Last updated on February 6, 2024
Where is Iveragh? The Iveragh Peninsula is located in the southwest of Ireland. Together with its neighboring peninsulas, it stretches like a thick finger into the Atlantic Ocean.
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Better known is the Ring of Kerry, the beautiful coastal road that runs once around the peninsula.
Less known to most tourists is Killarney National Park. It is a beautiful mountainous area in the heart of the peninsula, and so every summer the buses and campers go around the Ring of Kerry.
It is also beautiful. But the real highlight is revealed in the mountains! There are the highest and most rugged mountains of Ireland, which crack the 1000 meter mark!
And there runs the Kerry Way. Surely one of the most beautiful and most strenuous long-distance hiking trails in Ireland.
You are fit? And an experienced hiker? Then read on:
The Kerry Way at a glance
The Kerry Way has a total length of about 200-220 kilometers, depending on the variant. There are 3900-4000 meters of altitude to overcome.
Experienced hikers walk the entire route in about 8-10 days.
The route is made up of small roads, gravelled forest paths and stony trails. Sometimes it goes over rocky terrain or muddy ground, depending on the weather.
Scenically, it goes through and over the mountains, skirting the highest mountain ranges, such as the McGillicudy Reeks.
Weather and best season
The main hiking season runs from April to October, with an emphasis on the months of May through September.
In spring and autumn you can expect temperatures of about 12-16 degrees, in summer about 18-25 degrees.
There can always be a rain shower, as in Germany.
In winter there are more often stormy winds with a lot of persistent rain. Significantly more than in summer.
In the mountains, as well as on the coast, you always have to expect wind, even in summer.
By the way, we live in Ireland, at least as a second home. In summer we run our motorcycle rental business here (www.easycruiser.tours). We also have nice guest rooms (www.the-view- accommodation.ie) for hikers, motorcyclists, golfers, etc…So we know the weather very well from our own experience.
Tips for clothing
The well-tried onion principle also helps here: it is better to wear several thin layers of clothing than one thick one.
There may also be cool days. Good functional underwear is important. It helps to wick away body sweat and keeps you warm. It requires little packing space and can also be used as pajamas.
Avoid cotton! Cotton gets damp quickly and dries poorly, thus promoting cooling. Synthetic fibers or wool-synthetic fiber blends are better.
Good hiking socks (synthetic fiber or wool-synthetic fiber) and medium-strength hiking boots are also important. You will walk partly on rough paths and the underground. can also get wet sometimes. Especially in spring and autumn I would recommend ankle-high and waterproof hiking boots.
You should always have rain gear with you. At least a waterproof jacket in the summer and waterproof pants in the cooler seasons.
Arrival by public transport
Killarney is one of the most popular vacation destinations on the island of Ireland and therefore well connected by public transport.
There are bus connections via Limerick or via Mallow. You can also take the train from Dublin Heuston via Tralee to Killarney.
In Killarney there are plenty of cabs and even horse-drawn carriages.
Accommodation along the Kerry Way
Killarney is a busy place. In summer there are many tourists here, as there are all over the peninsula. Most of them are on the Ring of Kerry, at the Gap of Dunloe and around Killarney. As soon as you leave the town behind, it quickly gets lonelier.
The advantage of the hustle and bustle is that there are plenty of B&Bs, hostels, hotels, campsites and other accommodations all over the peninsula.
So you should have no problem finding accommodation. However, I would highly recommend booking well in advance to get better prices and avoid surprises on the spot.
We mostly use the apps from Booking.com or Airbnb to book accommodation. Both are very common in Ireland and work very well.
If you are thinking about wild camping, I have written an article about it, which I will link for you at the end of this text.
The daily stages of the Kerry Way
You can choose your daily stages individually, depending on your condition and time budget. Below you will find a variant with 8 days. If this is too stressful for you, you can also take longer or shorten the trail and return to Killarney by cab or bus.
Day 1: From Killarney to Black Valley, about 24 km.
Day 2: From Black Valley to Glencar, about 20 km.
Day 3: From Glencar to Glenbeigh, about 23 km.
Day 4: From Glenbeigh to Caherciveen, about 21 km.
Day 5: From Caherciveen to Waterville, about 33 km.
Day 6: From Waterville to Sneem, about 31 km.
Day 7: From Sneem to Kenmare, about 31 km.
Day 8: From Kenmare to Killarney, approx. 28 km.
Information sources about the Kerry Way
Here I have some great sources of information for you, for your planning:
Printed hiking guides and maps
Downloadable maps and online descriptions
Tough Soles is a very readable Irish blog. The writers, Ellie and Carl, have all hiked over 40 long distance trails in Ireland and report on them. They have also made some very good walking maps of their own, which you can download and print for free. You can find the maps of the Kerry Way on their website.
The site Kerryway.com is also very interesting. Here you can find a description of the route, an overview map and some tips about accommodation. To the route description – click here.
Apps for the smartphone
There are great navigation apps for the smartphone. In case you have no reception, I recommend to have a map with you.
To the online maps from Hiiker.app – click here.
Komoot also offers online maps for the Kerry Way – just click here.
County Kerry has many beautiful corners. One of the most beautiful areas you will find in Killarney National Park. The high, rugged and picturesque mountains will inspire you!
The Kerry Way takes you through the most beautiful areas of the National Park and is one of the most spectacular, but also one of the most strenuous long distance hiking trails in Ireland.
But if you are fit and well prepared, it is also one of the most exciting hiking opportunities in Ireland.
I hope to have made you a bit curious and I hope to have given you enough information to help you get started – in planning your individual hike on the Kerry Way!
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Photo credits cover photo: Mountain view in Killarney National Park, photo by Ulrich Knüppel-Gertberg (www.easycruiser.tours, www.the-view-accommodation.ie, www.irland-insider.de, www.ireland-insider.com)