County Kerry
7 reviews
Grade Strenuous
Length 214 km
Time 9 days
Format Loop
Ascent 5310 m
Dogs Allowed No
Waymarking Yellow arrow on black background
Start Point
Finish Point
Nearest Town to Start Killarney
Grid Ref. V 963 906
Lat. and Long. 52.05777, -9.51208

The Iveragh Peninsula is the largest of Kerry’s Atlantic peninsulas, extending 60 kilometres into the ocean from the mainland, and it is 32 kilometres across. The Iveragh contains the Killarney Lakes with their mountainous backgrounds, the most famously picturesque landscapes in Ireland since tourism began in the late eighteen hundreds. The main mountain group on the peninsula, called the Macgillicuddy Reeks, contains the two highest summits in Ireland, Carrauntoohil at 1038m and Caher at 1001m. The Kerry Way, at 230km the longest of the Irish Waymarked Trails, is a circular route that circumnavigates the peninsula, starting and finishing in Killarney, and also passing through fine Kerry towns such as Glenbeigh, Caherciveen, Waterville, Sneem and Kenmare. The landscape the route passes through is very varied, from the lakes of Killarney to high and remote mountain moorland: Carrauntoohil and Caher tower over the route west of Black Valley and the return leg passes along the startlingly contrasting semi-tropical, palm-treed south coast. Terrain consists mainly of quiet tarmac roads, open moorland, woodland and field paths and boreens. Some sections of the open moorland can be very isolated, and off-road sections can often be very wet and muddy. Aggregate ascent over the whole route is about 5400m, and there are some sustained and quite steep climbs. The highest point on the Way is 385m above sea-level, at Windy Gap between Glenmore and Caherdaniel There are some long stretches between overnight accommodation possibilities, and walkers should plan their days carefully to take these into consideration: public transport options are very good.

Trail Management

South Kerry Development Partnership Ltd, Library Place, Killorglin, Co. Kerry
Tel: 066-9761615
Email: walks@skdp.ie


Car parking
At Start - on street in Killarney or in car park (charge)
At End - beside old church at Galway's Bridge

77 kms or 36% of the Way follows local roads.
***Dogs not permitted on the Kerry Way***
PLEASE NOTE: The area between Derrycunnihy Church and Lord Brandon’s Cottage suffers from flooding at different times throughout the year, especially after periods of heavy rainfall. It is advised to make local enquiries prior to walking this section.

Map Guides

Map Guides

The Kerry Way (by Rucksack Readers) - available from Rucksack Readers, Landrick Lodge, Dunblane, FK15 Ohy, UK +44 (0) 1786 824 696

OSI Maps

OSI Maps

Discovery Series Sheets 78, 83, 84, 70* (*ca 1.3km on track) and 85** (**ca 1.9km on road)
Public Transportation

Public Transportation

At Start: Good express and local bus service.Check with Bus Eireann.
At End: None

7 trail reviews
Write your own review of this trail

Anthony Duffy from Dublin

I walked from Killarney to Waterville over 5 days until the weather stopped me from finishing the loop. I camped out each night.

One criticism is that there definitely should be purpose built and maintained huts or at least camp sites for walkers on the routes same as Wicklow Way, I had to venture off the trails to find good camping spots which is not ideal.

There are some amazing views but you're really at the mercy of the weather in this part of Kerry if you want to experience the true beauty of the scenery. Beware the midges and ticks! I got savaged by midges most evenings and got a tick bite. Lyme disease is a growing threat on this trail, especially if camping, and I shall have to wait to see if my bite becomes worse. The midges are ruthless and swarm on you in this part of Kerry.

Bring Gore Tex foot wear as many sections of the trails are flooded from heavy downpours, the grass, bog, moorland and heather will also soak your feet walking through it.

A well maintained network of trails but more investment needed for camping facilities. More awareness of the risk of Lymes and the importance of how to check yourself each day.

Lastly, don't be afraid to pull the plug on a trip if the weather turns. The weather can kill /injure/debilitate people through poor visibility, torrential wind & rain leading to hypothermia on the high passes. Make sensible decisions and always remember to check forecasts and listen to local advice before setting off.
Bring adequate food/snacks as some of the stretches are quite isolated with no services. Will return to finish it some day.

Aina from Austria

What a treat this trail is compared to the Blackwater Way before. Great scenery and lovely accommodation all along the trail. Best part for me was Black Valley to Glencarr. How beautiful that was. Or Waterville to Caherdaniel. Or resting on that lovely bench after windy gap. Beautiful. Even the sections Sneem/Kenmare are lovely although lot of roadwalking. Best part of my coast2coast walk.

Mark from United Kingdom

I walked part of the Kerry Way in early July and it was simply superb - well signed and supported thanks with board walks where at other times of the year it must be much wetter under foot and really interesting towns for the stop-overs.

There are treats everywhere en route and I just walked to Cahersiveen! which allowed me to branch off to Valentia Island and so finish the Irish Coast to Coast which was my own trail.

I didn't break day 2 at Glencar as some do and walked onto Glenbeigh instead, a decision I was pleased with - however I took the road from Cloghfune to Curraghbeg rather than adding distance and time by taking the Way to Lough Acoose.

I will, without doubt, return to complete the Kerry Way.


Gina from United States

The Kerry Way is one of the best through-hikes (well, it’s actually a loop) I’ve ever done. The beauty and variety of the scenery are quite simply unmatched. The way is extraordinarily well marked and well maintained; where terrain is difficult, supports or alternatives are provided—we didn’t encounter any obstacles of any kind. As a 60-year-old walker I found it strenuous but not arduous or intimidating; it can be done without even poles or sticks; the stages are reasonable though we broke them up into c. 12-15-mile days. I think I’ll come back to do this hike but stay two nights in most places, to allow more time for exploring and side-trips (such as the three summits in the MacGillicuddy’s Reeks). SO glad we came.

Mark from Australia

Three of us completed the Kerry Way trail in late September early October, it was an amazing adventure along a well marked trail, boggy at times but well worth the effort required on some of the longer days, Glencar to Glenbeigh, Glenbeigh to Cahersiveen, and Sneem to Kenmare we found this the toughest day, as you are close to Kenmare but the trail keeps pulling you back up and away from your destination, which in our case was a further 2K on from Kenmare !! We downloaded and laminated the maps from the irishtrails.ie website and they were fantastic, always knew where we were.

Mark, Kerry and Karmen ( Aussies abroad)

Mary from Limerick

Excellent Trail and well marked all the way.

Highly recommended for scenery and variety of terrain. Something there for everyone.

Beware the newly redirected section at Templenoe. It avoids the busy main road by taking you north on a (not particularly scenic) minor road and back down again but it does add at least an hour to an already long section into Kenmare.

Put it on your "to do list" and enjoy :-)

Con from Limerick

Stretch Parknasilla to Sneem anti-clockwise.

Excellent mixture of contrasting scenery.

Woodland road fading into open moorland with great views Kenmare bay and Mountain ridges encircling Sneem.

Leisurely walk 45 minutes

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