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Known around the globe for it’s famous touring ring road – somewhat inappropriately named the Ring of Kerry, this is the largest landmass that extends westwards into the Atlantic from Ireland’s south western corner. Highest, rugged mountains, fertile valleys, hundreds of lakes and rivers and blanket bogs mark the interior of the peninsula.
Sprinkled with 8000 years of archaeology and with many hidden gems, over 99% of visitors to the spectacular region follow a narrow strip of asphalt (The Ring of Kerry) – and miss the incredible natural and cultural wealth of the Uíbh Ráthach (Iveragh) peninsula.
Derrynane and Abbey Island
To Irish people Derrynane is a name place associated with The Liberator, Daniel O Connell. Although in fact born in nearby Caherciveen town, it was here amidst a rae remnant of ancient coastal oak forest that the giant of pre-Famine Irish politics lived, when not in London or wherever his lawyer duties summoned him The great beach at Derrynane sweeps alongside a beautiful estuary adjacent to the O’Connell home, now managed as part of the National Parks. To naturalist as well as historians this is a wonderful place with rare plant, bird and animal life found here. A stroll along the white strands lead to the now silent monastic ruin and beautiful cemetery of Abbey Island. The walk is suitable to people of all ages and abilities and provides an opportunity to share in the extraordinary naure and social history of our land and the perfect activity break along the Ring of Kerry.
(3-5 kms / 2 – 3 miles and flat)
The Rossbeigh peninsula lies off the Ring of Kerry road near the village of Glenbeigh. The promontory extends for three miles or so into Dingle Bay and provides a wonderful walk along open strands that are suitable to everyone. The region is surrounded by richly textured hills and steeped in rich folklore along with a vibrant bird population.
(3-5 kms / 2 – 3 miles and flat)
Bray Head Loop, Valentia Island
This is probably Hidden Ireland Adventures’ founder Con Moriarty’s very favourite Atlantic headland..although rivalled possibly by Bray Head on nearby Valencia! The walking at Bolus Head has in recent times been incorporated into a National Loop walk and as such is now a well sign-posted trail from the area around St. Finian’s Bay. We have our own take however on this special area and take in some of the incredible archaeology and human story of this great promontory that protrudes into the Atlantic between Ballinskelligs and St. Finian’s Bays. The top of Bolus is the site of another of the British built lookout of the early 19th century when Napoleon was thought to threaten. The tower was in fact one of the largest built at that time and is now an impressive ruin. Scenically, the views here are expansive from a high elevation over ocean and enormous cliffs, mountain and patchwork of ancient filed-systems. The landscape is etched with the remnants of human settlement over thousands of years with special antiquities from the early-Christian era and of course, the enormous population surge of the 18th / 19thcenturies. A powerful place where Light can often mesmerise and an adventure suitable to most.
(approx. 8kms/5 miles with 300m / 1000 ft of ascent on good trails and open hillsides)
“Quite simply, there is no better way to experience the Reeks than with Con Moriarty”
- Sir Chris Bonington
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