Oki, Shikoku, Japan, 2017
It is a day of endings. The day we leave the Kerry Way. The final day of our walk across Ireland. The day our path drops into the sea.
From Cahersiveen, the Kerry Way heads south, continuing its circular path back to Killarney. If it is anything like our last three days on the trail, it would be a glorious walk. But our route takes us in a different direction. We are heading west, following no particular trail in search of a finite end to our travels, the end of all land. Continue reading
It’s Day 23 on the trail. Our second last day. A day tinged with anticipation, to be sure. But also regret that it will soon end.
The trail out of Glenbeigh takes us on a circuitous route, up a wooded slope before looping back along the neck of a promontory with views looking over town, as if we had never left. Glenbeigh continues to lie at our feet for some time and we think we are getting nowhere fast. But the trail does eventually carry us westward and upwards for seven or so kilometres. Then, with magnificent panache, the Kerry Way reveals the purpose of its mischievous route. Continue reading
It is hard to leave the restful isolation of Black Valley. It will be a long, tough day. 36 kilometres. Three mountain passes. A day that most guidebooks recommend be completed in two.
Yet the source we are basing our entire walk on, The Irish Coast to Coast Walk by Paddy Dillon, suggests it can be done in one go. Paddy, after all, is a veteran walker. He’s done this trail a number of times as well as many others in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. His recommended itineraries for each of the past 21 days have been, at times, daunting but always doable. Today, we put Paddy to the test. Just as he’s, most assuredly, testing us. Continue reading
The Kerry Way is the last formal trail we will follow on our walk across Ireland. It starts innocently enough in Killarney’s city centre, across the street from the Tourist Information Office. An appropriate location given the crush of largely North American visitors we encountered last night.
Today, our route starts with an urbane exit from the city following busy roads, passing a long string of row housing and hotels, shops and gas stations. Buildings give way to tall fences and elaborate gates hiding golf courses and exclusive resorts. The path finally diverts into the woods of Killarney National Park. Loud diesels are supplanted with the hushed tones of wind and leaves. Continue reading