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The Kerry Way
For the more experienced walker the Kerry Way is one of Ireland's longest signposted walking trail and also one of the most popular. The trail starts and finishes in the busy tourist destination of Killarney. Looping around the Iveragh Peninsula, the Kerry Way goes anti-clockwise, passing through some of the most isolated and dramatic countryside in the country.
Whilst Kerry is renowned for having the highest mountains in Ireland, the Kerry Way avoids the higher peaks and opts for the lower reaches of mountain ridges. The trail is intended to quickly progress through a variety of different landscapes and experiences, giving the walker a wider appreciation for the county. For more information on The Kerry Way Click Here
The following are some suggested routes for walking. The more adventurous visitor will find, of course, that these will only whet the appetite.
Emlagh Loop Walk
Suitable to all levels, The Emlagh Loop walk is a beautiful 6 km walk. The grade of the walk is easy and the estimated time to complete is approximately two hours. Click Here to read more information
Waterville - Golf Links - Waterville
Leaving Waterville Village follow the road to the left at the Huntsman Restaurant. This brings you along the cliff road. It is a very spectacular, pleasant walk on a fine summerâ€™s day. You have a view of the whole of Ballinskelligs Bay and Carraig Eanna, a reef of rocks less than a mile from the shore. Continue to the end of the road until you come to the Inny Beach, a long sandy beach alongside the Golf Course
Return Distance - 2 Miles
Waterville - Waterlily Bay - Waterville
Leave Waterville Village, heading south. Pass a bridge and turn left at signpost for Waterville Lake Hotel. Pass the hotel on your left and a wood on your right. This wood (Ballybrack Wood) is one of tour few remaining native woods and reminds us of what the whole area was like in a previous age. Continue walking, with the lake on your left hand side. You can see some of the lakes, Rabbit Island, Oven Island and the historic Church Island. At Waterlily Bay the road runs alongside the lake. You can walk along the shore and in season you can see an impressive display of water lilies in bloom. You may even be lucky and see a trout being hauled in!
Return Distance - 5 Miles
Waterville - Baslicon - Waterville
Using Waterville as a starting point, head towards Caherdaniel. Continue for about 1.25 miles until you pass a bridge on a dangerous right hand bend. After another 200 yards (approx.) turn right on to an old green road. The green road which is walled on both sides by beautifully built dry stone walls, continue for about .75 of a mile. You will be able to see across Ballinskelligs Bay and Lough Currane. When the green road crosses a tarred road turn right and continue past a bridge until you again meet the Waterville/Caherdaniel road. Turn left here and return to Waterville.
Return Distance - 3 Miles
Waterville - Hogs Head - Waterville
Leave Waterville heading towards Caherdaniel. Turn right at a Petrol Station about 0.25 miles beyond the village. After about 1 mile you will be walking within sight of Ballinskelligs Bay. About 3.5 miles from Waterville you pass a small pier (Rineen Pier) used by the local fishermen. The road continues alongside the Bay and climbs through a gap in the mountain. On the other side you will see Derrynane Bay dotted by its varied islands, Scariff, Deenish, etc. As you pass through this mountain gap you can see, standing stark and impressive on top of the mountain on your left, a
bleak ruin of a building which is locally known as “the lighthouse”. It is in fact a military barracks, which served as a lookout station during the Napoleonic Wars. A similar structure can be seen, across the bay on Bolus Head. The road ends about half a mile from the mountain pass.
Return Distance - 9 Miles.
The Kerry Way Cahersiveen - Waterville
Time to Allow: 9 hours
Rejoining the Kerry Way at Teeraha, the trail leads up along a ridge of small hills just over the 200m mark. Gradually traveling back inland to the southâ€east, the Kerry Way crosses a main road and up to some higher peaks over 300 metres; Keelnagore at 329m, Knockavahaun at 371m and then finally descending to a lower peak at Canuig at 261m.
Rejoining a network of minor roads, the Kerry Way makes its way through the tiny hamlet of Mastergeehy, heading up a track behind the post office and on towards Coomduff.
At this point the Kerry Way once again splits into two. Seven kilometres to the southâ€west is the end of the stage at Waterville, where there is a selection of accommodation to choose from. A coastal section of the Kerry Way sees this stretch meet up again at a later stage with the other fork outside Caherdaniel.
The other option means trekking for a further 17km before meeting back up with the coastal detour. There is no accommodation to be secured over this period which would suggest that this should be tackled as a stage in itself.
Waterville to Caherdaniel
There are two options for this section of the Kerry Way. The first is to follow the trail south from Waterville, this is the more lowâ€lying option with views out to the Atlantic. The second option is the more demanding both in distance and height as it heads inland and through more remote settings.
Time to Allow: 3.5 hours
This first option makes for an easier pace with a lot less ground to cover. Heading south from Waterville the Kerry Way follows a small back road that gently rises up above the bay and provides beautiful views out to sea. After meeting the first T-junction the trail starts to head more inland, uphill and back towards the main road.
After leaving the tarmac road, the Kerry Way then follows the old Kenmare Road and eventually crosses its more recent replacement. Rounding the base of Farraniaragh Mountain, the path comes across a megalithic tomb, which marks the highest point of the days climb at 248 metres above sea - level.
The Kerry Way crosses the main road again and starts to head downhill across fields and boreens, gradually easing its way into Caherdaniel.
Time to Allow: 8.5 hours
Being the tougher option of the two, the Kerry Way retraces 7km of yesterdays ground before reaching the fork in the trail. Heading southwards from the split at Coomduff, the trail is interspersed with sections on tarmac followed by wild mountain terrain.
Rounding the base of some unnamed peaks attached to Coomcallee and skirting Lough Currane below to the west, a height of 170m is crossed before the Kerry Way comes back down to the valley floor and then swings round to an easterly direction, crossing the north face of Eagles Hill and turning again, striking straight up to Windy Gap, a saddle just below the summit. This sees the highest point reached on the Kerry Way at just over 450 metres above sea-level. The final leg for the stage leads more gradually downwards to the quiet village of Caherdaniel.