Coastal, Mountain, and Island Hikes in Cork and Kerry

Overview

Crashing seascapes, emerald valleys, the twining music of the fiddle, the lilting rhythm of the language, and a people who offer one of the warmest welcomes in the world—this is the magic of Ireland. In the exuberant company of Trip Leaders Con Moriarty and Ann Curran, we’ll enjoy an insider’s view as we hike and explore the most spectacular mountains and coasts of southwest Ireland. Remote Sheep’s Head Peninsula, the ancient woodlands of Killarney National Park, the stone circles and pilgrim trails of the Dingle Peninsula, the extraordinary island-monastery of Skellig Michael (now of Star Wars fame)—they’re all on this journey. Along the way, we hear tales of clans and chieftains, enjoy pub evenings among new friends, savor the fantastic Irish culinary scene, and meet artists, shepherds, singers, and more. Come experience the true Ireland with us!

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-2
Cork / Sheep’s Head Peninsula

In the lush beauty of West Cork, we enjoy a spectacular hike and a warm welcome at our country manor house. On the narrow ridge of the Sheep’s Head Peninsula, a place of breathtaking beauty and home to some 600 souls, a mix of farmers and fishermen, our airy trail offers views at every turn, from Dunmanus Bay in the south to Bantry Bay in the north.

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Days 3-5
Beara Peninsula / Killarney National Park / Kerry Way

As early as 4,000 years ago, Bronze Age people recognized the power and sanctity of the Beara Peninsula and located some of Ireland’s most beautiful stone circles here. We hike through this wild valley, then follow the Kerry Way to Killarney Lakes, with a spectacular descent into the Gap of Dunloe, a narrow pass between Macgillycuddy’s Reeks and Purple Mountain. Con’s family has lived in these hills for generations and he describes this area as “a powerful place of great shapes, nature, history, and stories.”

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Days 6-9
Skellig Michael / Dingle Peninsula / Great Blasket Islands

We boat out to dramatic Skellig Michael, an 8th century monastic outpost set atop a rock pinnacle, then head to the Dingle Peninsula, a misty spine of mountains notched with beaches, bays, and pre-Christian antiquities. On Mount Brandon, a spiritual anchor point on Ireland’s Atlantic seaboard, we follow a pilgrim route past spectacular sea cliffs. Our grand finale finds us hiking the ancient green roads of mesmerizing Great Blasket, the westernmost point in Europe, where we’ll have a sense of walking near the edge of the world. Depart on Day 9 via Cork.

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Highlights

Highlights

Enjoy an insider’s introduction to Ireland’s rich traditions and powerful history
Hike the Kerry Way, Beara Peninsula, and legendary McGillicuddy Reeks, with easy or moderate options
Cross the famed Lakes of Killarney by private boat
Summit Corran Tuthail, Ireland’s highest mountain, and hike sacred Mount Brandon
Savor Ireland’s superb culinary scene
Hear traditional music and song (our leaders will take you to hear the finest musicians)

Details

Length: 9 days
Cost From: $4895  
Arrive: Cork, Ireland
Depart: Shannon, Ireland
Lodging: 8 nights charming inns and hotels
Meals: All meals included except 1 dinner
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level:

A mix of moderate walks and hikes, 4-6 hours a day, van support (for luggage or if you wish to skip a day’s hike).