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.
Ryanair flies directly from many large European cities to Kerry regional airport. From there you can easily take the bus to Killarney. Alternatively, you can fly to Dublin and travel from there by train to the starting point of the hike.
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