Trip created by Louise Kavanagh
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Join us on a unique hiking tour to the spectacular southwest of Ireland. On foot and by boat, we’ll discover the wildest coasts and islands of beautiful Cork and Kerry.
Make the unforgettable journey through Ireland hiking trails in Cork and Kerry, from the historical town of Baltimore known for its tales of pirate invasions, to the most westerly inhabited island in Europe, rich in literary history.
By day experience scenic island and coastal hikes, ancient historical sites, diving seabirds and stunningly beautiful mountain passes in Ireland’s breathtaking southwest. By evening, dip into Kerry’s culinary heritage at some of the most delicious eateries and music-filled pubs in Ireland!
Your knowledgeable guide will provide a fascinating insight into the rich cultural and geological history. As you sail to the islands, scan the swirling waves to spot marine life such as gannets, puffins, basking sharks, whales and dolphins. And don’t forget the colourful characters of rural Ireland that they are bound to introduce you to along the way!
Meeting in Cork city, we travel to the historic fishing town of Baltimore in remote West Cork. We’ll stretch our legs in this vibrantly colourful heritage town while hearing tales of conquests, abductions and pirates courtesy of the town’s exotic visitors over the centuries. Enjoy the view of the magical Carbery’s 100 Isles scattered across Roaring Water Bay on an evening stroll. (L,D)
Distance: 3 miles/5km, 2hrs.
Off the coast of Baltimore lies Ireland’s southernmost inhabited island. Cape Clear is a narrow, Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking) island overlooked by the iconic silhouette of the Fastnet Rock Lighthouse rising from a pinnacle in the sea. Hiking across the Cape Clear Island, we’ll explore its ancient sites, admire the spectacular bird life, drink in spectacular ocean panoramas and perhaps even visit a herd of goats to taste some of their very own ice-cream! (B,L)
Distance: 4.5 miles/7km, 3hrs.
Heading north, we’ll discover an unspoilt, rolling landscape so impressive it’s been named a European Destination of Excellence. Some Ireland’s best dairy products come from Sheep’s Head – sampling is a must! On our hike, which takes in sections of the Sheep’s Head Way, we will experience some breathtaking views of the ocean horizon before continuing to our accommodation in the vibrant town of Kenmare. (B,L)
Distance: 5 miles/8km, 3 – 3.5hrs.
Calling all Star Wars fans! Today, we’ll follow in the footsteps of 7th century Irish monks to their dramatic island retreat, Skellig Michael. Two rock pinnacles jutting out of the wild Atlantic Ocean, explore the iconic stone beehive huts once used by the monks who inhabited Skellig Michael, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Star Wars filming location. The small Skellig is equally renowned as the home of some 27,000 pairs of gannets, the second largest colony in the world.(B,L)
The hike on Skellig Michael is short but involves climbing 618 ancient stone steps. It’s well worth the effort!
Leaving the coast behind, we spend a day enjoying part of one of Ireland’s best long distance trails, the Kerry Way. Following part of a 17th century military road built to move soldiers from Kenmare around the majestic mountain range the Macguillycuddy’s Reeks, the Old Kenmare Road is one of Kerry’s most spectacular places to walk. After enjoying views across Kenmare Bay and a splendid horseshoe of mountain peaks, we’ll descend towards the lush green oak woods on the outskirts of Killarney National Park. (B,L)
Distance: 4 miles/6.5 km, 3hrs.
A visit to the Blasket Islands is like a visit back in time. Evacuated in the 1950s due to harsh conditions, the Blaskets once sustained a remote island population of about 100 people. Our final hike weaves across the Great Blasket as we learn about this long-lost community, while keeping an eye out for nesting seabirds, whales, dolphins, seals, and more. Back on the Dingle Peninsula, we’ll spend our evening in the quaint Dingle town, one of the strongest bastions of traditional Irish music. We’ll join the locals in one of the pubs to experience some real ‘craic agus ceoil’ to mark our last night together. (B,L,D).
Distance 4 miles/6.5km, 3hrs.
This morning after a relaxing breakfast, we’ll get the chance to explore the vibrant and colourful Dingle town, home to many interesting craft shops and cafes. We then will bid farewell to our fellow travellers at Limerick Railway Station, where there are regular train connections to Dublin. (B)
*This itinerary is subject to changes and improvements.
As you hop from island to island, relax in a cosy, home-away-from-home each night, hand-picked by for their excellent location, service and comfort. Relax in cosy libraries in front of a warm peat fire after an exciting day out hiking the islands. All accommodations provide breakfast.
We do not charge single person supplements to people booking on their own. However, you will be expected to share a room with another person of the same sex. If you specifically require a single room you will have to pay the single supplement charge of €250 but this is subject to availability.
Most meals are included in the price of this trip with the exception of dinner on one night. Breakfast is provided each morning, as well as lunch and snacks throughout the trip. Dinner is provided the first and last night. Other evenings, can dine where you choose – your guide can help you by making recommendations and reservations. Local pubs and restaurants offer a wide choice of local dishes.
On this trip, we generally eat dinner as a group however if you would like to make alternative arrangements you are free to do so. Your guide will have an evening off during this trip where they do not eat with the group. They will recommend options for dinner that evening and will help you make any necessary reservations.
You will be met by your Wilderness Ireland Guide at Cork Kent Train Station at 12.00pm on Day 1 of your trip. You will be dropped off at Limerick Colbert Train Station by 1.00pm on the last day of your trip. For full details on how to get to Cork, please see our Travel to Ireland section here.
|Trip Dates for 2020||Availability||Status||Price||Book|
|23rd May - 29th May 2020||Trip Full||FULLY BOOKED||€1,910|
|6th Jun - 12th Jun 2020||6 place(s) left||CONFIRMED||€1,910||Book Now|
|11th Jul - 17th Jul 2020||7 place(s) left||UNCONFIRMED||€1,910||Book Now|
|8th Aug - 14th Aug 2020||Trip Full||FULLY BOOKED||€1,910|
|22nd Aug - 28th Aug 2020||8 place(s) left||UNCONFIRMED||€1,910||Book Now|
|5th Sep - 11th Sep 2020||6 place(s) left||CONFIRMED||€1,910||Book Now|
Sometimes it's nice to get family and friends together and travel privately for some quality time. This means you benefit from all the features of the group departure, including hand-picked accommodation and expert local guides and we'll take care of it all. Then you can make your choice of departures dates and we'll get back to you to finalise the details.
From scuba diving to motorbikes to hiking, Louise is no stranger to adventure! Born and raised in County Sligo, Louise has a love for Ireland’s West Coast – particularly the northwest. Joining the Wilderness Ireland team in 2017 as an Adventure Consultant, Louise is one of the team’s expert trip designers – ready to help you explore Ireland’s wild places! When not at work, Louise can usually be found underwater exploring Ireland’s unique coastlines or else zipping through the countryside on her motorbike!
- Louise KavanaghAsk Louise a Question
Green Grades 1-3
Our hiking trips range from very straightforward low-level hikes to trips that include more challenging itineraries which will take you to a new mountain top each day.
Our green graded trips include shorter hikes, with few ascents, and are generally over smoother (but usually not paved) terrain. We include more cultural stops along the way and walk at a leisurely pace.
Often our green graded trips include hikes in flatter coastal areas or in valleys, and will last around 2-4 hours each day. To help you decide if you are fit enough for this trip, ask yourself:
Can you comfortably hike for 6 miles (10km), including some ascents, over generally good terrain?
Rated 4.93 out of 5 based on 28 review(s) of Hiking and Island Hopping Cork and Kerry
Every client receives a feedback survey when they return from their guided, self guided or tailor made vacation with us. Once completed the review is published on our website just as soon as our database updates. The little touches and details are important to us and where issues are raised we make positive changes to our trips to improve your experience.
That’s why we read each of our client’s reviews and although we don’t respond to all of them, if it’s glowing feedback then we get the satisfaction of helping to make your vacations truly memorable.
Ann Marie Gervino
Reviewed on 10/09/2019
Age: 50 - 60
Trip Date: 24/08/2019
Trips Taken: 1
Accommodation & Food
The Bottom Line
The hikes were spectacular--unbelievably beautiful scenery. The accommodations were great and our travel companions and guide made the trip even more enjoyable.
Hospitality and welcome were great at every place we stayed.
Tom was a great guide--very knowledgeable and personable. He was also very flexible as he tried to accommodate some of our individual requests and did a great job providing us with a few alternative itineraries when we couldn't visit some sites due to weather.
It was truly a wonderful experience. The trip had a great balance between hiking and time to enjoy the towns we were in. We were especially impressed by the thoughtfulness of the office staff that remembered to tell our guide that we wanted to work horseback riding into our trip. Also receiving a bottle of champagne for our anniversary was so thoughtful! I had told Patricia early on that the trip was to celebrate our 25 Wedding Anniversary--so thanks very much for remembering and for the gift which we enjoyed sharing with our fellow travelers.
Reviewed on 09/09/2019
Age: 60 - 70
Trip Date: 08/06/2019
Trips Taken: 1
Accommodation & Food
The Bottom Line
Not clear why, but trip info sent as attachments to emails (hiking kit list, invoice, etc.) actually "timed out" so when I went back to the email later, those attachments would not open - they were no longer "available" and I had to ask to have info re-sent. I've never had that happen before.
One thing to improve (apart from the weather, which prevented both of our scheduled island visits) is that even though the van we travelled in was small, it was very hard to hear what the guide was saying if you were in the seat just behind and practically impossible to hear if you were in the farthest back seat. This may have seemed like trivial chit-chat to the guide but it's the little things you learn and observations that add real depth to the experience. Perhaps you could have a microphone and speaker system? We did take turns sitting up front, but mostly one person (motion sickness) was there all the time and bits of the conversation would waft back and made me wish I could hear the stories (e.g. what is hurling?), too. Ciaran was an excellent guide!
Hotel in Kenmare reminded us of funeral home decor in the lobby and the room we were in was an accessible one, which explained the bathroom set-up but for the teeny tiny sink mounted on the wall, with a bathtub faucet instead of a sink-sized one. Still, I understand that it is a family-run enterprise and it is important to support these businesses. Baltimore hotel, with its own brew pub was charming but the village is so tiny - not much to do, there. My friend and I did enjoy the house beer and true local colour (and music) in the pub. The hotel in Dingle look a bit dodgy on the outside but it was great and the restaurant (the Chart House, I think/) for our final supper together was fabulous.
Ciaran was great - the change to a beach walk the first day was an excellent idea as we did get to know our tour-mates. Ciaran was always willing to go the extra mile (literally, a couple of miles back to the parked van to get hiking poles for one of our group) for our group.
Reviewed on 03/09/2019
Age: 50 - 60
Trip Date: 24/08/2019
Trips Taken: 1
Accommodation & Food
The Bottom Line
Liked the clarity of the information, very helpful in chosing the trip and then planning.
Loved the hikes - good variety. Also liked the hotels/inns we stayed in. Tom helped the group gel and we were all touched when Tom played his guitar for us. great evening concluding a lovely trip
meals were very good.
Tom was key to a wonderful trip. He was mindful of safety and the ability of participants. He was engaging and endeavoured to meet the diverse needs of the group. His skills at bringing all of us together were very much appreciated.
Great trip and I will certainly be considering another Wilderness Ireland trip in the future.
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