North Kerry Way

Annual Closure Notice:
Some of the property traversed by the North Kerry Way is private property. Access is available by kind permission of all the landowners/holders on the route. It is understood that persons entering do so by permission with the consent of the landowner and no matter how often they enter, or in what numbers, they do not do so as of right. As further evidence of the permissive nature of the access, the route will be closed for one day on the 28th February each year in agreement with the landowners. Nothing in this notice shall impact or address any pre-existing public rights of way.

County Kerry
2 reviews
Grade Moderate
Length 43.7 km
Time 2 days
Format Linear
Ascent 450 m
Dogs Allowed On a lead
Waymarking Yellow arrow on black background
Start Point
Finish Point
Nearest Town to Start Tralee
Grid Ref. Q 835 141 / Q 751 280 (Ballyheige)
Lat. and Long. 52.267016, -9.706467

The North Kerry Way is a 48 kilometre linear walking route through the northern part of County Kerry in the south west of Ireland, starting in the county town of Tralee and ending in the town of Ballyheigue. While not as well known as the Iveragh or Dingle Peninsulas of the same county, North Kerry has much to offer, including spectacular seascapes, the finest beaches in Ireland and a multitude of ancient sites, churches and field monuments. The route heads out of Tralee with the Dingle Way to Blennerville with its fine traditional windmill: there the routes part and the North Kerry Way heads north west along a sea wall at the back of Tralee Bay. From the village of Spa it goes cross country onto the white sands of Banna Strand to reach the village of Ballyheige and the beginning of a scenic mountainous area on Kerry Head, which it loops around before finishing at Ballyheigue. The terrain consists of mainly quiet country roads, firm beach sand (except at high tide), tracks, bog roads and field paths. The route is flat except for the last 18 kilometres where there are some short ascents, with an aggregate climb of 370 metres. There are some short loop walks which link with the main route of the North Kerry Way.

Trail Management


Car parking
At Start - charge for street parking, off-street parking in car park opposite Brandon Hotel in Princes Street (not during Rose of Tralee Festival)
At End - in beach car park in Ballyheigue

16 kms or 36% of the Way follows local roads.
***Dogs on lead only***

OSI Maps

OSI Maps

Discovery Series Sheets 63 and 71
Public Transportation

Public Transportation

At Start: Bus and train to Tralee, Kerry International Airport 18 km from Tralee. At End: Very limited bus to Tralee, (not daily). Check with Bus Eireann.


Mike from Limerick

Did this in glorious Christmas weather with real feel temperatures of 21'C coming in off the sea.

I broke it into two days;

Day 1.. parked up in Ballyheigue at the clean public loo's and did the Kerry Head Loop.

Day 2...I also parked up in Ballyheigue at the loo's and walked to Tralee and was able to get the bus back to Ballyheigue for €7.

There is plenty of road walking but its more than made up for with the walk on the beach, in general the signage is good and only went wrong once due to a missing sign on the return to Ballyheigue.


Steve from Galway

I walked this trail in Mid April and was lucky enough to have sunshine both days. I was sleeping in my camper so it made sense for me to start in Ballyheigue, do the loops around Kerry Head on the first day and continue on to Tralee the next before getting a cab back. My main reason for choosing this route was that it is dog friendly and most aren't unless you want to be restricted to forestry or tow paths.

This route passes through beautiful countryside with views over the sea north to the Clare coast and south to the Dingle Peninsular. The track surface varies nicely as well with stony paths and bog roads, gravel tracks, some stretches of quiet back roads, miles of firm sandy beaches, sandy heath, heather moorland and even canal side towpath for a short distance out of Tralee.

There are historical and archeological places of interest along the way and I recommend taking a short detour at Glendalhin on Kerry Head to go down towards the sea to the holy well of Tobar na Sul, or Spring of the Eyes and the little ruins of St Dahalin's church.

From there you climb over Maulin and Triskmore Mountains with spectacular views and down to the western tip of the peninsula before making your way back to Ballyheigue along roads open to the views across the bay to Mt Brandon and the Slieve Mish range.

The route south of Ballyheigue is on beautiful beaches, bracing in the ozone filled sea air, with a short detour inland across the flat heathland separated from the sea by huge sand dunes.

There is a stretch between Banna and Spa which is on a quite narrow and quite busy road with no verges to retreat onto which wasn't great in April and could be a lot worse in the summer but it doesn't last too long.

From Spa to Tralee is lovely, walking on or beside a sea wall around the bay and a canal up into the city past more historical spots and popular bird feeding sites.

All in all an interesting and varied route that is easily accomplished in a couple of days.

More details can be found on my blog :

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