Southwest Ireland boasts some of the most inspiring landscapes imaginable. Your guided hiking holiday starts on the shores of Kenmare Bay on the Ring of Kerry. This is coastal scenery at its best with views across the Irelands highest mountain range the McGillycuddy Reeks and Bantry Bay.
Discover this part of the “Ring”, walk part of the Kerry Way and then move south to the Beara Peninsula and hike the historical Beara Way. Visit Dursey Island, travel as far west as you can with the opportunity to spot migrating whales. You complete your guided hiking holiday on the idyllic Sheeps Head peninsula overlooking Roaring Water Bay and the Fastnet Rock. Enjoy the Sheeps Head Way as weaves you through some of the most beautiful scenery you can think of. If you enjoy coastal scenery then this is the guided hiking holiday is perfect for you.
Day 1: Arrival - Your holiday starts in the town of Killarney, where you meet at the old railway station hotel known today as the The Great Southern Hotel. Here – your Guide will meet you at 4.30pm and a courtesy transfer by minivan takes you to the heritage town of Kenmare. On arrival, you will have time for introductions with your group as your Guide goes through some more details for your holiday with you & your group. You then enjoy your first evening meal together & your first 2 overnights are spent in this lovely heritage town of Kenmare.
Day 2: Gleninchaquin - A short drive outside Kenmare, takes you to an impressive valley where you get the best of Ireland all in one a beautiful waterfall, coastal views with surrounding hills & mountains to explore, fields in the valley dotted with snow-white sheep and one of the most peaceful stone circles to contemplate.
An impressive hike takes you into the hills above Gleninchaquin waterfall & offers wonderful views across the southern shores of the Ring of Kerry. This walk is across open mountains with a mix of bogland & heather to walk over as you complete a glorious circuit with stunning views across the Ring of Kerry & Kenmare Bay.
At the end of your walk, some light refreshments can be enjoyed before you return to Kenmare with some time to explore this wonderful town. Evening at your leisure to enjoy some of the beautiful restaurants in the town.
Walk Details – Distance: Up to 12kms. Highest point: 350mts. Paved roads & gravel tracks with rocky & uneven sections, can be wet & boggy underfoot. Open hillside with no tracks, some sections will require climbing up & down steps & across stepping stones.
Day 3: Caha Mountain Way - Travelling south today, your walk takes you to another old Irish farmstead. Here, you will have the opportunity to learn how to make Irish soda bread (and possibly the illicit “poteen”) before enjoying a super walk overlooking west Cork & south Kerry.
Starting your walk through the farmland, you then take to the hills for a beautiful walk along the Cork and Kerry border. With views north across the Ring of Kerry & the impressive McGillycuddy Reeks, you then look south over Bantry Bay, the Beara Peninsula and further south to Sheeps Head & Mizen Head. This wonderful walk takes you across open mountain & bogland with some intermittent rocky sections that demand care on descent. Your Guide will escort you carefully through this beautiful walk to return to your starting point.
At the end of your walk, you drive in your minivan to reach the town of Castletownbere on the southern shores of the Beara Peninsula where you enjoy your dinner & overnight.
Walk Details – Distance: Up to 12kms. Highest point: 390mts. Gravel tracks with rocky & uneven sections, can be wet & boggy underfoot. Open hillside with no tracks, wet & uneven ground. Some steep descents over rocky sections.
Day 4; Bere Island - From your accommodation, a short walk takes you to the ferry for Bere Island. Once a military stronghold – this glorious island offers both history, magnificent scenery & fascinating stories from the past.
Walking around the western end of the island, you reach a lighthouse that has guided boats into the haven of Castletownbere harbour for 100’s of years. Starting as above, you then continue to the eastern end of the island, following through the old military base to enjoy some wonderful coastal scenery. From there, you then reach the tiny village of Rerrin where you can relax, enjoy some refreshment & take your ferry back to the mainland. On your return to Castletownbere, you can enjoy an evening at your leisure. A must see in Castletownbere is the famous Murphys bar.
Walk Details – Distance: Up to 18kms. Highest point: 250mts. Paved roads & gravel tracks with rocky & uneven sections, can be wet & boggy underfoot. Grassy trails & open hillside with no trails.
Day 5: Dursey Island - If weather permits – today will take us to the very western tip of the Beara Peninsula and the delightful Dursey Island. Crossing over by Ireland’s only Cable Car, you can then enjoy a beautiful walk around this glorious place.
From the Cable Car station, you climb to reach the centre of the hills that make Dursey the island it is. Following west across moorland & rocky trails you reach a Signal Tower in the centre of the island. A short descent from here, takes you to a trail that leads to the western tip of the island and lands end. Return to the Cable Car along the main island track.
At the end of your walk, if time allows, a short visit to the village of Allihies & the Copper Mines Museum will give you a greater insight into the importance of the mining indistry to the region.
Return to Castletownbere for an evening at your leisure.
Walk Details – Distance: Up to 15kms. Highest point: 250mts. Gravel tracks, open hillside with no trails, rocky & uneven underfoot & can be wet & boggy in places.
Day 6: Central Sheep's Head Way - Leaving Castletownbere after breakfast, you drive east to arrive at the market town of Bantry. A short drive outside the town brings you to the start of your walk. From here, you are spoilt for choice as you enjoy stunning walks along hills that form the central spine of the Sheeps Head Peninsula with the Wild Atlantic lapping at both the northern & southern shores of the peninsula.
Following a super mountain track along the central hills of the Sheeps Head Peninsula you continue west with wonderful views south over Mizen Head, north over the Beara Peninsula and Ring of Kerry and west towards the Fastnet Rock and the islands of West Cork. Continue west to reach “Finn McCools Chair” & from here, you then descend to reach a small road & return to your minivan. From here, continue west to reach your overnight stop on the southern shores of the Sheeps Head Peninsula.
On arrival to your accommodation, you will have time to enjoy the delights of the quaint village of Kilcrohane towards the western end of the peninsula. Dinner and overnight here.
Walk Details – Distance: Up to 12kms. Highest point: 250mts. Gravel tracks and open hillside with no tracks, uneven & rocky underfoot & can be wet & boggy in places. Paved roads towards the end.
Day 7: Southern Sheep's Head Way - The ultimate walk, and a super finale, takes you from ancient Copper Mines to modern day Lighthouses as you enjoy one of the most glorious walks this region of Ireland offers. Starting your walk at an old Copper Mines, you follow through a deserted village to follow west along a stunning coastal walk. As you continue west, you reach the picturesque lighthouse at the tip of the Sheeps Head Peninsula. From here, your walk continues east, passing an old signal tower, to complete your circuit and rejoin your minivan. Your final dinner & overnight in Kilcrohane is a super way to finish your holiday, exchange memories & discuss all the highlights of your week.
Walk Details – Distance: Up to 12kms. Highest point: 230mts. Open hillside with uneven & rocky sections without trails, some of which can be wet & boggy underfoot. Gravel tracks & paved roads for short sections. Steps up & down in places.
Day 8: Departure - After breakfast, a courtesy transfer by minivan bring you back to Bantry town, arriving at approx. 10am. From here, a good bus service returns you to Cork City where you can then avail of an excellent service of trains, buses, ferry or airports for your onward journey.