Three great walking holidays through Ireland are along Wicklow Way, Dingle Way and Kerry Way. The Wicklow Way intinerary encompasses 9 days for the complete route experience. Guest accommodations are strategically located along the way with the personal baggage being transported between stopovers as well as feasting freely on an Irish breakfast and a packed lunch to enjoy along the way. Evening meals are served in locations where no eateries are nearby. A unique feature for these self-guided walks is the provision of a mobile phone programmed to reach the nearest guide post should the need arise.
Wicklow Way follows an old route used by whiskey bootleggers and others on the run during the 18th century Irish Rebellion. Beginning in Marley Park, this trek includes views of ancient passage tomb burial sites near Fairy Castle. Another unforgettable highlight is a 397ft (122metre) waterfall acclaimed to be the highest in all of Ireland. Cli Descending into valleys such as Glensoulan affords the experience of seeing an area once home to farmers prior to the 1800s famine. Around Djouce, there are peat moss bogs and opportunities to spot frogs, diving beetles and pipits.
A 6th century Celtic monastery is located at Glenabough, the gateway of which was made of granite walls and a wooden roof. A round tower rising 30 metres in the air was used as a bell tower as well as a refuge from the enemy. Among the interesting sites along the way is the Dying Cow Pub. Legend has it the Irish police raided the pub in the middle of the night only to find the owner was not serving liquor after hours but serving refreshments to those who helped her during the death of her cow that day.
For those desiring a less strenuous walk, Dingle Way circles the southwestern Irish peninsula. Parts of this area were used for filming sites in ‘Ryans Daughter’ and ‘Far and Away.’ Along Dingle Way is the settlement of Ventry which is the western-most piece of land in Europe separated from America only by the Atlantic Ocean. Dun an Oir was the site of the British victory over Irish and Spanish soldiers during the 16th century reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Another highlight along Dingle Way are Christian beehives where one can learn more about the growth of Christianity from the 5th century AD. Valley of Loch a Duin is a 2500 BC settlement still occupied today.
The longest walking trail is along Kerry Way which begins and ends in County Kerry’s Tralee. This walk passes through villages and towns where signage appears in both English and Gaelic. Along the way there are monuments and castles around Dooks Beach dating back to the Stone Age. Black Valley is home to a 15 century friary cloister at Muckross. In the village of Glenbeigh, visitors can enjoy the beach as well as viewing thatch roofed cottages depicting the 19th century lifestyle. The Kerry Way follows the route used by travelers during the middle ages.
In the town of Cahirciveen is Derrynane House, the birthplace of Irish liberator Daniel O’Connell. Two other interesting places along the way are walking along the Old Butter Road used by farmers to carry produce to market during the 1800s. Another unforgettable sight is the 2000 year old Fort Staigue.