24 November 2009

Adventure Break in Kerry, Ireland; Kayaking, Hiking, Biking & Ring of Kerry

Throughout 2010 we'll be offering a multi-day adventure break designed for overseas tourists and American college students. The holiday will be based in the vibrant town of Killarney and will include transport, luxurious accommodation, delicious healthy food, adventure activities, outdoor equipment and qualified guides.
This is a sample of what we'll be offering:

''This week was one of the best that I spend in Ireland. Hiking and kayaking are great ways to get to know the beautiful landscape and to see impressing places which must be unique! We had so much fun with the group too!''
Jenny, Germany



Day 1
Boat Trip through the Lakes of Killarney and Bike the Black Valley & Gap of Dunloe


This is a fabulous day in Kerry’s great outdoors. Beginning at 600 year old Ross Castle, perched on the shores of Lough Leane, local boatmen will help you into comfortable open boats for the trip through the three Lakes of Killarney. You’ll pass a solitary overgrown rock, called O Donohoe’s Prison. This is where the original castle owners, the O Donohoe Ross’s, chained their captives, to face exposure and hunger. As you pull out into the open waters of Lough Leane the ruined abbey of Innisfallen will pass on your starboard side. Originally a leper colony, it was also one of Europe’s first universities where several of Ireland’s high kings, including Brian Boru, spent time furthering their education. On at least two occasions the Abbey was attached by Vikings, who came up the Laune River from Killorglin.

Keep a watchful eye on the dense woodland and thick rhododendrons that cover the flanks of Shehy Mountain, for a glimpse of soaring sea eagles. After the noisy excitement of the Meeting of the Waters you’ll chug through the secretive waters of the Long Range River. The shores alongside are plentiful with wild goats and red deer, though you may not see them! The final island, McCarthy’s Island, is told by some to be named after a neighbouring chieftain, who fled to the island while fatally injured during a midnight cattle raid. A welcome cup of tea or coffee awaits in the little coffee shop at Lord Brandon’s Cottage. The ivy encroached ruins of the Victorian hunting lodge still remain today.

The Black Valley is an impressive glacial valley, ice-carved many centuries ago by vast glaciers scraping their way towards Killarney. The foothills of Ireland’s highest mountains and imposing views of the jagged MacGillycuddy Reeks lie before you; while the steep valley sides often run with swollen streams and cascades, rushing down to feed the Lakes of Killarney. A long climb leads to the high Head of the Gap, where the incredible Gap of Dunloe stretches before you. Purple Mountain and Tomies Mountain are on your right, named after the blooming purple heather which covers their slopes. Purple and Tomies makes a great hill walk for another day. The descent down through the Gap of Dunloe is a glorious and exhilarating ride as the wind whips past your face.

The black mountain lakes look inviting on some days and cold and mysterious on others, their water levels fluctuating on nearly a daily basis. Sometimes mistaken for someone calling in distress you’ll usually hear the bleating of hardy mountain goats and their kids coming from overhead cliffs. As you pass the fifth and final lake keep your eyes open for rock climbers on the popular roadside cliff, Brennan’s Leap. You’ll often hear them before you see them, with the jingle of metal equipment and their shouted climbing calls. Kate Kearney’s Pub is a delightful sight at the end of the Gap, where tea and scones await.


Day 2
Explore the Kerry Way, through Killarney National Park


Discover the delights of the Old Kenmare Road, an ancient coaching road, now part of the Kerry Way. Hike through the oak woods of Killarney National Park, to finish at 18th century Muckross House and Gardens, with tea and cakes.


Day 3
Hike the Glencar Mass Path


The Kerry Way from Glencar to Glenbeigh is a beautiful hike. Start at the Climber’s Inn in Glencar and from here follow the sign-posted Kerry Way along wooded green lanes and later the high banks of the clear Caragh River.

Looming in the distance is the Ballaghisheen Pass, named after Oisin from Tir na Og. At the crest of this mountain pass it’s told that Oisin fell from his horse, and perished as the 300 years of his departure from Ireland caught up with him. I think the best part of the hike is as the little trail leaves the Caragh and winds through thick dark pine woods for over three kilometres, crossing deep quiet streams and occasional fallen trees, their roots torn up into the sky. The final section of woodland hiking feels like a secretive mass path as the trail descends and ascends winding stone steps and ducks under overhanging branches.

Emerging into the bright sunlight (or soft rain) of the open air, follow the Glencar road towards the base of Seefin. Here you’ll join a butter road which climbs steadily up to the Windy Gap. The narrow crest of the Windy Gap is a superb place to gaze back over the wooded and streamed landscape you’ve crossed and to look ahead over Dingle Bay, the beaches of Rossbeigh and Inch, Mount Brandon and the Blasket Islands. An hour’s descent from the Windy Gap takes you to Glenbeigh where the Towers Hotel offers welcome refreshments and on a wet day a warm open fire!


Day 4
Drive & Explore the Ring of Kerry


The Ring of Kerry with its classic stops and view points is world renown; however you'll also stop at some alternative hidden gems along the way; such as Cahergal Fort in Caherciveen, an impressive Bronze Age stone fort with great views over Valencia Harbour. There is a second even more interesting fort nearby and also the ivy-clad crumbling ruins of 15th century Ballycarbery Castle, once the home of the McCarthy Mor's, now home only to jackdaws...

Back on the main road detour to the sleep village of Portmagee. A must see is the Skellig Experience Centre, dedicated to the history and stories of the 6th century monastic settlement of Skellig Michael.

Portmagee is named after an infamous pirate, Magee, who was shipwrecked on the coastline, met a local girl and settled down in the village to a life of married contentment and dangerous smuggling. The Bridge Bar serves delicious food and is a great lunch spot. On a fine day you can sit outside at the water's edge, watching the coming and goings of the brightly coloured fishing boats.

From Portmagee follow the narrow road over the top of Coonanaspig Pass and down to Saint Finan's Bay. Here you can swim in the fresh crashing surf at the sandy beach and call into Skellig Chocolate Factory where you'll be rewarded with sensational smells and free samples of delicious chocolates.

Continue to Derrynane Beach. Here long golden beaches, Daniel O Connell’s family home, wetsuit and snorkeling hire, sailing and windsurfing from Derrynane Sea Sports and the ruined abbey on Abbey Island are all calling to be explored. If you're into hiking, best of all, is a hidden mass path and secretive smugglers trail beginning at the pier and twisting along the side of Derrynane Harbour, through thick encroaching rhododendrons.


Day 5
Morning Kayak Trip on the Lakes of Killarney
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Explore the deep, sparkling Lakes of Killarney by kayak or canoe! Beginning at 15th century Ross Castle, paddle into Lough Leane, discovering wooded islands, limestone caves and local history. With an experienced, qualified guide learn the skills to master your boat and keep a look-out for white-tailed sea eagles as they soar above Killarney National Park.
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Use your free afternoon to explore shops, restaurants and pubs of Killarney town, or take a relaxing stroll through Killarney National Park
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For more details contact Nathan on info@outdoorsireland.com or +353 (0) 86 860 45 63
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''It was a great weekend and really loved it all. It was extremely well organised, the food was brilliant and the events were great - a fantastic way to do something different and meet new people, it was just perfect to have a 50/50 mix - I have told everyone how brilliant it was! And will be watching for your next one!''
Ciara, Dublin
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''Thanks a million for a wonderful day hiking on the Kerry Way, near Glenbeigh. It was hard work, but the rewards were worth it. The views were stunning. It was just a perfect day. I'm delighted to have gone the distance; it is a huge sense of achievement. My thanks to you and Daniel.''
Mairead, Kerry

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