Wild & Wonderful Western Ireland

Ireland - Kenmare - - Killarney National Park - AdobeStock_252969647.jpeg
Duration: 7 nights
Type: European walking holidays
Walking Grade: 2 & 3
from £1,299pp

Walk in some of the wildest and most enchanting landscapes Western Ireland has to offer as you tick off two counties in one holiday. Not only will you trek the best sections of the Ring of Kerry, but you’ll also visit Cork to walk along the Beara Peninsula where grassy slopes give way to distant mountain skylines stretching from Dursey to the colourful village of Allihies. There are plenty of big-name sights along the way, including Torc Waterfall and Killarney National Park – a huge outdoor playground that includes Ireland’s highest mountain range, McGillycuddy’s Reeks. There’s also some superb lookout points over Bantry Bay plus a boat trip across Glengarriff Bay to visit the glorious gardens of Garnish Island.

What you’ll love

  • Walking sections of the Kerry Way 
  • Walking in Killarney National Park 
  • Taking a boat trip to Garnish Island
  • Spending time in Kenmare
  • The coastal views on the Beara Peninsula
  • Exploring the charming village of Sneem

What’s included

  • Full programme of guided walks led by local HF Holidays Leaders
  • Comfortable accommodation
  • Half-board (breakfast and evening meal)
  • All sightseeing and entrance fees (as per itinerary)
  • Air-conditioned transport
  • Return flights from the UK including hold baggage and airport transfers

Trip Notes

Easy to download as a PDF, our trip notes provide detailed information for every holiday. Please click below to find the trip notes for your departure date.

All our carefully-curated itineraries are designed by our experts. While we make every effort to adhere to the described itinerary, we may take alternative routes or adapt the running order for weather and/or operational reasons.

Welcome to Kenmare Bay Hotel. Unpack and settle in.


The beautiful village of Sneem on the Ring of Kerry is a wonderful introduction to our week. Nestled between mountains and wild rugged coast it offers some of the best views of the country. Both walks explore the historical and geographical features in the area.

Option 1 - The Lomanagh Loop

Distance: 7 miles (11km)

Ascent: 500 feet (150m)

In summary: Starting from Sneem we follow the Lomanagh Loop walking on minor roads, forest tracks and across fields until we join the Kerry Way to make our descent into Sneem where we can sample some Irish hospitality. 

Highlight: The views of the Kerry Mountains and the Beara Peninsula.

Option 2 - Blackwater Bridge to Sneem

Distance: 9 miles (14½km)

Ascent: 700 feet (210m)

In summary: This walk joins and follows the Kerry Way over moorland with views of the Beara Peninsula across the Kenmare River to the south and the MacGillycuddy's Reeks to the north. The walk then descends and takes us through charming woodland and farmland to Sneem.

Highlight: Spotting the MacGillycuddy's Reeks - Ireland's highest mountains.


Today we walk along a scenic coastline to arrive at the beautiful gardens of Derrynane House, ancestral home of Daniel O'Connell known as Ireland's nineteenth century liberator. 

Option 1 - High Route to Caherdaniel and Derrynane

Distance: 5½ miles (9km) 

Ascent: 550 feet (160m)

Descent: 1,000 feet (300m) 

In summary: From a viewpoint looking towards Waterville, we set off southwards on the Kerry Way. After reaching the high point of the route we swing eastwards and take a high level path with splendid views to Derrynane. We eventually drop to sea level where we can enjoy a cuppa at Derrynane House or wander in the beautiful grounds. 

Highlight: A stunning walk with spectacular coastal views. 

Option 2 - Butter Road and Mass Path to Derrynane

Distance: 7.5 miles (12km)

Ascent: 1,000 feet (320m)

In summary: Our walk on this part of the Kerry Way follows the old road which used to carry Kerry butter to Cork. After enjoying the views we cross the pass and descend to the little harbour at Bealtra and then follow rocky coastline, visiting the ruins of Ahamore Abbey before arriving at Derrynane House. 

Highlight: A taste of Ireland's wild and dramatic Atlantic coastline. 


Each week there is a free day when no guided walks are offered. This is an ideal opportunity to relax around the hotel, walk independently or visit local places of interest. Some options for your free day may include:

Kenmare: Spend the morning visiting the colourful town of Kenmare. Walk the Heritage Trail and visit the Lace & Design Centre. For the afternoon, relax in the hotel’s swimming pool, sauna and spa facilities.

Seal watching: Join a seafari from the pier at Kenmare to view seals and sea eagles. Times vary according to the tides. Refreshments are served and included in the price.

Derreen Gardens: Derreen Garden (60 acres) lies on a promontory in Kilmakilloge Harbour on the Beara Peninsula and is well worth a visit. There are a number of marked walks within this large area.

Killarney: Visit the interesting town of Killarney, located in Killarney National Park. The town boasts many fine churches and art galleries.

Lakes of Killarney: Enjoy a boat trip from Ross Castle across the lakes to Lord Brandon’s Cottage, lunch in the café there and take a short walk to Galway Bridge. Please consult your leaders who can pre-book transport to pick you up at this bridge to take you back to the hotel.


Today both walks start at the tip of the Beara Peninsula, a stone’s throw away from Dursey Island. It’s mostly coastal walking, finishing at the old copper mining town of Allihies for a drink.

Option 1 - Garnish Pier to Allihies

Distance: 6 miles (9½km)

Ascent: 1,000 feet (300m) 

In summary: This walk leaves the active fishing harbour of Garnish and goes along the shoreline of Ballydonegan Bay. We traverse below Lackacroghan where we can enjoy fabulous views back to Dursey before dropping back down towards Allihies and its beautiful beach ending in Allihies itself. The landscape has scattered remains of the once thriving copper mining industry.

Highlight: Taking in the scattered remains of the copper mining industry around Allihies.

Option 2 - Dursey to Allihies

Distance: 8 miles (13km)

Ascent: 1,500 feet (450m)

In summary: Starting near the Dursey cable car station, we ascend Ballaghboy and straddle the ridge with fine views across the north and south of the peninsulas. We soon view lofty sea cliffs before we finally descend back to the Garnish Pier and finish with the easier walkers.

Highlight: On a clear day you can see out to the World Heritage Site of Skellig Michael.


Today we walk in the Glengarriff Nature Reserve.

Option 1 - Glengarriff Nature Reserve & Garnish Island

Distance: 5 miles (8km)

Ascent: 500 feet (150m)

In summary: Today this group walks within the protected area of Glengariff Nature Reserve, home to a multitude of wildlife, flora, fauna and ancient tales. We walk a short loop following the river and view some ancient oaks on the way. After crossing meadows, we ascend to “Lady Bantry’s Look Out” point. After enjoying lunch in Glengarriff, we take a boat to Garnish Island via Seal Island and then walk around this fabulous garden flourishing in its own microclimate. We return to Glengarriff harbour by the same boat.

Highlight: Keep your eyes peeled for seals on the boat ride to Garnish Island.

Option 2 - Holy Well to Glengarriff

Distance: 7½ miles (12km)

Ascent: 2,050 feet (620m) 

Descent: 2,000ft (600m) 

In summary: From the little town of Adrigole, the harder walk follows the Beara Way and heads up the north side of the lofty Sugar Loaf Mountain to 500m with great views of Bantry Bay and Sheeps Head peninsula. Our path then descends towards Glengarriff Nature Reserve before heading down into Glengarriff.

Highlight: Catch a glimpse of Ireland's highest waterfall, the Mare's Tail, as it tumbles down Hungry Hill.


North of Kenmare takes us to the Killarney National Park and the majestic lakes amidst the surrounds of the abbey, castle and magnificent Victorian mansion of Muckross House.

Option 1 - Galway Bridge to Muckross

Distance: 7 miles (11km)

Ascent: 1,000 feet (300m) 

In summary: We walk from Galway Bridge along the Kerry Way passing through Esknamucky Glen and Cores Cascade to follow the Old Kenmare Road to Torc Waterfall and Muckross Estate. Here we will have time to explore the gardens and visit the café.

Highlight: We'll have plenty of time to explore the house, its fantastic gardens and - of course - the cafe!

Option 2 - Torc Mountain

Distance: 9 miles (14.5km)

Ascent: 2,000 feet (600m)

In summary: We walk along the Kerry Way from Galway Bridge passing through Esknamucky Glen and Cores Cascade on good tracks to Torc mountain. The ascent is rewarding with panoramic views across the lakes and up the Black Valley and beyond. We make our descent and follow the Old Kenmare Road to Torc Waterfall and Muckross Estate to join the easier group.

Highlight: Walk along the beautiful Kerry way.


We hope to see you again soon.


Itinerary map for Ireland

Kenmare Bay Hotel & Resort - Kerry & Cork

The 3-star Kenmare Bay Hotel sits on the edge of the pretty little town of Kenmare, facing the hills of the Kerry Way. The hotel has a pleasant restaurant, cosy bar with outside seating, and a large indoor swimming pool with sauna and spa pool.

Rooms

The hotel has 127 bright and spacious en-suite bedrooms, all with:

  • Direct dial telephone
  • Flat screen TV
  • Hairdryer

About your stay

The hotel has a range of facilities including the Courtyard Bar, which has a cosy atmosphere. The courtyard terrace is a decked area off the bar where you can relax with a drink. 

There is also the Bay Health Club, which includes a spa pool and swimming pool, gymnasium and extensive selection of beauty and holistic treatments available (payable locally).

Food & drink

Our holidays at Kenmare are on a half-board basis and include breakfast and your evening meal. Two of your evening meals will be taken in local restaurants.

Breakfast

The hotel offers a self-service buffet breakfast each morning with tea, coffee and toast served at the table.

A typical Irish breakfast includes sausages, bacon, eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes, black & white pudding and soda bread. Should you prefer something a little lighter, you can choose from a selection of fresh fruit, croissants, cereal, and fruit juice. 

Lunch (payable locally)

You can buy packed lunches from the hotel (order the night before). Alternatively ingredients for your picnic lunch can be bought from local shops; your leaders will advise you of the options.

Evening meal

Dinner is served in the Bay Restaurant, which focuses on local Kerry produce combined with fine wines and attentive service whilst enjoying views of the Kerry Mountains. For vegetarian option and any other special dietary requirements we recommend that you spend a few minutes discussing these with the hotel staff. 

On two evenings, meals will be taken in specially selected local restaurants.

Drinks

The hotel has a well-stocked bar serving beer, wine and spirits.

Your evenings

Each evening your leaders will tell you about the next day's activities and answer any questions you may have.

During the evening you may like to join in an optional organised activity, such as a quiz.

Essential information

It's best to be prepared for all weather conditions. To make it easier, here is a list of items you should consider packing.   

Essentials  

  • Walking boots 
  • Waterproof jacket 
  • Waterproof trousers 
  • Insulated jacket/top 
  • Walking clothing  
  • Walking socks (plus spares)  
  • Sunhat 
  • Gloves/mitts and warm hat
  • Water bottle (minimum 2 litre capacity)  
  • Headtorch 
  • High-factor sunscreen (minimum SPF 30)  
  • Sunglasses with a dark lens 
  • Rucksack (15-30 litres)  
  • Mobile phone 
  • Personal first aid kit (containing your medication, blister plasters, etc.) 
  • Passport 
  • Visa (if applicable) 
  • Copy of your travel insurance policy 
  • UK Global Health Insurance Card (formerly known as EHIC

Recommended

  • Collapsible walking poles 
  • Swimwear and travel towel
  • Snacks
  • Dry bags
  • Rubbish bags
  • Insect repellent

Optional extras

  • Camera 
  • Sit mat
  • Flask for hot drinks 
  • Durable lunch box
  • Gaiters 
  • GPS device 

Guest reviews

All holidays are subject to availability. Supplements may apply.

Non-member fee: £30 per person.

All packages that include flights are ATOL protected. Advertised prices listed below show the lowest economy flight price option for that departure. On holidays where we offer local UK airports, details will appear in the “Important Information” section below and available alternative flight options will be offered when you book. Seating upgrades may be available on request and at an additional charge, please call 020 3974 8865 for a quote.

Date (Start - End) Itinerary Double / Twin Room Single Room Notes / Offers Trip Notes Book
2024

08 Jun - 15 Jun 2024

7 nights

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15 Jun - 22 Jun 2024

7 nights

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22 Jun - 29 Jun 2024

7 nights

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29 Jun - 06 Jul 2024

7 nights

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£1,449 pp

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24 Aug - 31 Aug 2024

7 nights

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14 Sep - 21 Sep 2024

7 nights

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2024

08 Jun - 15 Jun 2024

7 nights

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15 Jun - 22 Jun 2024

7 nights

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22 Jun - 29 Jun 2024

7 nights

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29 Jun - 06 Jul 2024

7 nights

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24 Aug - 31 Aug 2024

7 nights

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14 Sep - 21 Sep 2024

7 nights

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Important information

  • With flights holidays: Price includes return flights to Cork Airport, hold baggage and airport transfers
  • Our airport taxi service operates at this resort - price available on request
Duration:
7 nights
Type:
European walking holidays
Walking Grade:
2 & 3

7 nights from £1,299pp

or call 020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ guests click here

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