Winter Solstice Series

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Winter Solstice Walks

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Killarney, known for its breathtaking landscapes and rich history, offers an enchanting experience like no other, especially during the Winter Solstice.

As the shortest day approaches, it’s not just about the dawn of winter but also about retracing steps taken by ancients, celebrating rituals, and being one with nature.

We have curated three distinct walks, each weaving together nature’s majesty and the myths of yesteryears. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a history buff, these walks promise a soul-stirring journey through Killarney’s most treasured sites.

The Paps of Danú Walk

Best Time to Hike: Winter Solstice

Key InformationDetails
Length of Hike:Approx. 12 km
Duration:4 hours
Starting Point:Entrance of the Claddagh Valley
Difficulty:Moderate/Strenuous
Trail Type:Point to Point
Notable Sights:Sunrise, heart of Sliabh Luachra, celebrations on the summit
Packing Essentials:Climbing boots, warm fleece, extra layers, hat, gloves, rain gear, food/snacks, water

The Paps of Danú walk is designed to honor ancient rituals dating back centuries. Positioned between the Kerry and Cork border, the 694m Paps of Danú is a site of significant historical and cultural relevance.

As the sun rises from the east , participants will be welcomed by the mesmerizing views and the heart of Sliabh Luachra.


The Old Kenmare Road Walk

Best Time to Hike: Winter Solstice

Key InformationDetails
Length of Hike:Approx. 15 km
Duration:5 hours
Starting Point:Gleneagle Hotel
Difficulty:Moderate
Trail Type:Point to Point
Notable Sights:Killarney National Park, MacGillycuddy’s Reeks, Lakes of Killarney, Torc and Mangerton Mountains, ancient oak paths
Packing Essentials:Climbing boots, warm fleece, extra layers, hat, gloves, rain gear, food/snacks, water

Deemed one of the most cherished walks in Ireland, The Old Kenmare Road Walk offers panoramic views of the Killarney National Park, The MacGillycuddy’s Reeks, and the iconic Lakes of Killarney.

The trail meanders past the Torc and Mangerton Mountains, characterized by steady inclines and adorned with ancient oak forests.

With a rich tapestry of nature and history woven into its path, it remains a must-visit for both locals and tourists seeking a blend of scenic beauty and cultural exploration.


The Summit of Carrauntoohil Walk

Best Time to Hike: Winter Solstice

Key InformationDetails
Length of Hike:Approx. 20 km
Duration:6-7 hours
Starting Point: Cronin’s Yard
Difficulty:Strenuous
Trail Type:Point to Point
Notable Sights:MacGillycuddy’s Reeks, mythology and ancient lore of pre-Christian Ireland
Packing Essentials:Climbing boots, warm fleece, extra layers, hat, gloves, rain gear, food/snacks, water

Dive deep into the annals of history with the Summit of Carrauntoohil Walk. As you ascend Ireland’s highest peak, tales of ancient myths and folklore will accompany you, painting a vivid picture of pre-Christian Ireland.

This trail provides a unique chance to immerse oneself in Ireland’s rich heritage, all while being surrounded by the breathtaking landscapes of the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks. The journey, steeped in stories and natural beauty, promises an experience that lingers long after the descent.


Exploring the trails of Killarney independently is a rewarding experience, but always ensure your safety is a top priority. Equip yourself with the right knowledge and tools, and you’re set for an unforgettable adventure. Safe travels!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I undertake these walks on my own?
Yes, these walks can be done independently. However, it’s important to note that while some paths are well-trodden and marked, others might require a good sense of direction and a detailed map.

2. Where can I get a detailed route for these walks?
While we provide a general overview of each walk, for detailed routes, we recommend purchasing a topographical map of the Killarney area or using reliable hiking apps that offer GPS tracking and offline maps.

3. What safety precautions should I take when walking independently?
Always inform someone of your planned route and expected return time. Carry a fully charged mobile phone, a whistle, and consider investing in a personal locator beacon. Ensure you’re adequately prepared for changing weather conditions and have sufficient food and water.

4. Are there any local guidebooks available?
Yes, several local guidebooks provide insights into Killarney’s trails, complete with historical context and detailed routes. Check local bookstores or tourist information centers.

5. How do I gauge if a walk is suitable for my fitness level?
Each walk has a different level of difficulty. Assess the length, elevation, and terrain against your own experience and fitness level. Remember, it’s always better to be over-prepared than under.

6. Are there designated parking areas for the starting points of these walks?
Most of the trailheads have nearby parking areas, but they might get crowded during peak times. It’s recommended to arrive early, especially during busy seasons, or consider using local transportation.

7. What about wildlife and livestock?
Killarney is home to various wildlife. Always observe animals from a distance and avoid feeding them. Some trails might also pass through grazing lands, so be respectful, avoid disturbing livestock, and ensure to close any gates behind you.

8. Are the trails well-marked?
Some of the popular routes are well-marked. However, lesser-trodden paths might have fewer signs. It’s always a good idea to carry a detailed map or a reliable GPS device.

9. Can I camp along the routes?
While there are no official campsites directly on the routes, wild camping is tolerated in certain areas. Ensure you follow Leave No Trace principles, setting up late and leaving early, and always avoid camping on cultivated land or near residential properties.

10. Are there any local emergency contacts I should be aware of?
Yes, in case of emergencies, dial 112 or 999 for immediate assistance in Ireland. It’s also wise to note down numbers of local mountain rescue teams when heading into more remote areas.

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