The Kerry Way - 11 Days & 10 Nights

11 Days & 10 Nights 4.4 Read 27 reviews
  • Walking Kerry’s historic trails amongst the highest peaks in the Emerald Isle
  • Soak up the atmosphere of County Kerry’s market villages and towns
  • Lively Irish music and the ‘craic’ of authentic old-world pubs
  • The 2000 year old Staigue Fort is one of Ireland’s best examples of a ring fort
  • Majestic views of the Lakes of Killarney from the grounds of Muckross House
Experience the raw, unspoilt beauty of Ireland on the enchanting Kerry Way; a 210km Irish national walking trail which also takes in the highlights of the famed Ring of Kerry route. Walk through rolling landscapes punctuated by lonely valleys, dramatic Atlantic coastlines, peaceful lakes, charming villages and historic features. Although County Kerry is home to the highest mountains in Ireland, the Kerry Way is largely a lower-level inland route. Discover remote glens such as the Black Valley, and follow old green roads and historic tracks that have been travelled for hundreds of years. Steeped in ancient history, the Kerry Way takes you past Iron Age forts, Ogham stones and old monasteries. This classic national trail is a must for anyone who wishes to discover the real flavour of Ireland.
If you would like to walk the full Kerry Way, starting and finishing in Killarney, then this is the trip for you! Ireland’s longest national trail takes you around the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry in 8 daily stages. This trip offers a unique mix of dramatic mountains, peaceful lakes and coastal views, perfect for regular walkers and outdoor enthusiasts. The Kerry Way follows some of the highlights of the famed ‘Ring of Kerry’ route and allows you to take life at a slower pace on foot.

Tour Type:

Classic Routes | If you’re the active, outdoorsy type, who’s interested in taking on the great routes of the world or looking for a challenge, then our Classic Routes are for you. We’re talking the West Highland Way, Tour Du Mont Blanc and the Passau to Vienna Danube Cycle Path, to name but a few!

Activity:

Inn to Inn Walking | Walk from place-to-place changing accommodations each night. Generally staying in B&B’s, inns, and guesthouses.

This trip is suitable for:

Solo Travellers

As a guide, we would suggest that the minimum age of traveler this tour would be suitable for is: 15 Years

Ideal if you have an interest in:

  • Long-Distance Trails
  • National Parks
  • Off the Beaten Track

Activity Level & Terrain

Our 11-day Kerry Way walking trip is graded moderate to strenuous. This is one of Ireland's longest waymarked trails and it is suitable for regular and experienced walkers. If you are interested in walking the first sections of the Kerry Way, please see our 5-day itinerary which is graded easy to moderate.

The trail includes daily walks of around 20 to 30km (12 to 19mi) on varied terrain. It is generally a low-level (albeit undulating) walk, interspersed with several ridge and spur crossings of between 200-300m. The highest point of the route is the summit of Knockavahaun at 371m. Please note that the first walk from Galway's Bridge to Glencar is 29.5km (18mi) with an ascent of roughly 650m making it arguably the most challenging walk, leaning more towards strenuous grading. It is advisable to do several longer walks of a similar distance to build up your fitness before setting off on the Kerry Way. If you would like to have some flexibility it is possible to add some rest days along the trail, please let us know if this is of interest.

The Kerry Way uses a variety of routes, from forest tracks, farm tracks, and paths across moorland and fields to historic old roads through villages. Overall about 35% of the Kerry Way follows tarmac roads (also known as bitumen) which is less than most Irish national trails. This reflects the fact that rights of way are almost non-existent in Ireland. The road walking is scenic and mostly along quiet lanes with little traffic, although a few short sections are along busier main roads where extra care and attention are needed. 

If you are thinking of travelling solo, please consider that mobile phone coverage may be patchy in remote areas along the trail. We also welcome small groups on the trail, ideally no bigger than 6-8 travellers due to accommodation limitations in remote areas along the Kerry Way. Booking in advance is a must. 

Navigation

The Kerry Way is a low-level walk that is waymarked throughout. Our recommended route and the general best practice is walking the Kerry Way circuit anti-clockwise. This way you start with the stages that are of modest length and by the time you encounter longer walking days, you will be well into your stride. You will be supplied with the Rucksack Readers guidebook and you will have access to the GPX tracks via the Macs Adventure smartphone app so you should have no problems following the route each day.

Please note hat depending on the time of year and recent weather, the trail may be boggy in places which could reduce your average walking speed. 

Accommodations

The accommodations along the Kerry Way are small and varied, you will stay in family-run B&Bs, guest houses, and hotels. A warm welcome is guaranteed as well as traditional Irish hospitality. We will always try to accommodate you at the locations that are detailed in the itinerary, but this may sometimes be difficult due to limited availability. Some of the overnight locations are in remote valleys and for this reason, we might sometimes have to accommodate you elsewhere. If this is the case, you will always receive directions to and from the trail in your route notes or in some cases, return transfers from the path. Please be aware that this may result in slightly longer or shorter walking days. 

We will be happy to accommodate your party with single rooms if requested and this trip is also available to solo walkers.

Meals

A hearty breakfast is included each morning. Lunch and dinner are not included so you are free to choose from the available options. Most of your accommodations will more than happy to provide a packed lunch on request and this can be booked on arrival. Alternatively, you can buy lunch at local shops or stop in a café. Dinner is available either at your accommodation or at nearby pubs or restaurants.

Included
  • 11 Nights in en suite rooms
  • Door-to-door baggage transfers
  • Transfer Killarney to Galway's Bridge (Day 2)
  • Transfer Cahersiveen to Foilmore (Day 5)
  • Transfer Sneem to Blackwater Bridge (Day 8&9)
  • A detailed information pack with guidebook and maps
  • Access to the GPS tracks via the Macs Adventure smartphone app
  • 24/7 Emergency telephone support in the event of any issues
Excluded
  • Travel to the start or from the finish of the walk
  • Lunches, dinners, snacks and drinks
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Equipment
  • Taxi transfers or public transport should you need to skip a stage
Extras
  • Extra nights before, during and after your walk.

When To Go

Weather and Climate

Irish weather is typically unpredictable year-round so be prepared for any conditions and you will be pleasantly surprised. No matter what month you choose to travel, being close to the coast and in remote valleys between mountains, means it can get wet and windy at any time of year (particularly at the start and towards the end of the season). It is important that you check the local weather forecast before setting off each day. It is safe to walk along coastal stretches in most weather, as long as you are well-prepared.

Getting to the Start

The Kerry Way conveniently start and finishes in Killarney and there are a number of different ways to get there. 

Flights are available to Kerry Airport with Ryanair from London Luton, London Stansted and Frankfurt. If you can't fly into Kerry Airport directly, there is an Aer Lingus flight between Dublin and Kerry Airport. There is a bus (25 mins) from Kerry Airport to Killarney. For bus timetables, check the website of Bus Eireann

You could also fly into Cork Airport with Aer Lingus from Bristol, London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester and Birmingham. From Cork Airport it is a short bus ride (20 mins) to Cork Kent train station, then a 1h30-2hr train ride to Killarney. For train timetables, check the website of Irish Rail.

Another option is flying into Shannon Airport with Aer Lingus from Dublin, Bristol, Manchester, London Heathrow and Birmingham, as well as Boston and New York JFK. Ryanair fly to Shannon from Liverpool and London Stansted. Air Transat fly from Toronto and US Airways fly from Philadelphia to Shannon. From Shannon Airport take a bus (approx. 2h50-3h40, via Limerick) to Killarney.

It is also possible to take a ferry from Holyhead to Dublin, please check Irish Ferries for more information.

Getting from the End

Getting from Killarney, just follow the getting to suggestions in reverse.

Luggage Transfer

Daily door-to-door luggage transfers are included in the price of your trip, allowing you to set off on each walk carrying a light backpack. 

At Macs Adventure we work in partnership with many luggage transfer providers who set a limit on how many bags/suitcases they will transfer per person, and also the weight of the bag/suitcase. Ninety-nine percent of the time they will only transfer one bag per person, but the allowed weight ranges from anything between 15 and 20kg per bag, depending on the tour you are taking. We do not have control over the limits that these providers set. Therefore, it is very important that you read the luggage information specific to your tour before departure. If you do not adhere to these limits there is a great possibility that you will be charged locally both for extra bags (including shopping bags or boots) and if they are too heavy. This limitation can be a challenge, especially as airlines generally have limits that are higher. However, our luggage providers have reasons for these limits (usually due to the Health and Safety of their employees) which we must respect.

On this trip, we ask you to keep your luggage to a maximum weight of 15 kilograms per item. Although most airlines have a standard baggage allowance of 23kg, we kindly ask you to distribute any excess weight over a separate bag. Please note that 2 bags per person are allowed, meaning 4 bags per couple.

General Information

The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jackets and pants), sun hat and sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking/cycling gear such as good walking shoes or boots, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.

Equipment

Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes, and a day pack.

Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.

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Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive Killarney Day 2 Transfer to Galway's Bridge. Walk to Glencar 18 miles / 29.5 km Day 3 Glencar to Glenbeigh 8 miles / 13.5 km Day 4 Glenbeigh to Cahersiveen 18 miles / 29 km Day 5 Transfer to Foilmore. Walk to Waterville 14 miles / 22.5 km Day 6 Waterville to Caherdaniel 9.5 miles / 15.5 km Day 7 Caherdaniel to Sneem 10.5 miles / 17 km Day 8 Transfer to Blackwater Bridge. Walk to Sneem 8 miles / 13.5 km Day 9 Transfer to Blackwater Bridge. Walk to Kenmare 11 miles / 17.5 km Day 10 Kenmare to Killarney 15.5 miles / 25 km Day 11 Onward Travel

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