Coastal, Mountain, and Island Hikes in Cork and Kerry

Overview

Crashing seascapes, emerald valleys, the twining music of the fiddle, the rhythm of the language, and a people who offer one of the warmest welcomes in the world. This is the magic of Ireland, and in the exuberant company of Con Moriarty and Ann Curran, you’ll enjoy an insider’s view while hiking the most spectacular mountains and coasts of southwest Ireland, from Sheep’s Head Peninsula to the stone circles and pilgrim trails of the Dingle Peninsula and extraordinary Skellig Michael. Along the way, you’ll hear tales of clans and chieftains, enjoy pub evenings among new friends, and meet artists, traditional dancers, shepherds, singers, and more.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-2
Cork / Sheep’s Head Peninsula

After walking in the footsteps of saints, scholars, and rebels in the hill country of West Cork, head to a pub for a chance to hear traditional sean-nos—a cappella solos sung in Gaelic. The next day’s hike is on the Sheep’s Head Peninsula, with its panoramic views, poetic lighthouse, and small community of farmers and fishermen.

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Days 3-6
Beara Peninsula / Killarney National Park / Kerry Way / Skellig Michael

Hike a high ridge on the rugged Beara Peninsula, a wild place where great ribs of rock stretch 30 miles into the Atlantic, then follow the Kerry Way to Killarney Lakes, with a spectacular descent into the Gap of Dunloe, a narrow mountain pass between Macgillycuddy’s Reeks and Purple Mountain. Con’s family has lived in these hills for generations. After boating out to dramatic Skellig Michael, a Christian monastic site set atop a rock pinnacle, hike over one of the giant headlands that protrude in the Atlantic from this corner of Ireland, a hidden gem of a place and favorite of our guides.

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Days 7-9
Dingle Peninsula / Great Blasket Islands

Hike the Dingle Peninsula, a mist-shrouded spine of sandstone mountains notched with bays, beaches, and hidden troves of pre-Christian antiquities. Enjoy a perfect final day exploring the beautiful Blasket Islands, the westernmost point in Europe. Hiking ancient green paths here, you’ll have a sense of being near the edge of the world. Depart on Day 9 via Cork or Shannon.

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Highlights

Highlights

Hikes on the Kerry Way, Dingle Peninsula, mystical Blasket Islands, and the Sheep’s Head Peninsula, one of Ireland’s best-kept secrets, and boat to Skellig Michael
Enjoy a personal introduction to Ireland’s rich folklore, traditions, and colorful history
Whiskey tasting with an expert, meet a shepherd and his border collies
Charming hotels in great locations, traditional music, lively pub evenings

Details

Length: 9 days
Cost From: $4495  
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)