Forests Lakes and Valleys

  • Overview

  • Oak Forest

  • Lakes of Killarney

  • The Black Valley

  • Gap of Dunloe

  • Gear required

Trip:  Forests, Lakes & Valleys


Altitude/Distance: 150m/10km approx.


Route: Tomies Oak Forest - Lakes of Killarney - Gap of Dunloe


Date: TBD - contact us for dates and details


Duration: 7-8 hrs with 4-5 walking, 2 hours on a boat


Grade: Walking - Easy to Moderate


Price: €65pp (minimum 6) Group rates available 


This tour is spectacular and is held in high esteem, it has been designed to allow you to experience all of Killarney’s finest and most remote locations. Our day mixes great stories with fantastic scenery, offering you a great overall outdoor tour that is hard to beat in the Killarney area. We also offer this route as part of a larger package or can customise options within the day for group bookings.


 We make our way from Kate’s to the entrance of Tomies Woods and walk through one of the oldest oak forests in the country and the largest in Europe. We take our ease and relax as we make our way through this ancient forest which is strewn with moss covered boulders. We can admire the vivid colours and serenity of a place that could have been part of the Alice in Wonderland fairy tale.


The Oak Forest is a magical, mystical place that is calming to the senses as we take in its sights, sounds and the smells. We make our way to the wonderful O’ Sullivan’s Cascade, a picturesque three-tiered, tropical looking waterfall at the edge of Lough Leane (Lake of Learning), where we are picked up by boat to carry us to our next destination, through the tranquil Lakes of Killarney.


From the lake shore, we continue our way along the edge of the forest which will be on our right, while on our left we see the Island of Innisfallen with it’s monastery ruins. It was once the seat of Munster learning and the famous Annals of Innisfallen were written here centuries ago. We continue under Brickeen Bridge which takes us on to the Middle lake (Muckross Lake). Legend has it that this lake was formed when a fair maiden drawing water forgot to replace the capstone of the well because she was distracted by a handsome warrior.


The scenery on the next section of our journey is spectacular; to the south is Europe’s largest yew forest while to the east is Muckross House and it’s beautiful gardens, which were built at enormous cost to honour Queen Victoria in 1861. We pass Torc Mountain and the Colleen Bawn Rock, which commemorates one of Ireland’s most tragic love stories.


We continue our journey past an old hunting Lodge on Dinis Island, under Toothache Bridge and the meeting of the waters to the Old Weir Bridge before we continue our way to the Long Range and the Upper Lake of Killarney. The vegetation gets more luxurious as the boat makes its way through mosses, liverworts and of course the famous Arbutus trees, an introduced species that have intermingled and grown wild with native plants in the natural woodland. We then make our way to the Upper Lake also know as Serpent’s Lake where legend has it that Saint Patrick imprisoned the last of the great snakes. We pass Ronayne’s Island, where the great mathematician lived, we also pass the Eagle’s Nest Mountain which inspired Alfred Lord Tennyson in his poem “Set the wild echoes flying”. We break for lunch at the end of our boat journey at Lord Brandon’s cottage before we continue on the final leg of our tour.


 The Black Valley is situated between the Lakes of Killarney and the McGillycuddy Reeks, nestled between the towns of Killarney and Kenmare in County Kerry, Ireland. To visit the Black Valley is to have one of the finest scenic experiences in the world. The Valley has a wild, rugged and extreme beauty, yet also has calmness, friendliness and tranquillity. It is a natural, untamed place that reflects the peoples' struggle to make a living throughout the ages.


The Black Valley is one of the most remote regions in the country to have a living community. It once saw it's whole population being wiped out by the potato famine and is now inhabited by a mere handful of families. It was the very last valley in Ireland to benefit from the rural electrification scheme. As we make our way through the valley we see the towering mountains overhead. The MacGillycuddy Reeks with their numerous peaks, many over 3,000 feet, overshadow the Valley. Although bare of vegetation today, up to the middle of the 17th century, they were covered with great woodlands – totally destroyed by a charcoal works factory by Sir William Petty for his ironworks at Glencar. Our other team members will be up in the mountains above as they challenge Ireland’s highest Corrán Tuathail.


 As we leave the valley, we make our way through the famous Gap of Dunloe. The Gap of Dunloe is a wild and rugged place having been excavated by forging ice flows during the last ice age. The scenery here is spectacular as we make our way through this deep gorge with it’s imposing cliff side walls. We also pass a number of deep corrie lakes, steeped in local folklore, as we make our way back to our starting point at Kate Kearney's Cottage. Kate was a local beauty in the mid 19th century, who ran a shebeen (illegal drinking house) and was reportedly free with her favours. She was constantly in trouble with the law for she also sold poteen (illegal liquor) to passers by. Her luck ran out though when blight attacked the potato crop. She fled leaving only her poteen-still behind. Nowadays it is a pub, restaurant and shop and is a popular venue with locals and visitors alike.


Special note:
Due to the nature of Irish weather our walking holidays will have a number of options that we can alter depending on the conditions.


Waterproof clothing, warm top, warm hat, gloves, walking shoes/runners, camera and case, lunch and snacks.


Inclusions: Experienced guide, boat tour on the Lakes of Killarney & loads of local story telling and craic!





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