The Kerry Way
Distance: 200+ km | Ascent: 4,000+ m | Time: 8+ Days
The Kerry Way covers a wide variety of terrain, from the firm footing of tarmac roads to more rugged sections out on wild mountainous countryside. The trail follows small roads commonly known to the Irish as ‘boreens’, long-abandoned coach roads and mass paths that are now overgrown with grass but nonetheless quite firm underfoot. There are also sections that cross through forestry, national parks and farmland which can get quite boggy in places.
Anyone setting out to walk a long distance trail such as The Kerry Way is embarking on a serious test of physical endurance. Our Walking Advice contains some useful safety tips and pointers and we strongly recommend that everyone considering embarking on this walk should spend a few moments to read them and incorporate them in their pre-hike planning.
Distance: 8 km | Ascent: 535 M | Time: 2+ Hours
Torc Mountain is an extremely popular and scenic moderate 2-2.5 hour (7.5 km) walking route to the summit of Torc Mountain (535m) with spectacular 360 degree views of Killarney town and lakes, Muckross House, the Killarney National Park and the McGillicuddy’s Reeks, County Kerry in the south west of Ireland. This walk starts from the upper Torc Mountain car park which is also the starting point for the Old Kenmare Road Walk, a stage of The Kerry Way, Mangerton Mountain and other smaller loop walks in the area. From Killarney, continue approx 5miles / 8km before turning left on the road signed for the ‘Old Kenmare Road’ just before you get to the Torc Waterfall car park itself (see the map). The famous Torc Waterfall is at the base of Torc Mountain off the main Ring of Kerry Road about 5 miles (8.0 km) from Killarney.
Even though the summit is 525m, this walk is very popular as it is accessible to almost anyone due to the clear paths and wooden sleepers on the mountain. I brought my son when he was age 2 to the summit of Torc using a backpack but he decided to walk the majority of the way on the wooden sleepers. If you try this take care as the sleepers can be over a foot off ground level at some points and can be a little slippery when wet.
DISTANCE: 10 KM | ASCENT: 839 M | TIME: 4+ HOURS
Mangerton Mountain is a moderate 4 to 5 hour hour (10 km) walking route to the summit of Mangerton (839m) taking in the wonderful Devils Punchbowl lake near the summit and passing the Tooreencormick Battle Field Site near Killarney, County Kerry in the south west of Ireland. It is a relatively gentle climb to the summit and should be no problem to most of reasonable fitness and is one of the most accessible mountains over 800m in Ireland. The walk has spectacular views of the Devil’s Punchbowl, MacGillycuddy’s Reeks, Horses Glen, Killarney National Park and on a good day south west to Kenmare Bay. Mangerton Mountain may only be in the top 30 highest mountain in Ireland but the area of the mountains southern slopes form a huge plateau, one of the most extensive areas of mountain wilderness in Ireland stretching 13km from Killarney to Kenmare.
THE OLD KENMARE ROAD
DISTANCE: 24KM | ASCENT: 320 M | TIME: 5+ HOURS
Kenmare to Killarney or vice versa is known as the Old Kenmare Road. This is a moderate to strenuous 5 to 8 hour (24 km) walking route through amazing scenery and the Killarney National Park and has a number of steep and steady climbs and descents. A shorter 9km (3 hour) section of this stage from Torc Waterfall to Galways Bridge is also popular.
It is probably one of the most popular stages of the Kerry Way. Starting from Kenmare is follows a well worn path between Peakeen and Knockanaguish Mountains into the Windy Gap with superb views of the MacGillicuddy Reeks Mountains. From there it passes Mangerton Mountain, Torc Mountain and Waterfall and finally Muckross House, Gardens and Traditional Farm.