage on a Go Visit Ireland holiday.

Walk Killarney & Kerry
Walk Killarney & Kerry covers all categories of walking terrain from the relatively easy low-level Category C to very difficult high-level Category A. All walks must be booked at least 24 hours in advance. Walkers must be properly attired in terms of proper walking boots and rainwear and should bring a back-pack with food, refreshments, sunscreen and perhaps a change of clothing. In deference to wildlife and landowners, the organisers regret that dogs or other pets are not allowed on the walks. Full day walks are not considered suitable for children below 12 years. All intending walkers should make sure they are appropriately physically fit for the category of walk being undertaken. Walkers are asked to adhere to the ‘Country Code’ and ‘Leave No Trace’ of their visit. Routes subject to change. Children under 12 are not accepted onto the walks programme.

Druid’s Loop
A-B. From the trailhead follow the green (and blue and purple) arrows through the gate and onto the farm laneway. The blue and purple arrows are for longer loops. Enjoy the journey through the traditional Irish farmyard as the laneway ascends to reach the top of the hill behind the farem. Now the loop descends and crosses the main road before descending along a farm roadway to reach an iron bridge over Esk Stream. Cross the bridge, turn right and follow the laneway to join a surfaced roadway. All three loops turn right here.

B-C. Now the loops join with the Beara Way – a long distance walking route around the Beara Peninsula, and marked with the familiar yellow arrows and walking man. At the second Y-junction note that the Beara Way and purple loop turns left – but you continue straight. Follow the roadway for over 1km and watch for a large hayshed on your right after which you turn right.

C-A. Cross a stile and join a green roadway – and follow the roadway downhill to reach a footbridge over the Esk Steam. Cross the bridge and follow the green arrows as you are taken uphill for 200m back to reach the trailhead.

Killarney National Park Walks
Killarney National Park was established in 1932 to protect one of Ireland’s most precious natural habitats. Beneath the wild, rugged summits of the country’s highest mountains, it encloses a beautiful sylvan landscape of ancient woodland, spectacular waterfalls and quiet lakes.

A great place to start exploring is the Muckross Estate, 5km south of Killarney Town on the famous Ring of Kerry. Most routes centre around Muckross Lake, and the quickest circuit takes around three hours. There are optional side-trips to Torc Waterfall, and these can add two or more hours to your walk.

Starting and finishing at Muckross House, the walks involve a minimal of climbing and include visits to the beautiful formal gardens and historic buildings of the Muckross Demesne.

Killarney Historic Town Walk
Killarney has been a tourist hub since it was developed by Thomas, Fourth Viscount Kenmare, as something of an Irish Lake District in 1750. Kenmare certainly had vision. In the 250 years since, the scenery of Killarney National Park has entranced visitors from all over the world.

But Killarney is about much more than the surrounding scenery. It hosts two heritage trails – one measuring 2.1km and winding around the town itself; another stretching to 6km as it ranges out towards St. Finian’s Hospital, the old monastery and St. Mary’s Cathedral.

All roads in Killarney lead to the Market Cross, the de facto town centre. This was the market place for Killarney Valley produce until the mid-20th-century and the town clock (or at least, beneath the town clock) remains one of the town’s favourite meeting places.

Don’t forget to check out the jarveys’ stand on Kenmare Place, too. These horse-drawn carriages have been taking tourists to the surrounding sights since the early days, with the jarveys themselves acting as guides, spinning stories at every bend on the road (and then some).

Other attractions in the town include the Franciscan friary, built in 1860 around a foundation stone taken from the ruins of Muckross Abbey, as well as Killarney’s courthouse (1835), its railway station (1853) and St. Mary’s Cathedral. Designed by Augustus Pugin, the cathedral’s large tower and skyrocketing spire, are of an Early English style and date from 1855.

A final source of intrigue is Killarney House, the Elizabethan Revival mansion set on a hillside with awesome views of Lough Leane. Its origins lie in the late 1800s, when the Earl of Kenmare of the time, decided to build a new residence.

Cosán na Naomh (The Saint’s Road)
The route starts at Tráigh Fionntrá, winding its way up a gently rising local road that curves around to provide a backward look over Cuan Fionntrá and beyond to Sceilig Mhichíl. A cross-inscribed stone in the wall on the left indicates the proximity of the round enclosure known as Cill na gColmán (Kilcolman) which has a boulder marked with two crosses and bearing an Ogham inscription bearing the name of Colmán the Pilgrim.

Continuing westwards along the southern flank of Leataoibh Beag (Lateevebeg) brings the walker to a short stretch of the Ventry – Ballyferriter road where the tower–house of Ráth Sheanáin (Rahinanne) can be seen across the fields. After a few hundred yards northwards along the road, turn right into a smaller road which curves along the northern flank of Leataoibh Beag and Leataoibh Mór (Lateevemore). Beyond it is a splendid view to Ceann Sibéal (Sybil Head), An Triúr Deirféar (The Three Sisters), Ceann Bhaile Dháith (Ballydavid Head) and Binn Bhaile Reo (Beenmore), reminders of a landscape formed in the Tertiary Age 10 – 20 million years ago. The hill of Leataoibh Mór on the south side of the pathway has hummocks formed by landslides resulting from the melting of glacial ice a mere 14,000 years ago.

After crossing the Dingle – Ballyferriter Road, Cosán na Naomh passes close to Teampall na Cluanach (Templenacloonagh), an ancient earthen enclosure containing a church, an oratory, huts and cross-inscribed pillars. Where the route comes closest to Cuan Ard na Caithne, a machair spreads itself to the left, a sandy dune area with much of interest for the ecologist and the ornithologist. Rock crags there point to old stacks where the sea-bed rose 120m after the ice melted some 20,000 years ago.

Sáipéilín Ghallarais (Gallarus Oratory), marks perhaps an old monastic site with accompanying burial area in the form of a raised platform of stones. Nearby is Caisleán Ghallarais (Gallarus Castle), a 15th / 16th century tower house. Teaming up with the Dingle – Murreagh road for a while, the route passes Cathair Deargáin (Caherdorgan), a stone fort or cashel and further on, on the left, a rectangular building known as Fothrach an tSainsiléara (The Chancellor’s House).

Close by is the route’s most important ecclesiastical site – Cill Maolchéadair (Kilmalkedar), with its Romanesque church, Ogham stone, sun-dial, bullaun, holy well, Teampaillín Bréanainn (St. Brendan’s Oratory) and Fothrach Bréanainn (St. Brendan’s House). Continuing over Cnoc Rinn Chonaill (Reenconnell Hill), the vista westwards looks out over the great amphitheatre which opens onto Cuan Ard na Caithne, while north-eastwards the eye roams over Com an Lochaigh (Ballinloghig Valley) towards the pilgrim’s goal of Cnoc Bréanainn. The grassland and heather on Rinn Chonaill leads down to Corráilí (Currauly), an enclosure skirted by the path and enclosing a beehive hut and a broken cross.

Finally the end the road is at hand in the car park at Baile Breac.

The North Kerry Way
The North Kerry Way is a 48 kilometre linear walking route through the northern part of County Kerry in the south west of Ireland, starting in the county town of Tralee and ending in the town of Ballyheigue. While not as well known as the Iveragh or Dingle Peninsulas of the same county, North Kerry has much to offer, including spectacular seascapes, the finest beaches in Ireland and a multitude of ancient sites, churches and field monuments. The route heads out of Tralee with the Dingle Way to Blennerville with its fine traditional windmill: there the routes part and the North Kerry Way heads north west along a sea wall at the back of Tralee Bay. From the village of Spa it goes cross country onto the white sands of Banna Strand to reach the village of Ballyheige and the beginning of a scenic mountainous area on Kerry Head, which it loops around before finishing at Ballyheigue. The terrain consists of mainly quiet country roads, firm beach sand (except at high tide), tracks, bog roads and field paths. The route is flat except for the last 18 kilometres where there are some short ascents, with an aggregate climb of 370 metres. There are some short loop walks which link with the main route of the North Kerry Way.

The Dingle Way
The Dingle peninsula, the northernmost of County Kerry’s peninsulas, stretches nearly 50 kilometres into the Atlantic, and is 21 kilometres wide at its broadest. It is a dramatic and varied landscape of coastal plains, sandy beaches, mountains and lakes. The Dingle Way is a circular route beginning and ending in the town of Tralee that takes in all of these wonderments along the route. Leaving Tralee the route climbs onto the flanks of the Slieve Mish and contours westwards before crossing the peninsula to the scenic Inch beach on Dingle Bay. The route then meanders westwards by the villages of Anascaul and Lispole to the famed town of Dingle, where many walkers will want to stay a while and enjoy the good food, good music and craic. West of Dingle is the most dramatic part of the Way, an exciting coastal trek around the westernmost point of Ireland and a return leg over a saddle below Kerry’s holy mountain, Brandon, and on to Tralee by the shore. Terrain consists mainly of quiet tarmac roads, mountain, field and cliff paths, and over 20km of good beach walking. The aggregate ascent over the route is 2480m, and although there are some short steep ascents, there are no significant steep climbs. Overnight accommodation is plentiful. The route is steeped in history and scattered with the ruins of ancient dwellings, forts, churches, and castles, and because of its circular layout, can be easily sampled in sections.

Glanteenassig Wood
Glanteenassig is a 450 hectare area of Coillte woodland, mountain, lake and peatland, situated in a sheltered valley among the Slieve Mish mountains. To reach it, the visitor must step off the beaten track, travel up the valley and feel the remoteness of the mountains. Behind the trees the area abounds with streams, lakes, waterfalls and dramatic cliffs which characterise this untamed landscape. The wood is approached through a small grove of beech between the entrance and a bridge that spans the Owencashla river. Just over the bridge is a car park. The forest, typical of those which were established in the 1950’s and 60’s consists mainly of Sitka spruce and Lodgepole pine. However, there are some pockets of silver fir, larch and beech in the more sheltered areas and some native species such as birch, alder and holly. As areas mature and are clearfelled much of the spruces are being replaced with larch, alder and mountain ash in keeping with the primeval forests that once colonised the area.

The first opportunity to experience the beauty of Glanteenassig is about 1.2 km from the car park. Just after crossing a wooden bridge, take a left along the trail to the shore of Lough Slat. This quiet and serene lake sits below the imposing hill of Doon and the majestic rock face of Carrigaspanaig. This scene can be even more dramatic after heavy rain when “ a thousand wild fountains rush down to that lake from their home in the mountains ”. ( J.J Callinan ) It is easy to understand the origin of the name Glanteenassig or Gleann Ti an Easaigh which translates to the Valley of the Waterfalls.

Back to the forest road and take the trail to the right which leads the visitor up along the bank of the river Owencashla and back on to the road again. Continue along the road to a T junction, take a left and after 100 metres you are on the shores of Lough Caum with a board walk right around the lake. This lake is a trout angler’s paradise. From here the landscape opens up to a 360° vista of mountain, forest, lake and valley. Retrace your steps from here back to the T junction and continue on over a ford on the infant river travelling east for about 600 metres when suddenly the whole of Tralee bay with the Stack’s mountains in the background comes into view.

As well as the 3 waymarked trails there is about 8 km of forest road in this block of forest. This provides the ideal location for a long hike or for a family cycle. Although remote, Glanteenassig is only about 6 km from the sandy beaches at Castlegregory thus providing the perfect diversion for the holiday maker on the days not suited to the beach or when one tires of sun and sand. To get away from it all there is no better place to spend a day or even an afternoon.

The Ring of Kerry
The award winning village of Sneem is an ideal base from which to explore the Atlantic coastline and rugged mountains of the Ring of Kerry. The peninsula is a haven for walkers and offers open countryside, glens, mountains and beaches to be explored. Retracing old “”butter”” roads, bog roads, droving roads and mass paths will reveal evidence of centuries of civilisation in Celtic standing stones, Bronze Age ring forts and deserted abbeys.

Weather permitting, boats offer trips to the Skellig Islands.Thesetwo high, rocky islands are home to thousands of sea birds. On the larger Skellig Michael there is the remains of the long abandoned 6th century monastery with beehive huts still entact.

Muckross and Dinis Tour
Take the Killarney to Kenmare road to the main entrance to the National Park. This particular tour is best done by jaunting car, bicycle or on foot, as cars only have access to Muckross House car park. The trip will take you right through the Muckross Demesne to Dinis. Things to see along the way include Muckross Abbey, Muckross House and Gardens, Colleen Bawn Rock, Brickeen Bridge, Dinis Cottage and Torc Waterfall. This area has some of the finest and most beautiful scenery in Ireland and affords magnificent views of the Lake district.

The round trip from Killarney and back again is approximately 21km.

The Kerry Way
The Iveragh Peninsula is the largest of Kerry’s Atlantic peninsulas, extending sixty kilometres into the ocean from the mainland, and it is thirty two kilometres across. The Iveragh contains the Killarney Lakes with their mountainous backgrounds, the most famously picturesque landscapes in Ireland since tourism began in the late eighteen hundreds. The main mountain group on the peninsula, called the Macgillicuddy Reeks, contains the two highest summits in Ireland, Carrauntoohil at 1038m and Caher at 1001m.

The Kerry Way, the longest of the Irish Waymarked Trails, is a circular route that circumnavigates the peninsula, starting and finishing in Killarney, and also passing through fine Kerry towns such as Glenbeigh, Caherciveen, Waterville, Sneem and Kenmare. The landscape the route passes through is very varied, from the lakes of Killarney to high and remote mountain moorland: Carrauntoohil and Caher tower over the route west of Black Valley and the return leg passes along the startlingly contrasting semi-tropical, palm-treed south coast. Terrain consists mainly of quiet tarmac roads, open moorland, woodland and field paths and boreens. Some sections of the open moorland can be very isolated, and off-road sections can often be very wet and muddy. Aggregate ascent over the whole route is about 5400m, and there are some sustained and quite steep climbs. The highest point on the Way is 385m above sea-level, at Windy Gap between Glenmore and Caherdaniel.There are some long stretches between overnight accommodation possibilities, and walkers should plan their days carefully to take these into consideration: public transport options are very good.

Listowel Historic Town Walk
Set on the banks of the River Feale, the North Kerry town of Listowel has its origins in a fortress developed by the Fitzmaurice clan. And at its heart remains the 15th-century Listowel Castle, a sensitively restored Geraldine fortress distinguished by its two remaining towers (there were four originally), which are joined by a curtain wall.

Listowel has three interlinking heritage trails, laid out along blue (2.1km), green (1.5km) and red (2.8km) routes signposted through the town. Between them, the trails take in Market Square, the old famine memorial graveyard at Teampall Bán, the five-arch Listowel Bridge (dating from 1829), and the town racecourse (the lively Listowel Races take place in September).

Another stop is the Garden of Europe – an oasis in the Town Park boasting some 2,500 trees from all over the continent. The garden contains Ireland’s only monument to victims of the holocaust.

Listowel was once the terminus of the world’s first monorail system, the Lartigue Railway. From 1888 to 1924, this eccentric track ran between Listowel and Ballybunion, with engines and wagons hanging pannier-like on either side of a central rail. A restored section of the railway, along which visitors can undertake a short journey on the monorail, is complemented by an Interpretative Centre.

For a town of its size, Listowel also packs a mighty literary punch. This was the home of Maurice Walsh (author of The Quiet Man), and Listowel has connections with Bryan McMahon, poet Brendan Kennelly and John B. Keane – whose name you’ll find adorning a popular bar in the town. But then, it’s hardly surprising that a town so close to the Dingle Peninsula and Kerry Head is a source of inspiration.

As Keane put it: “Listowel, where it is easier to write than not to write / Where first love never dies, and the tall streets hide the loveliness / The heartbreak and the moods, great and small, of all the gentle souls / Of a great and good community.”

Beentee Loop
In his song The Boys of Barr na Sraide, Sigerson Clifford describes Cahersiveen as ‘the town that climbs the mountain, and looks upon the sea.’ The town lies at the foot of Beentee Mountain, on the Fertha River, and overlooks Valentia Harbour. It is the main centre for the western end of the Ring of Kerry and is an ideal location for exploring the rugged coast of the southwest of Ireland. Cahersiveen has a superb yachting marina and harbour and has a reputation for some of the best deep sea angling in Europe. The area is of great importance and interest to antiquarians as it boasts many ancient sites including the ruins of the 15th century Ballycarbery Castle; and two dry stone forts (Leacanabuaile and Cahergal) which date to 800 AD. In the townitself, the Old Barracks Heritage Centre is a unique building of Schloss design which was completed in 1875. The trailhead for the Beentee Loop is in the centre of the town and starts by following an ancient mass path – then rising to gentle mountain slopes. A steep climb takes you onto the summit of Beentee Mountain (376m) which overlooks the town, the harbour and much more.

A-B. Starting from the trailhead at The Fairgeen Car Park in the heart of the town, follow the blue arrows and purple National Loop arrows out the rear of the car park and ascend via Carhan Lower passing the water reservoir from where you have a panoramic view of the town and Valencia Harbour. You are also on the Kerry Way (a long-distance route) marked with yellow arrows and the familiar trekking man logo. After 1.5km the loop joins an old mass path through Carhan Upper.

B-C. Follow the Mass path along the lower slopes of Beentee Mountain to join a tarred surface at Gurteen. After 300m watch out for a signpost which directs you to the right across a stile onto a track which ascends steeply by the side of forestry onto the ridge south of Beentee.

C-D. At the end of the steep ascent, the loop swings sharp right and continues to climb along the ridge following ditches and wire fences (on your left). Near the end of the ascent, the loop crosses a stile and takes you onto the summit of Beentee from which you have spectacular views of the town, the harbour, and the marina.

D-E. Continue to follow the blue arrows as you descend to Garranebane by well worn paths and, towards the end an old laneway. The end of this section exits onto a tarred roadway where you turn right.

E-A. The final 1km section takes you back to the trailhead via minor roads at the back to the town.