The sun lights the way outside of Glenbeigh

In Brief

  • Start/End: Killarney, Kerry
  • When: October 2021
  • Trail Length: Officially 214km (We hiked 189km)


  • Day 1: Killarney to Black Valley Lodge
    • Difficulty: 5/10
    • Length: 23km
  • Day 2: Black Valley Lodge to Lough Acoose B&B
    • Difficulty: 7/10
    • Length: 18km
  • Day 3: Lough Acoose B&B to Glenbeigh
    • Difficulty: 3/10
    • Length: 17km
  • Day 4: Glenbeigh to Cahersiveen (Foilmore Church)
    • Difficulty: 6/10
    • Length: 20km
  • Day 5: Cahersiveen (Foilmore Church) to Waterville
    • Difficulty: 7/10
    • Length: 23 km
  • Day 6: Waterville to Caherdaniel
    • Difficulty: 2/10
    • Length: 13km
  • Day 7: Caherdaniel to Sneem
    • Difficulty: 4/10
    • Length: 18 km
  • Day 8: Sneem to Kenmare
    • Difficulty: 7/10
    • Length 34km
  • Day 9: Kenmare to Killarney
    • Difficulty: 5/10
    • Length 23km
  • Overview:
    • Trail Difficulty: 7/10
    • Total Distance Hiked: 189km


Enjoying the view over Kenmare Bay

As my wife and I sat overlooking Kenmare Bay, the Beara peninsula in the distance, I wondered to myself about what made the Kerry Way so enjoyable. My answer can be summed up in one word.


For us, the variety of this trail is what makes it so impressive; throughout the Kerry way you walk through the highest mountains in Ireland, stunning lowland forests, sub-tropical coastal walks, and desolate ridgelines. It’s hard to believe all of the memories we have are from one single trail but that’s what the Kerry way does best, constantly surprises you.

Hiking trails in Ireland do not have a lot of supporting infrastructure but the Kerry Way is very well supported by Irish standards because it passes through so many towns. A lot of care and thought has been put into this trail; it’s well maintained, regularly varies the surface you walk on, and diverts from the main road wherever possible, following back roads and boreens.

The Kerry Way map on HiiKER


The trail was very wet underfoot and we spent a lot of time with our feet sinking into bogs. While I wore trail runners and my wife wore waterproof boots; we both ended up with wet feet eventually. I’m not sure if even the best waterproof boots would keep your feet dry in October when the bog is that wet. Based on the reviews I’ve read, it seems that large sections of bog stay wet for most of the year.

Walking in the Black Valley

The Weather

The weather in this region changes very quickly so you must prepare for the rain and wind. Some sections of the trail, particularly the Black Valley become impassable in the heavy rain so it’s advisable to check ahead before walking.

I highly recommend that you download the Met Eireann app for predicting the weather, it offers a brilliant rainfall forecast radar that shows the predicted rainfall for the coming days.

A rain shower passes by at Blackstone’s Bridge


  • Walking in the Killarney National Park is stunning. Both days, from Killarney to Black Valley and Kenmare to Killarney, were some of our favourite walking.
  • Walking in the Black Valley and the Bridia Valley was amazing. There are some lovely climbs and views, however you are very exposed to rain and wind.
  • Blackstone’s Bridge is very pleasant and just off the trail. There’s a lovely picnic bench to sit at and eat your lunch
  • Windy Gap outside of Glenbeigh has lovely views back over the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks and lovely views across to the Dingle peninsula
  • The Mountain Stage between Glenbeigh and Cahersiveen lives up to the hype. It really does feel like you’re on a stage overlooking the sea
  • Cahersiveen to Waterville is a long day with two big ridge walks. Stunning but very exposed and the ground is very boggy.
  • Waterville to Caherdaniel had some lovely grass roads and forest sections. Very short and easy day.
  • Sneem to Templenoe was one of the best days of hiking on the entire trail. Drastically different to the mountainous regions, this is a low-lying section with huge off-road sections varying from grassy tracks, boreens, forest trails, and seaside walks. Instead of walking all the way to Kenmare, we recommend finishing at Templenoe and getting a taxi to Kenmare
  • The section from Blackwater Bridge to Templenoe is one of the best sections of hiking on the entire trail


  • There is a long road section between Glenbeigh and the mountain stage. About 5-7km. It is pretty boring.
  • The road into Cahersiveen is best avoided, I recommend getting a taxi from Foilmore church into Cahersiveen. There is a trail spur that you can walk that we skipped.
  • The Sneem to Kenmare day is 34km. Some guidebooks measure it as 25-30km but from our experience, the day is 34km. The final 7km (Templenoe to Kenmare) is bad walking that brings you over wet boggy hill tops before entering Kenmare. The last thing we wanted after walking 30km was to walk over another boggy hilltop. I recommend getting a taxi from Templenoe into Kenmare and skipping this section.


We stayed in B&Bs the entire way which were lovely. Wild camping is possible but you must ask permission of the land owner first. Camping is not allowed in Killarney National Park. From what I saw, most camping options were on bog where it can be difficult to find a dry spot.

Food & Drink

Regarding food and drink we can recommend:

Picnic Locations

Lunch over Caherdaniel
The Mountain Stage – Looking back over Glenbeigh
Killarney National Park