Hike around the Ring of Kerry at your own pace with this 11-day self-guided itinerary. You'll follow the trail between some of Ireland's most charming towns, crossing sites like Killarney National Park, Kenmare Bay, the Beara Peninsula, and Skelling Islands across a variety of the terrain.

Highlights

  • Explore Killarney National Park and its three lakes
  • Hike around the storied Ring of Kerry
  • Panoramic views of Ballinskelligs Bay and the Skellig Bay
  • Picturesque landscapes of the Dingle and Beara Peninsulas

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Killarney Killarney
Day 2 Killarney to Kenmare Kenmare
Day 3 Kenmare to Sneem Sneem
Day 4 Sneem to Caherdaniel Caherdaniel
Day 5 Caherdaniel to Waterville Waterville
Day 6 Waterville to Cahersiveen Cahersiveen
Day 7 Cahersiveen to Glenbeigh Glenbeigh
Day 8 Glenbeigh to Glencar Glencar
Day 9 Glencar to Blackvalley Blackvalley
Day 10 Blackvalley to Killarney Killarney
Day 11 Depart Killarney  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Killarney

Seaside houses in Killarney
Seaside houses in Killarney

Welcome to Ireland! You'll start in Killarney in the heart of Kerry. This popular town is known for its three lakes in its expansive national park and its position on the Ring of Kerry drive and Kerry Way walking trail. Bus and train connections run regularly to Killarney from the Dublin, Cork, and Shannon airports.

You'll receive an information pack at your guesthouse to prepare you for the road ahead, along with suggestions on the local restaurants and pubs.

Day 2: Killarney to Kenmare

Lough Leane in the national park
Lough Leane in the national park

Transfer to the start of your walk about 3 miles (5 km) from Killarney. You'll head across Killarney National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and through Esknamucky Glen. You may be lucky to spot some of Ireland's native red deer within the park.

Spend the night in Kenmare, home to a Bronze Age stone circle and some of the area's best places to eat and sample local dairy products.

Hiking time: 6 hours
Hiking distance: 14 miles (22 km)

Day 3: Kenmare to Sneem

Beara Peninsula
Beara Peninsula

Start the day walking along the shores of Kenmare Bay via Templenoe.  Enjoy the views across to the Beara Peninsula and Caha Mountains as you continue along the forest, mountain tracks, and county lanes.

The trail takes you to the award-winning village of Sneem (An tSnaidhm in Gaelic), which means "the knot."

Hiking time: 6.5 hours
Hiking distance: 14 miles (23 km)

Day 4: Sneem to Caherdaniel

Beara Peninsula
Beara Peninsula

Enjoy some butter atop your breakfast before you continue your hike along a location path farmers once used to bring their fresh butter to markets around the region.

Walk to the village of Caherdaniel accompanied by views across the Beara Peninsula and out to the Atlantic. This village was once home to famous historic politician Daniel O'Connell, also known as "The Liberator" for his work lobbying for Catholic emancipation and Irish rights under Britain.

Hiking time: 5.5 hours
Hiking distance: 12 miles (19 km)

Day 5: Caherdaniel to Waterville

House along the bay
House along the bay

Leave Caherdaniel behind as you hike over rock, grass, and mountain tracks above the coast. You'll enjoy coastal views out toward Ballinskelligs Bay and the Skellig Islands, which you may recognize as Luke Skywalker's hermitage in the recent Star Wars films.  Spend the night in the village of Waterville, where Charlie Chaplin used to fish.

Hiking time: 5 hours
Hiking distance: 10 miles (16 km)

Day 6: Waterville to Cahersiveen

Views along the Dingle Peninsula
Views along the Dingle Peninsula

After a quick transfer to Mastergeehy, today you'll walk along green mountain paths across the peninsula, with views stretching north over the Dingle Peninsula and south to Kenmare Bay.

You'll finish the day in the village of Cahersiveen.

Hiking time: 6.5 hours
Hiking distance: 15 miles (24 km)

Day 7: Cahersiveen to Glenbeigh

Glenbeigh countryside
Glenbeigh countryside

Lace up for a day of hiking over grass mountains and gravel tracks that make up a 17th-century stage coach road. Pass through now-deserted villages that were once bustling stops for the stage coaches passing by, with views across to the Dingle Peninsula. You'll end today in Glenbeigh.

Hiking time: 6.5 hours
Hiking distance: 15 miles (24 km)

Day 8: Glenbeigh to Glencar

Blackstones Bridge
Blackstones Bridge

Skirt the slopes of Seefin Mountain after you depart Glenbeigh. Head down into the Caragh Valley, following the Caragh River to Blackstones Bridge. Continue through the forest until you reach the village of Glencar.

Hiking time: 4 hours
Hiking distance: 9 miles (14 km)

Day 9: Glencar to Blackvalley

Lough Acoose
Lough Acoose

Follow the shores of Lough Acoose, with a scenic walk into the foothills of MacGillycuddy's Reeks, and follow an old cattle droving path into the Bridia Valley.

You'll cover a variety of terrain, from road, grass, and gravel tracks to open mountain and bogland. After crossing the second mountain saddle, finish the day in the Black Valley.

Hiking time: 6 hours
Hiking distance: 13 miles (21 km)

Day 10: Blackvalley to Killarney

Upper Lake
Upper Lake

Complete your loop on the shores of the Upper Lake of Killarney, along an old path once followed by persecuted Catholics who were attending mass in secret. You'll arrive at Derrycunnihy Church, where you'll connect with the trail you followed previously at the start of your trip.

Hiking time: 6 hours
Hiking distance: 14 miles (22 km)

Day 11: Depart Killarney

Get back on the road
Get back on the road

Wave goodbye to Killarney after breakfast, and catch your connection by train or bus (easy connections to Cork, Limerick, Shannon, or Dublin).

If you're not headed home quite yet, continue on to the next part of your Irish adventure.