In fact, 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 fishing villages, such as Caherdaniel and Portmagee, have successfully withstood the elements and offer a picturesque 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.
Kerry’s unique character is drawn from its unequalled diversity of land and seascapes while its offshore islands add another dimension to the beauty of the coastline frequently dotted with castles, forts and watchtowers. Warm summers and mild winters produce many sub-tropical and alpine species of flora while the temperate ocean waters, heated by the Gulf Stream, produce magnificent underwater vistas with whales, dolphins, seals and even turtles being frequent visitors.
You will spend one night at each of the following centres: Killarney, Black Valley, Glencar and Glenbeigh. The daily stages take you cross-country, and the landscape can be quite hilly at times. You’ll experience dramatic, almost wild, scenery.
Day 1: Arrive in Killarney – the popular town surrounded by three magnificent lakes in the heart of Kerry. On arrival to your first guesthouse, your hostess will give you your full detailed information pack. She 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.
Day 2: From your B&B you will walk out of the town of Killarney, along the Muckross road, over the Flesk River and into the National Park. Passing Torc Waterfall, we continue along what used to be a “Mass Path” to Derrycunnihy Church. We descend via Lord Brandon’s cottage into the heart of the Black Valley. … known locally as An Com Dubh. Our second overnight is here.
Walk Details: Distance: 20 km. Duration: 6 hours. Max. Ascent: 200 m. Mountain tracks and green roads. Can be wet underfoot – boots essential.
Day 3: From the Black Valley we follow a route along the lake, over the “saddle” into the Brida Valley, follow along by the shores of Lough Acosse to enjoy a spectacular walk among the foothills of the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks, Ireland’s highest mountain range. From Lough Acosse we make our way in the hamlet of Glencar. Third overnight is here in Glencar.
Walk Details: Distance: 18 km. Duration: 6 hours. Max. Ascent: 400 m. Road walking, grass and gravel tracks, open mountain and bogland, can be wet underfoot. Boots essential.
Day 4: A “shortish” walk to day which can be extended if you wish, taking you from beautiful Blackstone’s Bridge … along the Caragh River and Valley, following around Seefin Mountain and descending down into the picturesque Glenbeigh. The views across Casltemaine Harbour and out west to Dingle Bay have to be seen to be appreciated. Glenbeigh, once a thriving Stage Coach stop is a village with immense character. Rossbeigh Beach, 2 km further west is worth a visit.
Walk Details: Distance: 14 km. Duration: 4 hours. Max. Ascent: 350 m. Road walking, mountain rocky tracks, grass tracks and forest paths. Boots essential.
Day 5: After a good “hearty” Irish breakfast you depart your Kerry Way Mini-Break walking holiday, either by Public Bus to Killarney or local taxi. From Killarney there is an excellent Bus and rail service to all parts of the country.
Single Room Supplement: 5-day €150.
Also see tour packages in:
Europe Ireland Outdoor: Land Rambler Walking Tours