Explore the southwest corner of Ireland at your own pace on this 8-day walking itinerary of the Kerry Peninsula. This popular driving route is even better on foot as you cover the countryside from cliffs to beaches across rolling pastures, peat bogs, and mountain ranges. Start in Killarney, walking through Kenmare, Sneem, and Caherdaniel. Veer west through Waterville and Cahersiveen to your final village in Glenbeigh.

Highlights

  • Explore Killarney National Park and the 3 lakes
  • Hike around the storied Ring of Kerry
  • See views of Ballinskelligs Bay and the Skellig Bay
  • Take in the 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 Depart Glenbeigh  

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

Take a 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. If you stay quiet, you may spot some of Ireland's native red deer within the park.

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

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

Day 3: Kenmare to Sneem

Beara Peninsula
Beara Peninsula

Walk via Templenoe along the shores of Kenmare Bay, accompanied by views across to the Beara Peninsula and Caha Mountains along the forest and mountain tracks and county lanes. The trail takes you to the award-winning village of Sneem, or 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 on a different kind of butter road—one of the paths that farmers used to travel to bring their fresh butter to markets around the region. The road and trails will take you to the village of Caherdaniel, accompanied by views across the Beara Peninsula and out to the Atlantic. The 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 over rocky, grass, and mountain tracks around and 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

You'll be driven to your starting point today at Mastergeehy. Go across the peninsula on grass mountain tracks, with  views north over the Dingle Peninsula and south to Kenmare Bay, as you head toward 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 your last day of hiking over grass mountain 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, accompanied by views across to the Dingle Peninsula. You'll end in Glenbeigh for your last night on the trail.

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

Day 8: Depart Glenbeigh

Through the gate
Through the gate

Time to wave goodbye to this set of trails as you depart Glenbeigh. Check the timetables to catch the bus or taxi to Killarney, where you can connect to Cork, Limerick, Shannon or Dublin to continue home or to the next stop on your adventure.