Kerry Way North: Killarney to Cahersiveen
Killarney to Cahersiveen in 3 Days Walking Code: KWN4
Transfer from Killarney to Galway's Bridge and walk to the capital of the Iveragh Peninsula, Cahersiveen. The trail passes beneath the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks, home to Ireland’s highest mountain, Carrauntoohil.
Featuring dramatic walking through the Black Valley and beneath the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks this 3 day itinerary sees a comfortable 9 mile day bookended with lengthy 17 and 19 mile days.
|Day 1||Travel to Killarney for your first nights accommodation|
|Day 2||Transfer to Galway's Bridge then walk to Glencar||17||27|
|Day 3||Glencar to Glenbeigh||9||14|
|Day 4||Glenbeigh to Cahersiveen||19||31|
|Day 5||Depart from Cahersiveen after breakfast|
Killarney to Glencar
Your Kerry Way adventure begins with a short transfer from the popular tourist destination of Killarney to Galway’s Bridge, ahead of your walk through the Black Valley and beneath McGillycuddy’s Reeks to Glencar.
Walking begins through dense oak and holly woodland, reaching a clearing around 2km in and rewarding you with marvelous views of Upper Lake and the mountains beyond. Leaving the lake behind the white tearoom, Lord Brandon’s Cottage comes into view. A gravel track and then a minor road alongside the Gearhameen River lead to the scattered community of the Black Valley.
Walking through the Black Valley you initially have the craggy Brassel Mountain (575m) above you on your right and formidable Broaghnabinnia (745m) to your left. This is stunning walking country. After around 3km the quiet tarmac road gives way to a rough track and passes conifers to the open hillside before joining a green lane and then boggy grassland to the broad saddle of Bridia Pass.
Beyond Bridia Pass the trail climbs by means of a tree lined path before dropping steeply towards the Gearhanagour Stream and alongside Lough Beg, signaling the end of the Reeks. Woodland, pasture and reclaimed grassland are crossed before reaching a quiet lane guiding you to Glencar.
Glencar to Glenbeigh
This is the easiest section on the Kerry Way. Gravel road and rough pastures lead to a minor road, eventually crossing the River Caragh. Riverbank and conifer plantations guide you passed the tiny Drombrane Lough before rising to a tremendous viewpoint over gently rolling fields to the Reeks.
A second viewpoint beyond offers fantastic views of Lough Caragh and the next major objective, the mountain, Seefin.
The trail then passes through woodland and crosses the Meelagh River before climbing and passing the old Bunglasha School and on towards Windy Gap beneath Seefin and Beanreagh..
On reaching Windy Gap, before passing through the gorge, take time to enjoy a last look at the Reeks behind. Moving on you are rewarded with the stunning vista of the Dingle peninsula as you make your way down to Glenbeigh.
Glenbeigh to Cahersiveen
The trail leaves Glenbeigh and follows the coast before joining the old coach road on the flanks of Drung Hill. The coach road is punctuated with eight gates.
After a steady climb a saddle is reached overlooking the broad Ferta valley. Here you are rewarded with fine views of the impressive Knocknadobar (690m)in the distant right.
The descent from Drung Hill is along a wide track into a plantation and across moorland dotted with peat extractions. Cahersiveen soon comes into view off in the distance beside the Valencia River.
A track across boggy moorland eventually gives way to a minor road that falls gently for around 3km to Foilmore with Knocknadobar appearing more dominant on your right.
To reach Cahersiveen you must leave the Kerry Way at Teeraha junction, following waymarkers along country lanes and minor roads. Reaching a T-junction with the Carhan Road the trail then follows a series of field boundaries and lanes to Cahersiveen.
Moderate to Challenging
The Kerry Way is a challenging walk which at times traverses exposed ridges and wild moorland. It deserves to be taken seriously. Due to the distances between locations, walking the trail involves some lengthy days, often between 19 and 22 miles on a mixture of tarmac road, green roads, forest tracks and moorland.
Should you need to shorten your day, a network of bus services serve all parts of the peninsula, most shadowing the trail along the N70/N71 Ring of Kerry road. Not all services run on all days.
Terrain: Around 35% of the route is on tarmac road, albeit incredibly scenic and predominantly along quiet lanes with little traffic. The remainder of the trail follows historic old roads, farm and forest tracks as well as paths through fields and over moorland.
What’s it like underfoot? Walking on tarmac can prove hard going and take its toll on the joints. Following periods of rain farm tracks and moorland paths can be boggy, sometimes extremely so. You should be prepared for all of the above.
How Much Up & Down? Fairly frequent minor ups and downs as you cross ridges and spurs. The highest point on the trail is the summit of Knockavahaun at a relatively modest 371m.
Signposting: Generally good. Black posts show a yellow walker icon and an arrow head. Occasionally at junctions there will be paint markings on rocks. Finger posts may vary with some showing ‘Kerry Way’ while others show ‘Slí Uíbh Ráthaigh’, Irish for the Iveragh Way.
Navigation: On the trail refer to your guidebook and maps at regular intervals. If in doubt at any stage, retrace your steps to your last known location and take direction from your maps and guidebook.
Weather: You may be lucky enough to encounter warm, dry weather over the whole route and enjoy dry paths and tremendous views, however the reality is the weather on the peninsula is unpredictable and frequently changeable. It is not uncommon to encounter weather typical of all four season in a single day. Be prepared. Good clothing, effective waterproofs and comfortable, waterproof footwear are essential.
|Accommodation||Overnight Bed and Breakfast accommodation in selected hotels, farmhouses, village inns, guest houses and family B&Bs. Full Irish or Continental breakfast.|
|Guidebook||A detailed guidebook with route information, maps, photos and background information.|
|Information of Services Along the Route||A comprehensive Service Info sheet, including services such as cash points, banks, post offices, village shops, inns, cafes and taxis.|
|Maps||Two Ordnance Survey Ireland 1:50k maps covering the route. Please note large areas of the OSI maps are in Irish, not English.|
|Personal Itinerary||A personal itinerary setting out each overnight stop, including large scale maps of each accommodation, to ensure you find it easily.|
|Emergency Telephone Support||If you get in to difficulties during your holiday, we are always available to help, even out of office hours.|
|12.5% discount at Cotswold Outdoors||We will issue you with a 12.5% Discount Card valid at all Cotswold Outdoor stores, and online, for the whole year on confirmation of your booking.|
|Luggage Transport||We will transfer your luggage between each overnight stop – if you leave your luggage at the accommodation when you set off in the morning, it will be moved on to your next B&B. You only need to carry a small day sack with the clothes and provisions you require during the day’s walk.|
||Provided for each day’s walking and recommended on this holiday as there will not always be a handy shop or cafe on the route.|
|Off Road Parking||If you are travelling by car we can usually arrange off road parking for the duration of your trip. (There may be a small charge for this).|
|Arrangement of return transport||We can also arrange your transfer back to your car, (or advise you when public transport is a better option)!|
What’s not Included
|Evening Meals||Your evening meal isn’t included in the package, but we include full details and recommendations for each evening meal in your itinerary. You will normally be within walking distance of a pub and/or restaurant, or where there is good food available at the accommodation, we’ll book that for you. Allow about €25.00 per night.|
|Transport to the Start & Away from the Finish||Have a look at the “Travel Info” tab above for suggestions. If you’re still struggling, get in touch and we’ll help you sort it out.|
|Travel Insurance||Even if you are based in the UK or Ireland travel insurance is worth having.|
Good accommodation and friendly hosts are an essential part of any holiday. We understand this and go out of our way to find the best. We put a great deal of effort into hand picking our accommodation and matching it to individual customer requirements. As well as visiting the accommodation ourselves, we ask all our customers to complete a short evaluation on each night’s accommodation, which then gives us an insight into the day-to-day operation and lets us spot any potential issues before they become a problem.
We always try to arrange en suite accommodation, i.e. rooms with their own bathrooms for each night of your stay. However, in some of the more remote locations accommodation is limited and occasionally we may have to book rooms with shared bathrooms for one or two nights of your holiday, (especially if the booking is made at short notice), but we will always let you know if this is likely to be the case.
We are happy to book single rooms on our holidays but cannot normally book more than 2 for any one group. Single room bookings include a supplement.
We use a variety of accommodation on the Kerry Way comprising boutique hotels, detached family run guesthouses and charming bed and breakfast in rural hamlets. You will experience a mix of all of these.
Here are some examples of the accommodation we use on the Kerry Way:
Breda assures you of a warm welcome at Abbey Lodge Bed and Breakfast in Killarney. Boasting fifteen luxurious bedrooms the house is tastefully decorated throughout and features many interesting antiques and art pieces. You are guaranteed friendly personal service backed by the highest standards throughout. Visit their website
Ann and her family look forward to greeting you at Cúl Draíochta Bed and Breakfast in Cahersiveen. You are assured of a warm welcome and fresh home baking on arrival. This is a lovely family run business where Ann and her family will spare no effort to ensure you enjoy traditional Irish hospitality and personal attention at all times. Visit their website
Didier & Eleonore guarantee you a warm welcome at Derrynane Bay House in Caherdaniel. Their family run Bed and Breakfast overlooking Derrynane Beach offers stunning views of the mountains, sea and beautiful Islands, and their spacious bedrooms offer an exceptionally high level of comfort. Visit their website. Visit their website
Breda is your host at Blackstones House in Glencar. This stunning property set beside the Upper Caragh River and Blackstones Bridge offers panoramic views of the river, mountains and woodlands, together with the soothing sound of Blackstones Falls. Visit their website
General travel information for the Kerry Way will be in your holiday pack.
Detailed instructions on getting to your first night’s accommodation by car, or on foot from the nearest train or bus station, will also be included in the holiday pack on individual accommodation maps.
If you require secure car parking whilst walking this route, please contact us for information.
By Air: The nearest and most convenient International Airport to Killarney is Cork. Buses regularly depart for Cork city centre where trains run frequently to Killarney.
By Ferry: The most convenient Ferry Ports for Killarney are Rosslare (from Fishguard, Pembrokeshire or Cherbourg, France) and Dublin (from Liverpool or Holyhead, Anglesey). Trains run regularly from Dublin and Rosslare to Killarney.
By Public Transport: There is a railway station at Killarney. Killarney Station is located on the Mallow to Tralee line, from Mallow there are fast and frequent services to and from Dublin and Cork.
By Road: Killarney is located on the N22 from Cork and at the end of the N72 from Mallow.
If travelling from Dublin, take the N7/M7 to Limerick then exit at Junction 30 and follow signs for the N21 Tralee. On reaching the roundabouts for Castleisland, continue straight on following signs for the N23 Killarney & Farranfore. Pass Kerry Airport and on reaching Farranfore village, turn left to follow the N22 to Killarney.
If travelling from Rosslare Ferry Port, follow the N25 to Waterford then continue on the N25 towards Dungarvan. Just before reaching Dungarvan, follow signs for the N72 Mallow. Stay on the N27 as passes through Mallow and continue onward to Killarney.
Leaving from Cahersiveen:
By Public Transport: The nearest railway station to Cahersiveen is Killarney. Killarney Station is located on the Mallow to Tralee line, from Mallow there are fast and frequent services to and from Dublin and Cork. Buses run between Cahersiveen and Killarney. Alternatively, you may prefer to take a taxi.
By Road: Cahersiveen is located on the N70 Ring of Kerry road. Follow directions above to Killarney then you can either travel to Cahersiveen via the N72 to Killorglin then along the N70 North coast route via Glenbeigh and Kells OR via the N71 though Killarney National Park to Kenmare then along the N70 South coast route via Sneem and Waterville.
The Killarney National Park visitor centre at Muckross House along with the Information Point at Torc Waterfall and the Education Centre at Knockreer House are all well worth a visit. The park, famous for its beautiful lakes and mountains covers 10,000 hectares and is home to a host of native natural habitats and species including oak and holly woods, yew woods and red deer.
Visit Ross Castle and take a boat trip out on the Killarney Lakes with Innisfallen Island and O’Sullivan’s Cascade among the sights to see. Look to the sky also, you might just spot a White Tailed Sea Eagle.
Looking for something more adventurous than a lake tour, then why not try your hand at canoeing or kayaking, and journey into the hidden inlets on Loch Lein and the River Laune.
Killarney town centre offers an array of restaurants, food outlets and unique shops while shows, events and festivals ensure the town is always buzzing.
Having made your way through the Black Valley and beneath MacGillycuddy's Reeks why not reward yourself with a day off at the beach? The spectacular Rossbeigh beach stretches out for five miles along a north south spit into Dingle Bay. Opposite, reaching out from the Dingle peninsula is the magnificent Inch Strand.
This charming village offers a fine selection of food and you can enjoy traditional music sessions in the pubs throughout the year. A great location to simply relax and recharge for the miles ahead.
Cahersiveen, described by local poet and playwright Sigerson Clifford as ‘The Town that Climbs the Mountain and Looks upon the Sea’, is the capital of the Iveragh Peninsula.
Discover the history of Cahersiveen at the Old Royal Irish Constabulary Barracks located on the banks for the River Feartha and take time to visit Ballycarberry Castle and the Iron Age Stone Forts of Cahergal and Leacanabuaile, two of the most remarkable examples in Ireland.
Sandy beaches are plentiful here. Why not spend some time horse riding on the coast? If you want to see more of the area, hire a bike and spend the day exploring Valentia Island and the Skellig Ring.
In need of a little retail therapy? The town has a fine selection of high-class shops.
Cahersiveen also boasts a superb selection of restaurants as well as a great mix of modern and traditional bars with music available throughout the year.