Return to previous page

Killarney National Park and The Ring of Kerry, Southern Ireland - Itinerary

Below is our planned itinerary. Please, keep in mind that it could change due to weather conditions, or other circumstances beyond our control. Description of each day’s hiking is mileage/elevation change. These are approximate. The order of day tours may alter depending on the availability of land tours on Skellig Michael.

Breakfast B, Dinner D

Getting to our starting point of Killarney is the responsibility of each participant. The trip leader will provide additional information to registered participants.

Day 1 Monday August 29, 2022: Welcome to Killarney

We meet in the late afternoon at our lodgings for our trip orientation and to answer last minute questions before dinner, our first meal of the trip. D

Day 2 Tuesday August 30, 2022: Muckross Lake Loop 9 miles, +328 feet

Starting with a visit to Muckross House, a 19th century Victorian mansion, today is a moderate stroll through native forests of oak and yew with views of Torc Mountain and MacGillycuddy’s Reeks, Ireland’s highest mountain range, stretching 12 miles from the Gap of Dunloe in the east to Glencar in the west. Along our way, we will visit a 13th century Franciscan friary. In a good state of preservation, it has been abandoned since the 1650s when the monks were driven out by Oliver Cromwell’s forces. Interestingly, its graveyard is still in use today, where people are buried alongside the ancient Irish Chieftains such as the O’Donoghues who, according to legend, were laid to rest there. We will return to Killarney for our evening meal. B D

Day 3 Wednesday August 31, 2022: Torc Mountain 6 miles, +1296 feet

Our destination today is the top of Torc Mountain. It’s celtic name translates to ‘Mountain of the Wild Boar’ and there are many legends concerning wild boars in the area. Steep in places but made easier as most of the path is either a stone walkway or laid with boardwalks. On the way, we will pass the stunning Torc Waterfall and, pending fine weather, be treated to some amazing views of Killarney, the lakes and the National Park. We will have certainly earned our pint of Guinness by the time we return to Killarney for our dinner. B D

Day 4 Thursday September 1, 2022: Glencar to Glenbeigh 9 miles, +1050 feet

Today we hike Stage 3 of The Kerry Way, a renown long distance hiking trail in the county of Kerry. This walking route follows quiet back roads and beautiful forest tracks with amazing scenery at every turn from soaring peaks, to woodland tracks, to pristine lakes and wooded valleys. Our route passes between Seefin mountain (1795 ft) and Coolroe mountain (1536 ft). We walk directly to our dinner location, a cosy Irish pub. B D

Carousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel imageCarousel image

Images of Skellig Michael

Day 5 Friday September 2, 2022: Skellig Michael

To avoid delays along the Ring of Kerry, we have an early start on our drive (~75 minutes) to Portmagee where the boat departs for UNESCO World Heritage Site Skellig Michael, a well-preserved example of an Early Christian monastic settlement thought to be dedicated to St Michael somewhere between 950 AD and 1050 AD. Our hope is to offer two options; either a land tour of the island with its “beehive” stone dwellings or an eco-boat tour encompassing both Skellig Michael and Little Skellig, a nearby rocky outcrop renowned as the home of some 27,000 pairs of gannets – the second largest colony of such seabirds in the world. Both options are dependent upon good weather and sea conditions. To preserve the island and the quality of the visitor experience, land tours are strictly regulated and the number of daily visitors is limited. Time permitting we will explore the Skellig Experience Visitors Center before dinner in Portmagee. We return to Killarney tonight. B D

Day 6 Saturday September 3, 2022: Ross Castle and Library Point 3 miles

After our exertions of the last few days, today is more of a rest day. We have a tour of Ross Castle, a 15th century tower and castle keep, a typical stronghold of the O’Donoghues, ancient Irish Chieftains followed by an optional loop walk - a trail of the copper mines and open mine shafts which date back to 2400 BC. The trail includes the fabulous scenic viewing points of Governors Rock and Library Point on Ross Island, part of the UNESCO Kerry biosphere reserve with stunning views of the Killarney Lakes, Mangerton and Torc Mountains to the south and Purple, Tomies and Shehy Mountains to the west. Consider a boat trip to the monastic site and oratory on Innisfallen Island where St Fionan Lobhar founded his monastery in the late sixth century. It was here that the world renowned Annals of Innisfallen were compiled and are now in the care of the Bodleian Library in Oxford, England. The remainder of the day is yours to explore. Dinner is on your own. B

Day 7 Sunday September 4, 2022: Shadow of Carrauntoohil 5+ miles, +700 feet

Our destination today is Lough Calee, beneath Cnoc na Toinne “Hill of the Wave’’ and in the shadow of renowned Carrauntoohil, Ireland’s highest mountain at ~3,400 feet. Pending fine weather and interest, we may extend today’s moderate hike to include another nearby mountain lough (lake) or simply enjoy the scenery and fine views from our lunch spot. We return to Killarney for dinner. B D

Day 8 Monday September 5, 2022: Gap of Dunloe 9 miles, +833 feet

Known also as Bearna an Choimin or ‘Gap of the Little Hollow’ the Gap of Dunloe is one of Southern Ireland’s most visited destinations due to its outstanding natural beauty. Forged by glacial movement 25,000 years ago, it stretches between the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks to the west and the Purple Mountains to the east. Our day starts with a 90 minute boat ride across Lough Leane and through to Upper Lake where we disembark at Lord Brandon’s Cottage, formerly a hunting lodge and now a tea shop serving light refreshments. We’ll take time to explore this area and enjoy the views across the lake. Next a ‘jaunty ride” by horse cart, or optional hike, takes us through a narrow paved winding road, following the river Loe, as we pass by 5 lakes and encounter a variety of dramatic mountain scenery. Our destination is Kate Kearney’s Cottage, a 150 year-old family run establishment known for its welcoming Irish hospitality where we will enjoy dinner before returning to Killarney. B D

Day 9 Tuesday September 6, 2022: Keel Uphill Downhill 10½ miles, +330 feet

We start with a 30 minute drive as we head towards the Dingle peninsula. Our circular hike takes us through fields, along river banks and a mountain path with some old bóithríns (lane/ track), quiet roads and a short section on the main road, passing an old thatched cottage and close to an interesting old graveyard. There are great views north to the Slieve Mish Mountains and south over Castlemaine Harbour and towards Carrauntoohil. Dinner is at a nearby restaurant before returning to our lodgings. B D

Day 10 Wednesday September 7, 2022: Tomies Wood to Dinis Cottage 8 miles, +1158 feet

Starting in Tomies Wood, we pass through the famous Rhododendron Forest before descending the eastern slopes of Shehy Mountain to the shore of Lough Leane. Here we will explore the ruins of historic Glena Cottage made famous when Queen Victoria visited in 1861. Sadly this cottage built by Lord and Lady Kenmare burned down in 1922 and was never restored. We finish today’s hike at historic Dinis Cottage dating back to the 1700’s and operating as tea-rooms for 200 years. Hopefully we’ll be in time for a cup of tea and cake before returning to Killarney for our farewell dinner. B D

Day 11 Thursday September 8, 2022: Farewells

Our adventure in Southern Ireland ends after breakfast at our lodgings when we say our farewells. Perhaps consider extending your stay to further explore this Emerald Isle before returning home? B

The trip leader will provide 4 trip bulletins prior to departure with more detailed and specific information to help you prepare for your adventure. If you’d like advice with your in-country travel arrangements, please do ask, we are happy to help.

Click here to print off/ download a copy of the full trip brochure

Return to previous page

Trip Dates: August 29 - September 8, 2022 | 11 days

Special Small group size - be first on the waitlist!

Trip Price and Deposit: $4,185 | Deposit $1,046 | Single supplement $725

Remainder to be paid by May 29, 2022

How to Sign Up:

  1. Complete the COVID-19 Vaccination Status Form

  2. Follow the next steps.

Photo credits: Failte Ireland