Kerry One-day Itinerary
Considered by many to be one of the most beautiful places in Ireland, picturesque Kerry boasts countless activities that could easily fill a busy summer holiday.
We’ve put together a one-day itinerary that will let you take in a number of popular attractions in one day and leave you wanting more from Kerry.
|Killarney to Muckross House||6.3 km (11 minutes)|
|Muckross House to Kenmare||28.1 km (37 minutes)|
|Kenmare to Bonane Heritage Park||10 km (15 mins)|
|Bonane Heritage Park to Molly Gallivan’s Cottage||5.3 km (8 mins)|
|Molly Gallivan’s Cottage to Gleninchaquin Park||32 km (45 mins)|
|Gleninchaquin Park to Moll’s Gap||30.2 km (42 mins)|
|Moll’s Gap to Ladies View||6.2 km (8 minutes)|
|Ladies View to Killarney||16.8 km (24 minutes)|
Step 1: Killarney
Killarney National Park spans across 26,000 acres and many of Kerry’s standout features are either contained within the park or closely border its boundaries. As Killarney is one of the busiest accommodation and transport hubs for Kerry, it’s fitting to start the trip here.
Start your day with an early morning stroll around Muckross House, Gardens & Traditional Farm. The well-maintained 19th century estate has something for everyone, whether they want an immersive experience full of learning, or a casual morning at their own pace.
Those fascinated by the ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ divide will surely be mesmerised by the restored interior of Muckross House. The house portrays the contrasting lives of the landowning class who lived in the elegant rooms upstairs against that of the servants who would have been hard at work in the basement of the house.
Elsewhere on the grounds, Muckross Traditional Farms offers a glimpse back in time to the life endured by many Irish farming families in the 1930s and 1940s. The Garden Restaurant is ideal for lunch on a rainy day, but if the sun shines you have your choice of picnic spots on the banks of Muckross Lake and Lough Leane.
If you find yourself with an abundance of time, Ross Castle is just 8 km away and also sits on the shores of Lough Leane. Squeeze in a tour of this 15th century structure before heading on your way to your next destination.
Step 2: Stop at Kenmare
One jewel in the Ring of Kerry that can’t be missed is the action-packed town of Kenmare. Craft centres, galleries, stables, pottery studios and more await any tourist lucky enough to stroll into the town. Shopping, accommodation and dining options are also available, giving visitors the perfect excuse to come back for a second visit or the opportunity to extend their current adventure.
Just down the road is Bonane Heritage Park, home to seven archaeological delights including an ancient stone circle, a ring fort and a bulluan stone. Some of these features once sat undisturbed for 5,000 years and are now waiting to be discovered by new generations of visitors.
On the way out of Kenmare towards Glengarriff be sure to stop into Molly Gallivan’s Cottage. This 200-year-old farmhouse museum is sure to educate younger visitors about a time before modern conveniences.
The grounds are also home to a preserved dwelling from The Great Famine and the remains of a Neolithic sun calendar.
Step 3: A Walk in Gleninchaquin Park
There is certainly no shortage of walks in Kerry, with offering everything from a gentle ramble on flat grounds to a chance to scale the country’s highest peak. If you’re looking for an area that will give you a selection of walks ranging from easy to difficult, you can take a drive out to Gleninchaquin Park. One of the park’s featured trails is the ‘Over the Waterfall’ Walk.
This route is of moderate difficulty and is marked to keep visitors on the right track. Dress appropriately for the changeable Irish weather and wear suitable walking boots. If on the day you feel in the mood for a lesser or greater challenge, you can look up some of the other walking routes in Gleninchaquin Park.
Even if you don’t have hiking in mind, you can take in the views of the Gleninchaquin landscape that were naturally formed 70,000 years ago by glaciation.
There are entry fees to access the park, a family consisting of two adults and two children costs €15.
Over the Waterfall Walk
Difficulty: Moderate – Difficult
Distance: 3 km
Duration: 2 hrs
Start location: 100 metres south of the Gleninchaquin waterfall car park
End location: Gleninchaquin waterfall car park
Parking: Gleninchaquin waterfall car park
Co-ordinates: 51.801995 -9.668364
Starting at the car park, the trail begins to climb up the mountainside in a southwest direction before it veers east at the 500 metres mark, just before Lake Cummenaloughaun comes into view. A new trail appears which heads towards the top of the waterfall.
1 km further down the trail, walkers will cross the waterfall before continuing down the hill. 500 km later, walkers face the steepest decline on the route before the track begins to descend more gradually towards the flat. Back on the ground, the last 1 km of the trail brings walkers back within view of the waterfall car park.
Step 4: A Return Journey With a View
On the return journey to Killarney, don’t miss any of the breath-taking photo opportunities that present themselves on your way home. You’re sure to notice many drivers pulling in at the side of the road near Moll’s Gap, once the site of an infamous shebeen, especially if the sun is setting to get that perfect shot. If you’re following suit, be sure to park in a safe location as the winding roads can make visibility difficult for oncoming drivers.
Another viewpoint that can be easily incorporated in to your return drive is Ladies View. This spot was named in commemoration of one of several visits made by Queen Victoria to Kerry. In 1861, during her third visit, the Queen’s ladies in waiting visited this spot and were astounded by the natural beauty of the Kerry landscape they witnessed from the location.
From here it’s back to Killarney, drawing a close to an action packed day.
Disclaimer: Walkers use these tips entirely at their own risk. No responsibility can be accepted by landowners or by Ordnance Survey Ireland, for any loss, damage or injury caused or sustained during walks.