Think you’ve seen Killarney National Park? You haven’t until you’ve walked the Old Kenmare Road. Just a five-minute drive from Killarney’s Holiday Village, it looks particularly beautiful in Autumn, as the summer foliage turns to gold and the lowering sun highlights the crags and hills that line this superb trail.
Here’s what you need to know:
Where is it?
Your holiday home at Killarney’s Holiday Village is the ideal place to stay if you plan on exploring any or all of this 16km trail from Killarney to Kenmare. Simply take a left turn off the N71 immediately after you pass the main entrance to Muckross House in the direction of Kenmare and follow the narrow, ascending road for approximately 1km until you reach the Upper Torc car park. This is the same car park you will use if you plan to climb Torc Mountain, and, indeed, the start of the Torc ascent is on the Old Kenmare Road.
What’s on it?
The route of the Old Kenmare Road starts in the Owengarrif river valley, which extends the Devil’s Punchbowl on Mangerton Mountain to the spectacular cascade at the foot of Torc Mountain. It then winds its way through the uplands of Killarney National Park between mountains, pockets of ancient woodland, and gushing streams until you soon forget there is a modern world not that far away.
Why should I care?
Forming part of the Kerry Way, a long-distance walking route around the Iveragh Peninsula, the Old Kenmare Road is a truly magical place that time has forgotten completely. The trail is easy to follow, with no confusing junctions or diversions, and apart from a few short hills, it is relatively flat. It never gets crowded, even in the height of the summer season. The variety of nature that you will encounter as you make your way is truly astonishing, and the sense of peaceful solitude and haunting beauty will stay with you long after you have put your feet up back in the comfort of your holiday home