SELF GUIDED TOUR
The perfect way for the independent explorer to see our hidden gems & discover the many paths less travelled.
7 nights stay, 6 days hiking
The ideal way to enjoy a self-guided hike for those unable to walk more than 15km per day.
“Perfect for us. Beautiful walks and lots of variety!”
– Hendrik, The Netherlands
Ireland’s fabled County Kerry consists of a series of spectacular mountainous peninsulas divided by deep-sea inlets. MacGillycuddy’s Reeks form the centrepiece of the famous Ring of Kerry drive, a 179-kilometre circuit from Killarney, following around the perimeter of this beautiful peninsula. Weaving between this driving route are a network of ancient paths that are nearly as old as the land itself, many of which form part of a long-distance walking track known as the Kerry Way. The name ‘Kerry’ comes from the Old Irish word Ciarraige meaning the people of Ciar, an early Celtic tribe that settled in the area around 300 BC.
Kerry has an outstanding collection of historical and archaeological sites that date back over 7,000 years, with several ancient forts and numerous early Christian churches. Impossibly green pastures stretch as far as the eye can see, completely empty save for small herds of sheep or goats, and at almost every turn there are spectacular views of mist-covered mountains and wild stretches of uninhabitable coastline where deep fissures have been carved, over the eons, by the pounding waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Here and there along the coast, pretty fish-ing villages, such as Caherdaniel and Portmagee, have successfully withstood the elements and offer a pictur-esque contrast to the verdant hills that surround them. The Skellig Islands lie 8 miles off the tip of the peninsula, two rocky peaks rising sheer out of the Atlantic Ocean. Skellig Michael is a world heritage site on account of its 6th century monastery, with beehive huts, oratories and inscribed crosses. Small Skellig is home to over 40,000 gannets, the second largest colony in the world. This is a delightful one-week walk taking you to many of the highlights of this well-known peninsula.
If you would prefer a more challenging hike then you should check out our 8 Day Ring of Kerry Hike
Click the days below to reveal more information.
Arrive in Killarney – the popular town which sits on the edge of Killarney National Park and is renowned for its three magnificent lakes in the heart of Kerry. On arrival at your first guesthouse, your host/hostess will give you your full detailed information pack. They will also be able to suggest some of the many local restaurants or pubs for food and possibly music.
Access for this holiday can be from Dublin, Cork or Shannon Airports with bus and/or train connections available to Killarney all year round.
A short walk takes you from Killarney to the imposing Ross Castle on the shores of Lough Leane (Killarney’s largest lake). From here, you embark a small boat and have a spectacular boat ride through all Three Lakes of Killarney and the Meeting of the Waters, ending at an old hunting Lodge known as Lord Brandon’s Cottage. Enjoy some light refreshments here if you wish before you begin your hike. Leaving the cottage, you follow an old Mass path along the shores of the Upper Lake of Killarney to reach the beautiful Derrycunnihy Church & Galway’s Bridge. Continuing on from there, you follow the Old Kenmare Road, an ancient “butter road” through hillside & moorland as you cross from the centre of the Ring of Kerry to the south side on the shores of Kenmare Bay. Descending into the heritage town of Kenmare you will have glorious views across the town of Kenmare to the Kenmare River & the Beara Peninsula south of it.
Walk Details – Distance: 15kms. (10kms to Gowlane Cross) 1.5 hrs.(approx.) boat ride. Height Gain: 440m, Height Loss: 460m. Rocky and sometimes wet & muddy tracks and road walking. Boots essential.
Today you begin your walk to the award winning village of Sneem at the beautiful bridge spanning the Balckwater river. This walk takes you along the shores of Kenmare Bay with great views across to the Beara Peninsula and the Caha Mountains. Overnight in Sneem.
Walk Details: Distance: 13kms. Max. Height: 200m. Rocky and grass tracks, mountain tracks and bogland and some road walking. Boots essential.
Today you will transfer to the small town of Castlecove to continue walking along the Kenmare Bay inlet. You will follow an old ‘butter road’ to the little village of Caherdaniel – once home of our famous liberator – Daniel O’Connell. The views across the Beara Peninsula and out to the Atlantic Ocean are fantastic. Overnight in Caherdaniel.
Walk Details: Distance: 8.5kms. Max. Height: 400m. Country lanes, grass tracks, rocky mountains and some road walking. Boots essential.
Today’s walk takes you on a lovely circular walk around Derrynane House– once home to the famous Daniel O’Connell. This walk follows an old Mass Path as well as a beautiful beach, before taking you inland through ancient oak forests. Finishing back in Derrynane you have time to take a tour of this historical house. You will then be transferred to Cahersiveen for your 1st or 2 overnights.
Walk Details: Distance: 7.5kms. Max. Height: 180m. Grass tracks with some rocky sections. Gravel tracks and beach. Boots optional.
Cahersiveen is often described as “the town that climbs the mountain and looks down on the sea”. This is exacty what your hike will do today, as you enjoy a magnificent looped hike around Beentee Mountain. Leaving the town centre, you follow an old Mass Path onto the lower slopes of Beentee with glorious views down to Valentia Harbour. Following beside some forestry, you climb more steeply as you ascend the ridge on the south of the mountain. Following in a north westerly direction, you reach the summit of Beentee (376m) to enjoy glorious views across Valentia Island, Cahersiveen & Dingle Bay. Descending north, you will have spectacular views of the town, the harbour & the marina. Before you re-join your starting point, you join some small little back roads as you return to the rentreof town.
Walk Details – Distance: 9kms. (Loop only). Height Gain: 410m, Height Loss: 410m. Rocky and sometimes wet & muddy tracks with some road walking. Boots essential.
Your final day takes you on a magnificent hike as you follow the Kerry Way along the northern shores of the Ring of Kerry peninsula following an old “Stage Coach” road. Starting from “Kells” you have wonderful views across Dingle Bay and the southern shores of the Dingle Peninsula as you hike east to reach the village of Glenbeigh. With glorious views across Rossbeigh Beach as you near the end of your hike, you may be lucky enough to find a “local” to tell you the story of Ireland’s Land of Eternal Youth..!! Reaching the village of Glenbeigh, you have your final overnight here before your departure tomorrow.
Walk Details – Distance: 16kms. Height Gain: 410m, Height Loss: 485m. Paved roads, gravel tracks & open hillside with some exposed drops, boggy & uneven underfoot conditions with some rocky sections. Boots essential.
Following another delicious breakfast you will transfer to Killarney – by public bus or private transfer, which we can arrange at an added cost, where you can connect with all major rail and bus networks.