On September 17 my partner, Mika Yamanoue of Japan, and I set out from Paddy’s Palace in Killarney beginning The Kerry Way 215 kilometer loop walk around the Iveragh Peninsula in southwest Ireland.
We arrived the previous afternoon on the train from Dublin and made our way to Paddy’s Palace, dropping off our backpacks in our small, inexpensive but adequate private room. Of course we then headed to a local pub, O’Connors to sample the local stouts. Mika prefers Murphys while I am a Guinness man.
For dinner we had fish and chips at one of the better seafood joints in Ireland; Quinlan’s as the family has their own fishing boat assuring fresh and tender fish. We had the Hake and it was delicious coming with crispy chips and a small salad.
The following morning at 8:30 we departed Paddy’s Palace which is nice enough but anything but a palace. Passing a group of kids on their way to school we ventured out to Muckross Road and followed it for a few K before veering into the Muckross Estate.
The following hour we enjoyed a scenic walk along Lough Leane and Muckross Lake stopping for a tea at the Muckross Estate House.
We then walked through the Muckross Garden which is beautiful even in the early Fall. We then followed a wooded trail that was a bit busy to the roaring Torc Waterfall given the heavy rains of the past few days.
We then continued up past the waterfalls putting distance between ourselves and the many tourists here just for the short walk to the Waterfall. Once we reached the top of the forest the path leveled off somewhat and we reached open fields following the old Kenmare road.
Eventually we came to a beautiful waterfall on the Owengarriff River which made for a scenic rest stop.
The path carried on through more forest and then higher up over a rocky wet path with some boardwalks. Then through more forest before eventually veering off the path to Kenmare for the path to The Black Valley.
The remaining walk was quite pleasant walking through some forest and crossing the Gerhaneen River. The deeper we went into The Black Valley the more beautiful the scenery and the quieter it got. So peaceful after experiencing the hectic pace of Dublin.
The Black Valley Hostel has been closed since Covid started but we received a very warm welcome at The Black Valley Lodge by Trevor, of Limerick, and his Thai wife, Nana. Trevor immediately brought out a pot of Tea and kindly gave us some ideas about our free day tomorrow. We had hoped to climb Carrauntoohil but the weather looked bad for trying to get to the top of Ireland’s tallest mountain at 1,038 meters.
I had found a walking stick early in the day but it had several gnarls. Trevor took it and returned it to me later all sanded down, varnished, and a thumb holder carved into the top. Great Irish hospitality.
Having traveled frequently to Thailand, we were ecstatic to learn that Nana would prepare a Thai dinner of Papaya Salad, Spring Rolls, Chicken Wings, and Chicken with Massaman Curry. And it was authentic Thai. What a delicious surprising treat.
The views of the valley and surrounding hillsides from the B&B were spectacular. We went to bed late so happy and content with a wonderful first day on The Kerry Way.
A few more pictures: