Irland

The Kerry Way — 9 mountainous stages in south west Ireland

© Maren Kowalke

The Kerry Way — 9 mountainous stages in south west Ireland

Hiking Collection by Irland

9-20

days

3-6 h

/ day

124 mi

16,700 ft

16,500 ft

Ireland's highest mountains rise along the rugged Atlantic coast in County Kerry. The lonely landscapes are characterized by green hills and barren mountains, steep coasts and gentle beaches. The coastline consists of bays, peninsulas and islands, while on the Iveragh Peninsula, Kerry's largest peninsula, you will not only find Ireland's highest peaks, but also one of Europe's most beautiful long-distance hiking trails: the Kerry Way.

The Kerry Way takes you around the Iveragh Peninsula in nine daily stages. The hike begins in the rugged nature of Killarney National Park, from where you hike over sheep pastures, through moors and over mountain passes. It then leads you along narrow roads, country lanes and unspoiled mountain trails. On your nine-day hike, you'll have the chance to discover the scenic diversity of the entire peninsula, as well as that famous Irish hospitality in the small villages and towns that serve as stage destinations. When you arrive back in Killarney satisfied after your hike, you'll have covered over 140 miles (220 kilometers) and climbed around 13,000 feet (4,000 meters) in altitude.

The Kerry Way is well signposted and well developed. The hike does not require any special knowledge and is therefore also suitable for beginners with good physical fitness. Nevertheless, rustic paths await you, which can be muddy and humid, especially after the frequent rains. Thanks to the mild climate, you can plan the long distance hike all year round, although it is particularly beautiful in spring and autumn when there are fewer tourists in Ireland.

In addition to the Kerry Way, we have planned in one of the most challenging hikes in Ireland. From Lough Acoose, follow the Coomloughra Horseshoe trail to the top of Carrantouhill, Ireland's highest mountain. This mountain hike is not part of the official Kerry Way, however, and only recommended for experienced and enduring mountain hikers. If this section proves too intense for you, then just enjoy the view of Carrantouhill from below.

Due to the changeable weather, you'll always need good equipment whenever you go. Rainwear, additional rain cover for your backpack (and maybe a drybag or two) and ankle-high, non-slip hiking boots are obligatory at any time of the year. You should also book all accommodation in advance, as there is very little choice in some villages. In fact, even in the low season many of the rooms can be fully booked.

Most flights from Germany arrive in Dublin, but there are some connections to regional airports Kerry, Shannon and Cork. You can find a current flight schedule at ireland.com/de-de/plan-your-trip/travel/getting-to-ireland. From Dublin you can easily travel by train to the starting point of the hike.

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
    Intermediate
    04:26
    9.77 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,075 ft
    1,100 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The first stage of the Kerry Way takes you through the rugged nature of the Killarney National Park. Here you hike along the highest mountains in Ireland, over wide moor …

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  • Difficult
    05:13
    10.7 mi
    2.0 mph
    1,825 ft
    1,550 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    On the second stage you hike through three of the most isolated valleys in Ireland. At the foot of the mountains of Macgillycuddy's Reeks, the tour takes you from valley …

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  • Difficult
    05:10
    11.3 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,150 ft
    1,575 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The third stage takes you from the rugged mountain landscape at the foot of Ireland's highest mountains over pastures and through forests to Dingle Bay. The path is flat for …

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  • Difficult
    08:01
    18.0 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,675 ft
    1,700 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    On the fourth stage you can expect fantastic views of Dingle Bay and the hills and valleys of the western Iveragh Peninsula. The Kerry Way runs here along deserted streets …

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  • Difficult
    08:32
    18.3 mi
    2.1 mph
    2,475 ft
    2,500 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The fifth leg of the Kerry Way runs through the hilly interior of the Iveragh Peninsula. The path follows the natural mountain ranges and you can enjoy wonderful views of …

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  • Intermediate
    04:03
    9.07 mi
    2.2 mph
    875 ft
    825 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The sixth stage takes you from the idyllic coastal town of Waterville over a mountain pass to the sunny south coast of the Iveragh Peninsula. With a wonderful view it …

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  • Intermediate
    04:54
    10.7 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,175 ft
    1,300 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The seventh stage is one of the easiest stages of the Kerry Way. The distance is less than 20 kilometers and after two moderate pass heights it goes evenly down …

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  • Difficult
    09:29
    21.3 mi
    2.2 mph
    2,000 ft
    2,000 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The full stage from Sneem to Kenmare is over 34 kilometers long and therefore quite demanding - especially if you have already had the last seven days in your bones. …

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  • Intermediate
    03:22
    7.11 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,225 ft
    800 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The last stage of the Kerry Way takes you from the lovely landscape of Kenmare Bay over a hill and a mountain pass to the rugged mountain valleys of the …

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  • Difficult
    08:19
    7.87 mi
    0.9 mph
    3,200 ft
    3,200 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    The Coomloughra Horseshoe Trail is pure mountain adventure and the most exciting mountain hike in Ireland. In a big loop it leads up to Carrantuohill, the highest mountain in Ireland. …

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    10
  • Distance
    124 mi
  • Duration
    61:28 h
  • Elevation
    16,700 ft16,500 ft

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Irland

The Kerry Way — 9 mountainous stages in south west Ireland