You’ve likely heard of the Ring of Kerry – it is considered one of the finest drives in the world and it’s one of the most well-known places in Ireland. However – what if you could slow down, and discover the Ring of Kerry at a slower pace? From rugged cliffs to golden beaches, small villages, green pastures, peat bogs, and picturesque mountain ranges – you will hike and see the ‘real’ Ireland away from the crowds and roads with only the sound of nature to accompany you.
In all of my trips to Ireland, I have yet to tackle this challenge – hiking 122 miles around the entire Ring of Kerry. However – this coming May 2024, I’m finally taking it on! However as a twist – I’m asking you to join me on this epic Inn to Inn hike in Ireland!
This will be a true adventure and a true challenge. Normally when I offer Ottsworld Tours, they are itineraries that I’m really familiar with and have done before, however, I’ve never done this hike, so we’ll both be experiencing it with a fresh set of eyes and expectations. Plus, 122 miles over mountains and rugged terrain in 9 days is no small feat…it is something I’ll need to plan and train for!
This is my favorite type of travel – a challenging adventure and a new destination! It is the travel that you have watched me do for years and years here at Ottsworld – and now you get to come to experience it with me! So if you are looking for something new to challenge you, to look forward to, to meet new friends who are all in this together – all in the backdrop of the culture and landscape of Ireland – then read on.
Table of Contents
Hiking the Kerry Way – Supported
I’ve tackled a lot of long-distance hikes in my travels; Camino de Santiago, Dolomites, Saint Olav’s Way, Annapurna Circuit, Costa Brava Coastal Path, and the Kumano Kodo to name a few. I love the challenge of these long-distance hikes; the slow pace, the chance to absorb nature and culture, yet still sleep in a nice bed every night and eat great food!
Get more great multi-day hiking inspiration! Read about all of the thru-hikes I’ve done around the world and why they are all great alternatives to the Camino de Santiago.
I’ve always wanted to do one of Ireland’s famous multi-day hikes – and I’m asking you to join me on this Irish adventure!
Each night we’ll stay in a small local village or town, and enjoy the pubs, music, and atmosphere of small-town Ireland. Each day we’ll lace up our boots, and tackle the rural and rugged landscapes of Ireland’s West Coast.
And we’ll make it all the way around the peninsula on foot…together!
Ireland Walk Hike Bike
I am working with a local company, Ireland Walk Hike Bike, to run the trip. They are experts in the area and will be with us every step of the way! I’ve worked with them for the past 5 years on creating custom tours in Ireland and am happy to continue our relationship. They have incredible guides and will ensure that our every need it handled.
Overview, Costs, and Map
Dates: May 1 – 11, 2024
Cost: €2,600* (€435 single supplement)
This region was first settled around 300 BC by the people of Ciar – an early Celtic Tribe and this epic journey will immerse you in almost 10,000 years of dramatic history.
Itinerary at a Glance – 122 miles in 9 days
Day 1 – Arrive in Killarney Overnight Killarney
Day 2 – Killarney to Black Valley Hike (13.2miles) Overnight Killarney
Day 3 – Black Valley to Glencar Hike (10.9 miles) Overnight Glencar
Day 4 – Glencar to Glenbeigh (13.2 Miles) Overnight Glenbeigh
Day 5 – Glenbeigh to Cahersiveen Hike (18.3 Miles) Overnight Cahersiveen
Day 6 – Cahersiveen to Waterville Hike ( 18.9 Miles) Overnight Waterville
Day 7- Waterville to Caherdaniel Hike (9 Miles) Overnight Caherdaniel
Day 8 – Caherdaniel to Sneem Hike (10.8 Miles) Overnight Sneem
Day 9 – Sneem to Kenmare Hike (21 Miles) Overnight Kenmare
Day 10 – Kenmore to Killarney Hike (6.5 Miles) Overnight Killarney
Day 11 – Depart Killarney
As I do with all of my Ottsworld Tours, I will also offer photography instruction for those of you who are interested in improving your photography (phone or camera). In addition, I will be taking photographs of the entire tour and each guest will get a download of all images I take. So if you don’t want to take pictures – I’ll do it for you!
How to Book This Tour
I’d like to talk to you first to answer any of your questions prior to your booking. Therefore follow these steps to book:
- Send me an email at [email protected] letting me know about your interest. We will set up a call to discuss any questions you have. This will be on a first come first serve basis – there are only 11 spots available on this tour.
- I will send you a payment link to Ireland Walk Hike Bike’s Custom Tour form where you can book your deposit with them and secure your spot for this custom Ottsworld tour. A 300€ nonrefundable deposit is required to secure a spot.
- Fill out the custom tour form and be sure to put “Ottsworld Kerry Way Tour” in the notes section.
- Final payment is due February 1, 2024 (90 Days prior to May 1, 2024)
Cancellation Policy and Fee
- If you cancel more than 90 days before the starting date of the holiday, you will lose the deposit amount.
- If you cancel between 89 – 42 days before starting date of the holiday, you will lose 50% of the holiday cost
- If you cancel less than 42 days before the starting date of the holiday, you will lose 100% of the holiday cost
I highly recommend that you get travel insurance to cover any risks of cancellation. I normally use Allianz Travel Insurance for my own travels and it is very reason
This is considered Inn to Inn supported hiking. We’ll have a local guide with us for the trip who will handle all of the logistics – so all we have to do is hike! They will not only move the luggage so that all we have to carry is a day pack, but each day we will have two distance options that we can hike. The itinerary includes a number of days of hiking over 15 miles, therefore if people in the group want to do a shorter distance they will have that option. Note – you will need to pick either the full distance or the shorter distance and our guide will handle all transportation.
This means that our guide will not be hiking with us on the trail, we will be on the trail on our own, but it is well marked and each of us will have a GPS app from Ireland Walk Hike Bike that won’t let us get lost! However, our guide will be with us in the mornings and evenings, and will fill us with the history of the Kerry Peninsula, Irish culture, great places to eat, and let us know where the best pubs are!
May 1st Day 1 – Arrive in Killarney
Our Hiking tour begins in the bustling own of Killarney. Killarney is home to the spectacular National Park and the majestic Three Lakes of Killarney. We will meet our guide at 5 pm this evening for a tour briefing before enjoying a delicious meal with your fellow hikers in a local restaurant.
May 2nd Day 2 – Killarney to the Black Valley
Today is all about the lakes. Our route today takes us along sections of the shores of all 3 of the famous Lakes of Killarney, you will begin in Killarney National Park and then follow an old “mass path” along the shores of the Upper Lake to reach the Black Valley.
We will then take a magical boat journey through the 3 lakes to return to Killarney for our overnight.
Walk Details: Approx. Distance – 13.29 miles | Height gain – 1614 ft | Height loss – 1598 ft | Max Height – 948 feet. Terrain: Mountain tracks and green roads. Can be wet underfoot – boots essential. Due to limited lodging in the Black Valley – we will stay in Killarney again on Day 2.
May 3rd Day 3 – Black Valley to Glencar
This morning we will be transferred back to the Black Valley to begin our hike. From the Black Valley we follow a route overlooking a lake, then ascend to cross over a ‘saddle’ into the Bridia Valley. We’ll Ascend another saddle once used for driving animals to markets. The hike takes us into the foothills of McGillcuddy’s Reeks (Ireland’s highest mountain range) as we follow through the wild magnificence of the Ring of Kerry. With views across to Carrauntohill Mountain, we continue beside a river to reach the tiny hamlet of Glencar where we’ll overnight.
Walk Details: Approx. Distance – 10.87 Miles | Height gain – 2693 ft. | Height loss – 2273 ft. | Max Height – 1256 ft. Terrain: Road walking, grass and gravel tracks, open mountain, and bogland, can be wet underfoot. Boots essential.
May 4th Day 4 – Glencar to Glenbeigh
This is a fantastic walk today taking us over the beautiful Blackstone’s Bridge, along the Caragh River and Valley. We continue around Seefin mountain which is closely linked to Ireland’s mythology. From here you descend to the lovely village of Glenbeigh. The views across Castlemaine 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. If you have more energy you can visit Rossbeigh Beach which lies further west. Overnight in Glenbeigh.
Walk Details: Approx. Distance – 13.23 Miles| Height gain – 2077 ft. | Height loss – 2493 ft. | Max Height – 1112 ft. Terrain: Road walking, mountain rocky tracks, grass tracks, and forest paths. Boots essential.
May 5th Day 5 – Glenbeigh to Caherciveen
Our hike takes us from just outside the town of Glenbeigh, along the northern shores of the peninsula, to the town of Cahersiveen. This walk follows an19th century Stage Coach route with spectacular views across to the Dingle Peninsula. We will pass through old, deserted villages which were once busy centers of activity, trading with passengers on the old stagecoaches. We follow along little boreens and old farming trails today to reach the town of Cahersiveen. Overnight in Cahersiveen.
Walk Details: Approx. Distance – 18.33 Miles | Height gain – 1821 ft. | Height loss – 2110 ft. | Max Height – 1204 ft. Terrain: Grass mountain tracks with some rocky sections. Gravel tracks and some road walking. Boots essential.
May 6th Day 6 – Cahersiveen to Waterville
Following in a south-westerly direction today, we will have coastal views for much of our hike! This walk takes us across the tip of the peninsula with views north over the Dingle Peninsula and west across the Atlantic Ocean. We’ll likely meet some sheep on the high hills on our way to reach Waterville – one of Charlie Chaplin’s favorite haunts. Overnight in Waterville.
Walk Details: Approx. Distance – 18.9 Miles | Height gain – 2694 ft. | Height loss – 2661 ft. | Max Height – 1299 ft. Terrain: Grass mountain tracks with some rocky sections. Gravel tracks and some road walking. Boots essential.
May 7th Day 7 – Waterville to Caherdaniel
Today’s hike takes us around the most westerly tip of the Ring of Kerry, overlooking the stunning Derrynane Bay, the Beara Peninsula, and an abundance of islands. We’ll finish your hike in the beautiful village of Caherdaniel where we overnight.
Upon reaching Caherdaniel you will meet a local seaweed forager who will introduce you to this amazing plant. You can taste different seaweeds and learn about the Irish seashore and what lies beneath the waves.
Included: Breakfast, Seaweed experience
Walk Details: Approx. Distance – 9 miles | Height gain – 1102 ft. | Height loss – 997 ft. | Max Height – 807 ft. Terrain: Rocky and grass tracks, mountain tracks and bogland, and some road walking. Boots essential.
May 8th Day 8 – Caherdaniel to Sneem
We’ll learn more about Kerry’s Dark Sky Reserve (one of only a small number of reserves worldwide) as we start our hike out of Caherdaniel. Our route today will have views across the Atlantic as well as an opportunity to see ancient ring forts. We’ll walk in an easterly direction along an old ‘butter road to the colorful village of Sneem for our overnight.
Walk Details: Approx. Distance – 10.8 Miles | Height gain – 1749 ft. | Height loss – 1795 ft. | Max Height – 741 ft. Terrain: Country lanes, grass tracks, Rocky Mountains and some road walking. Boots essential.
May 9th Day 9 – Sneem to Kenmare
The heritage town of Kenmare is our goal today, as we follow along the shores of the Kenmare River from Sneem. Beginning with a short drive from Sneem, our hike starts on farm tracks, goes across the open hillside, and then along the shores of Kenmare Bay. Finally, we gain height to enjoy glorious views before descending into Kenmare for our overnight.
Walk Details: Approx. Distance – 21 miles | Height gain – 2405 ft. | Height loss – 2408 ft. | Max Height – 2405 ft. Terrain: Forest tracks, some road walking, mountain tracks, and country lanes. Boots essential.
May 10th Day 10 – Kenmare to Galways Bridge
Today starts with a visit to a local sheep farm. Meet some newborn lambs and see how the shepherds work with the sheepdogs to control their flock.
Following time at the farm we will be transferred to the start of today’s short hike where we complete the circuit of the Kery Way hiking trail! The route takes us along the Old Kenmare Road, once used by people traveling to markets. This is unspoiled wilderness seen only by hikers, deer, and the soaring sea eagles that we may be lucky enough to see.
At the end of today’s route, we will be transferred to Killarney for our final night of celebration. Enjoy a delicious meal and a few pints! Look back and revel in our epic journey through the wilds of County Kerry.
Included: Breakfast, Dinner, Sheep Farm Experience
Walk Details: Approx. Distance – 6.5 Miles | Height gain – 1191 ft. | Height loss – 1227 ft. | Max Height – 955 ft. Terrain: Rocky and gravel tracks, some road walking, mountain tracks, and country lanes. Boots essential.
May 11th Day 11 – Depart from Killarney
Your tour finishes this morning after breakfast (included). You can either make your way back to Dublin for a departure flight or stay extra days in Ireland and explore on your own! From Killarney, connections by bus and train are frequent to Cork Limerick, Shannon, or Dublin.
How to Get To/From Killarney
You’ll need to arrive in Killarney on May 1st by 5 PM as we will have our group meeting and dinner that night before we start hiking the next day.
There are a number of ways to get to Killarney – bus, train, plane – check out this complete list of transportation options.
It’s pretty easy to book your own bus or train shuttle to Killarney, however, if you’d rather not, Ireland Walk Hike Bike can book this for you. The cost is an additional €12.50 to your final invoice to cover their administration costs for this service.
Dublin – 5-6 hours to Killarney
Shannon – 3-4 hours to Killarney
Cork – 1.5 hours to Killarney
Kerry (regional) – 20 to 30 minutes to Killarney
- 10 nights stay in an en-suite room at small town B&Bs and guest houses.
- Delicious Full Irish breakfast each morning, and 2 Dinners.
- An expert Irish guide will accompany the group for the duration of the holiday.
- 2 mileage choices for each day.
- Luggage Transfer so you only have to carry a daypack.
- Experiences as outlined in the itinerary: Seaweed experience and Sheep Farm demonstration
- Transfers to and from each day’s walking locations if choosing to do shorter distances for the day, and all transport as outlined in the itinerary.
- GPS Navigation app with points of interest
- Basic photography instruction during the trip.
- Access to a full gallery of photos (shot by me!) of the entire trip, which you can use for personal purposes.
- Comradery of a small group who are in it with you!
What’s Not Included:
- Flights to/from Ireland
- Transportation to/from Killarney for arrival and departure
- Travel Insurance
- Some dinners and all lunches
- Personal drinks
- Medical costs
Who Should Consider This Tour?
- People who are experienced hikers who have trained for these distances and can hike multiple days in a row on uneven terrain and inclement weather.
- People who like to explore lesser-known places, and be adventurous and active.
- People who are flexible. You should be willing to exhibit flexibility, as itineraries may change due to weather, and it helps if you have a ‘willing to try new things’ attitude.
- People who don’t mind hiking in the rain and enjoy the excitement of inclement weather – it is Ireland after all.
- People who can pee out in nature and leave no trace. 🙂
If you’ve never done a multi-day hike like this before and want to try it, this is a great opportunity as you’ll be with a group of like-minded people, we’ll have a guide to support us, and you have plenty of time to train so that you will be prepared! And if you need help training – I have a solution for that too!
Photos of the Region
I’ve actually driven the Ring of Kerry a few times, so I’ve accumulated a few images of the region to give you an idea of what to expect.
What are you waiting for – the trail is calling!