This is a beautiful high-level section of the Kerry Way, skirting along the mountain range of the Iveragh peninsula, overlooking Dingle Bay. Begin just above the sleepy post office at Kells, on the N70, Ring of Kerry road to Caherciveen. Although initially a little muddy, a decent track leads gently uphill, past several roofless, long abandoned, famine cottages and small fields with the faint remnants of potato beds in them.
After half an hour an old railway viaduct will come into sight, nestled in a thick pine forest. You’ll then enter the top edge of this pine forest, crossing several streams. During warm summer days clouds of golden pollen burst into the air as the Atlantic breeze ruffles the pine boughs.
The peaceful, damp forest track eventually deposits you out onto the open hillside and this is often a welcome place to sit and savor the views over Dingle Bay and Inch Beach.
A narrow rocky track then winds along the flank of Drung Hill, once a coaching road, now used mainly by wandering sheep. An ogham stone stands atop of Drung Hill and it’s thought by some that this was where local kings were crowned. From this peak they could see all of their kingdom spread before them. A steep detour off the Kerry Way will take you to this summit and is well worth the effort.
The fuchsia lined path meanders downhill slowly and crosses over the busy main road at Mountain Stage. This was once a stage coach stop, where horses were replenished. Now a little, friendly coffee shop stands there. It’s a short detour off the Kerry Way to reach the coffee shop, so you’ll need to use your OS map.
From here quiet country roads, with the occasional farm house, leads you to a fork in the road. You’ve the choice of continuing straight, which will lead you through peaceful, shady pine woods into Glenbeigh village, or take a left to enjoy a long descent and spectacular views down to Rossbeigh beach, for a swim in the fresh Atlantic surf!
The hike is approximately 12km and takes five hours. You either need a car at each end, or use Falvey’s Taxi to return you to your own car (087 9077648). The Towers Hotel, with its blazing open fire, is worth calling into for a coffee or hot chocolate. You’ll need proper hiking gear, including walking boots, waterproofs and an OS map.
Contact Nathan Kingerlee at www.outdoorsireland.com for details of guided Kerry Way & Carrauntoohil hikes.
|Nathan Kingerlee runs an adventure and outdoor training company, Outdoors Ireland, based in Killarney, Kerry.
Specializing in mountaineering, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, rock climbing and team challenges, Outdoors Ireland runs a combination of training courses, team building and adventure breaks.
Climb Ireland’s highest mountains, Rock Climb on sandstone cliffs, Kayak deep ice-carved lakes and sparkling rivers, explore hidden trails through Kerry’s glaciated valleys.
Challenge yourself and your team with a specially designed Team Building Course or reward your staff with a Corporate Adventure Day suitable for all abilities.