Kerry Way / MacGillycuddy’s Reeks | Ireland, 2009

Distance :  51 kmimg_6912

Avg. Time :  2 days

Start / Finish :

  • Killarney – Glencar
  • As of 2010, there is no public transport to Glencar. Fortunately, hitching is relatively easy. Ask at the Climbers Inn if anyone is headed back to Killarney. Have a pint or three while you wait. Hopefully, your prospective driver won’t be doing the same.

Season :  April to October.

Maps / Info :

  • OSI Discovery Series 1:50,000 #78 Kerry . The OSI series of maps are widely available in bookshops and outdoor stores throughout Ireland.
  • Bring all supplies from Killarney. Snacks available at the Youth Hostel in Black Valley.

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Route / Conditions :

  • This is a walk in two parts. The first section from Killarney to Black Valley is a scenic, but mellow stroll past lakes, waterfalls and rolling countryside. The second stage entails a traverse of MacGillycuddy’s Reeks, arguably Ireland’s finest high-level walk, which passes 8 of the 10 highest peaks in the country.
  • The jagged crest of the “Reeks” is completely exposed, and not the place to be when storms come rolling in off the Atlantic ocean (as they regularly do). Double-check the forecast before setting out from Black Valley.
  • If you would prefer to bypass the section from Killarney to Black Valley, you can begin your traverse of the Reeks at the Gap of Dunloe. Transport to the Gap can be arranged from Killarney.
  • All water on this route should be treated. For the second section of the hike, be sure to bring all that you need from Black Valley, as there is no water available on the crest itself.


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Sleeping :

  • A great place for a few pints after a long day in the hills is the Climbers Inn at Glencar. The Inn offers reasonably priced accommodation and a field at the back of the pub for campers and/or revellers who can’t manage to locate their vehicle.

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Overview :

  • This hike represents a wonderful fusion of natural, historical (Muckross House) and social elements (the pub at Climbers Inn). Pretty much what hiking in Ireland is all about.

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