Tips for Hiking the Ring of Kerry
Killarney is the starting point of the great hike around the Ring of Kerry, which takes you along the coast of the Iveragh Peninsula through beautiful scenery. Outside of Dublin, this route is probably the most visited attraction in Ireland and many people book hotels in Killarney with the purpose of being close to this trail. It takes you past magical seascapes, misty mountains, green valleys and peaceful lakes.
You can drive the route of the Ring of Kerry, which can be done in a day (or more, if you stretch it out). However, what if you want to experience this landscape up close? Hiking in this region allows you to have a more immersive travel experience and truly appreciate its beauty. There is a lot you miss while zooming past in a car, so slow down and literally smell the wildflowers.
Luckily, there are a number of great hiking options for those who want to explore the Ring of Kerry on foot. There are paths suitable for all ranges of fitness and hiking experience, from gentle paved roads for the first-timer as well as steep scrambles up the mountain for the gung-ho hiker.
The Kerry Way
The main hiking route to follow across the region is the Kerry Way. This is a 214-kilometer footpath that stretches all the way from Killarney to the foothills of the MacGillicuddy’s Reeks. It traverses the Black Valley through Glencar and Glenbeigh and also passes through Waterville, Cahirciveen and Sneem.
The footpath is broken up into small segments that are long enough to complete in a daytrip. At the end of each section, you will find a village where you can stay the night before setting off again on the trail the next morning. This will give you an opportunity to taste of true traditional countryside hospitality, and to enjoy a hearty and filling breakfast.
How Will I Find My Way?
The walking path is marked by signs along the way. Before you start, head to the Killarney Tourist Office and ask for a copy of the Kerry Way Map Guide.
The trail varies along the way, from broad trails to narrow grassy paths and even unpaved roads up in the mountains. The sections of the trail at high elevation offer truly breath-taking and peaceful views of the countryside.
How Long Does It Take?
To hike the entire Kerry Way, it will take around 10 to 12 days. You can do the route on your own or you can go on a guided tour with one of the companies offering this service.
If you want to take a short day hike to get a sample of what it would be like to hike the entire trail, you can hike along the 10-kilometer section linking together Waterville and Caherdaniel. This section of the trail has lovely views of small islands as well as rock coves along the coast.
Tips for a Successful Hike
If you are planning to go on a hiking holiday in the Ring of Kerry region, here are some tips to ensure a pleasant experience:
- Your footwear is important. Every year, the mountain rescue teams have to deal with injured hikers who were not wearing appropriate footwear. Sturdy hiking boots are a must.
- It will rain, guaranteed. Be prepared and carry with you a lightweight waterproof layer.
- When walking along any stretch at the edge of a road, wear a high-visibility safety vest so vehicles can see you more easily.
- Watch out for private property signs. Trespassing can cause an unwanted issue.
- Although the landscape might seem like an easy walk, sudden weather changes can lead to dangerous conditions. Take your phone with you, let someone know when, where and how long you are hiking and check in when you arrive.
With these tips in mind, have fun exploring this gorgeous region!
About the Author: Marcy Connelly is a travel writer from Galway. She recently returned from a holiday filled with relaxing in the countryside and hiking around the Ring of Kerry region.
Edited By: CampTrip.com