At the early planning stages for the Kerry Way, one will notice that the start and end of the trail cover the same ground. The 15km section between Killarney and Galway's Bridge has to be walked twice. Whilst many people are happy to walk this part in both directions, it is worth noting that there is an alternative and this is to take a boat to the start of Black Valley and begin the trail.
O'Donoghue's Boats offer a completely different perspective in viewing Killarney National Park as the boat navigates through the Lakes of Killarney. The small motorised boat leaves Ross Castle in Killarney and takes an hour to reach Lord Brandon's Cottage at the start of Black Valley. Walkers can enjoy lunch here at the café before setting off on the Kerry Way.
An additional benefit to starting out from Lord Brandon's Cottage is that an alternative sequence of stages becomes possible up as far as Cahersiveen. These shorter stages are more manageable and perfect for starting out on the trail and building up to some of the longer sections of the trail.
Lord Brandon's Cottage to Bridia Valley : 12km
Bridia Valley to Blackstones Bridge, Glencar : 15km
Blackstones Bridge, Glencar to Kells Post Office: 24km
(Blackstones Bridge to Mountain Stage : 14km)
Kells Post Office to Cahersiveen Town Centre : 23km
(Mountain Stage to Coars, Cahersiveen : 22km)