Walking in Kerry
When you stand on a cliff top in Kerry you are at the edge of Europe, nothing before you but thousand of miles of the Atlantic Ocean. This is place of great natural beauty, tranquillity and genuinely friendly people.
Seo é Ríocht Ciar – this is the Kingdom of Kerry – a very special place.
If you are interested in walking, here are a few suggestions from: Kerry Gems
Glanageenty is just over 8km from Glenduff Manor approximately a 15 minute drive.
Glenageenty is an area of mystery, myth and folklore, a wild and rugged landscape that was once the sanctuary to some famous heroes and bandits alike. This loop is the shorter of two loops and it takes you along its riverbanks and woodlands to listen to singing birds, gurgling streams, and the underfoot crunch of fallen hazelnuts and oak leaves – a paradise of peace and tranquillity. For those with an interest in birdlife, ravens, hen harriers, kestrels, pheasants and cranes are all regular sightings – for nightimers it’s a haven for bat life! Wild goats can frequently be seen sunning themselves in forest clearings. Tree lovers will encounter oak, birch, sallow, hazel, mountain ash, white and blackthorn, sycamore and various types of spruce in abundance. There are glorious vistas of Corran Tuathail, Ireland’s highest mountain, the gap of Dunloe and Mount Brandon.
It was in this glen that Gerald the last Earl of Desmond was beheaded in 1583 after months of hiding in dense woods – a plaque now marks the spot where his blood stained the earth. The loop takes you by the site of the Desmond Castle and on via the Ravens Glen waterfall to the ruins of Sean Thaigh Og’s cabin where in 1916 Robert Monteith evaded his enemies after the unsuccessful landing of arms at Banna Strand. From this secluded glen we can see the route and the hideaway taken by Stephen Fuller in 1923 when he was sole survivor of the Ballyseedy massacre. In fact John Lenihan’s grandmother gave up her bed for Stephen Fuller the night he was brought here.
More recently, valley floor, the Glounageenty River the rugged hillside and the forest glades inspired and honed local mountain man John Lenihan into peak fitness in 1991 before he travelled to the Matterhorn in Switzerland to become the first Irishman to win the world title for mountain racing. John has also held the record from the fastest time on Corran Tuathail, from Loch Acoose to the summit and back in 1 hr and 11 minutes.
There are two National Looped walks within this forest.
– See more here
Cosán na Naomh – The Saint’s Road
This is one of the great walks in Kerry. It combines visiting some the best of the Dingle Peninsula’s archaeological sites and marvelous views of the sea and the mountains – a great exercise for body and soul.
This is one of 5 great medieval pilgrim paths in Ireland. Although it’s 18 km (11 mls) long, it’s not very taxing as most of it is on level ground. The walk is associated with St Brendan but historians believe it is actually much older than that and most likely dates to pre Christian times when people gathered on Mt Brandon where a festival was held in honour of Lug, the Celtic god. The Christians later adopted the route as a pilgrimage route and built many of the great monastic settlements along the route.
Traditionally the walk starts at Traigh Fionntrá (Ventry Strand) and finishes on the summit of Mt Brandon but our walk finishes at the Grotto at the foot of Mt Brandon in Baile Breac. Archaeological sites along the route include;
- Cill na gColmán
- Rahinanne Castle
- Gallarus Oratory & Castle
- Cathair Deargáin
You will need to have a car placed at the end of the route or make arrangements to be collected – unless to you want to get the ‘gold bonus points’ by walking back to Ventry again.
Information – there is a marvelous booklet available on the walk ‘Cosán na Naomh – The Saints’ Road’ by Joss Lynam. the great mountaineer and travel writer and the well known archaeologist Peter Harbison. It’s available from Dingle Bookshop, Green St, Dingle.
Ross Island Mining Trail, Killarney
There are no boats involved here. Many people don’t realise that when they are at Ross Castle they are actually on an island.
Ross Island – beautiful area, great walks with magnificent view of Loch Léin and the surrounding mountains.
Mining for copper at Ross Island dates back to over 4,000 years ago. The people had incredible technical knowledge to be able to smelt and mould copper and bronze objects back then. For example the ‘furnace’ had to be at over 1000 degrees centigrade to melt the copper.
In the 18th and 19th century the mines were opened again. The first steam engine in Ireland is said to have been used here to pump out the lake water – a continuous problem that eventually closed the mine.
Between 1804 – 1829 over 5,000 tons of copper ore was sent to smelters in England. Over 500 employed. The copper extracted at this time had a value of £80,000, a considerable sum when you consider Muckross House was built for £30,000.
Walk Length: 2.75 kms – 17 stopping points along the route.
Time: About 1 hour
Booklet: Booklet on Ross Island Mining Trail is available at Ross Castle, the Castle is open 7 days during summer months, 9am – 5pm.
Another booklet – Ross Island and the Mining Heritage of Killarney by William O’Brien is also available at Ross Castle and is a fascinating read, with lots of maps and photos from recent archaeological excavations. Costs just €2.50.