This holiday, based in the South West of Ireland in Glenbeigh and Killarney, Co. Kerry, gives you the ideal mix of Kerry folklore, mythology and moderate walking.
The Kerry Way is Ireland’s premier walking trail, the main line being some 180km long, taking you through a variety of habitats – ancient oak woods, coast and sand dunes, inland alpine-like valleys and bog/moorland. Based largely on old highways, droving paths and Mass Paths, it has been deemed a ‘Walk through History’. For your holiday, we have selected 4 legs of the Kerry Way that allow us to follow the mythical journey of a blind magician and his band of students from his school on Valentia Island through Killarney on his way to remove a curse placed on the cows of North Cork. Other ancient myths (and more recent history) add flavour to our journey.MAKE AN ENQUIRY
Day 1 – Arrival
18.30 hrs. Dinner and welcome briefing with guide at guesthouse/hotel in Glenbeigh.
Day 2 – Valentia Island
Bray Head walk – Distance: 6km/3.75miles • Ascent: 200m/650ft
We start our journey with an exploration of Valentia Island including its slate quarry/grotto, tetrapod tracks (350+ million years old), terminus for the transatlantic cable (1860s) and Napoleonic-era watch tower. Will we be able to discover the location of the mythical magician’s school?
Day 3: Walk Kells to Glenbeigh – The Magician’s Footsteps and the Land of Youth
Distance: up to 17km/10.5miles • Ascent: 300m/1,000ft
This leg of the Kerry Way (Kells-Glenbeigh) takes us along an early Christian route and medieval coaching road, as we imagine the journey of the magician and his students. Spectacular views out and across Dingle Bay and closer inspection of archaeological artefacts. We are introduced to another myth, the tale of Tír na nÓg (the Land of Youth) and see the departure point (magic wave at the end of Rossbeigh Beach); possible diversion for a swim in the Atlantic Ocean.
Day 4 – Walk Glenbeigh to Glencar – Continuing Celtic Mythology
Distance: 13km/ 8miles • Ascent 350m/1,150ft
We walk on the Kerry Way from the seaside village of Glenbeigh, through the Windy Gap and downwards into the wooded valley of the Caragh River and storied Glencar. Tales of Fianna warrior bands and of Oisín’s return route from Tír na nÓg continue our exploration of Celtic mythology.
Day 5 – Walk the Old Kenmare Road – ‘The Most Westerly Road in the World’
Distance: 15km/9.25miles • Ascent: 230m/ 750ft • Descent: 330m/1,100ft
The final leg of the Kerry Way takes you into Killarney National Park. Our walk is along The Old Kenmare Road (once deemed the Most Westerly Road in the World) – through ancient oak woods and bog/moorland, with a descent beside the impressive Torc Cascade and into the gardens of Muckross House (19th century mansion), with its welcoming teashop.
Day 6 – Free Day Options in Killarney
– Bus tours of the Ring of Kerry or Dingle Peninsula
– Discover Killarney – cycle or stroll through the National Park. Enjoy the wonderful craft, book shops and tea houses or book a spa treatment, or sample Irish music and dance.
Day 7 – The ‘Lake of Learning’ (Annals of Innisfallen) and the Gap of Dunloe
Lord Brandon’s to Kate Kearney’s Cottage – Distance:11km/7miles • Ascent: 200m/650ft
After a short bus transfer we board an open topped boat for a spectacular trip through the three Lakes of Killarney, soaking up the mythology, folklore and geology. After lunch, walk through the dramatic, ice-carved Gap of Dunloe. Finish a wonderful week’s walking at Kate Kearney’s Cottage. Perhaps you might like to treat yourself to an Irish Coffee here before a transfer by bus back to Killarney. (Alternative to walking the Gap of Dunloe: option of hopping on a pony trap – supplement of €25-35 per person).
Day 8 Departure Day
Depart after last full Irish breakfast.
(Gleann Beithe – Valley of the Birch trees) is an attractive village situated by the Atlantic Ocean, at the foot of the mountains of the Iveragh peninsula, on the Ring of Kerry. Walk on the 6 miles of golden, blue flag beach of Rossbeigh, while breathing in the fresh Atlantic sea air. There is a choice of pubs and restaurants. Its situation on the Kerry Way walking route allows you to walk to/from your guesthouse on two days.
Killarney is your base for your final three nights. It offers a unique combination of great pubs, music, book and coffee shops in a location beside the world famous Killarney National Park and Lakes. It’s a great base for your free day with options such as hiring a bike, visiting a spa, shopping, hopping on a bus to Dingle or simply enjoying the National Park.