Killarney Walking Festival 2014

Killarney Walking Festival

There are few places on Earth – never mind Ireland – more suited to a walking festival than Killarney. Not only does Killarney boast dense woodland and commanding peaks but the scenery  on offer when one is walking in Killarney is almost unparalleled. So with that in mind, the Killarney Walking Festival, which is being held between the 20th and 22th June, sounds like an absolute no-brainer. It’s new to Killarney’s summer calendar this year but with experienced guides and stunning routes, the festival is sure to make quite a splash.

There are three types of routes on offer to walkers; C1, C2, and C3. A C1 route is classed as an easy or low level walk. These walks would be open to walkers of all ages and abilities. These routes include Tomies Wood Trail and the Copper Mines Trail. Both these trails are not too far from Killarney town and offer beautiful views of Killarney’s lakes, mountains, waterfalls and castles. The Copper Mine trail includes a guided tour of Ross Castle.

A C2 walk is classed as moderate. These routes would not be as demanding as a mountain hike but still require a good level of fitness. These walks include the Arthur Young Trail, so called as it roughly follows the route of 18th century English writer Arthur Young when he visited Muckross, and the Lakes of Killarney and Black Valley Trail. The latter includes a boat trip in its itinerary and both are day-long excursions.

A C3 walk then is classed as a high intensity walk. These walks would only be recommended to experienced walkers and adequate footwear and clothing would have to be worn. If you’re up for it though, these hikes will be well worthwhile. Routes include the Hidden Valleys of the Reeks, Carrauntohill Walk and the ominously named Summer Solstice Walk, which will take place, as you may have guessed, on the summer solstice in Sliabh Luachra.

The guides for these walks and treks include renowned local photographer Valerie O’Sulivan and experienced local walking guides Ray Walsh, John O’Sullivan and Mary Walsh. Prices for the trails vary and range from €20 per person to €70 person depending on distance. This really is a great opportunity to experience some of Killarney’s most famous and grand treks with an expert on hand to point the way and answer any questions you might have. Check out the festival’s snazzy website for more information on the routes, equipment needed and tour guides.