Length: 6.3 km/3.9mi, allow 2.5 – 3 hrs depending on fitness
Terrain: rocky paths, rock steps, minor roads, tarmac road
Gear: Comfortable walking shoes/boots, raingear, mobile phone, snacks and fluids
When to go: All year round
Wheelchair Accessible: No
Family Friendly: No
Stopping Points: No set points but some interesting things to see are listed in description below.
Nearest Services: Caherdaniel
Car Parking: Available at the car park beside Derrynane House.
Ordnance Survey Map No: 84
Disclaimer: Gems Publishing Ltd. do not accept responsibility for injury, loss or inconvenience caused while walking these trails. Common sense should prevail at all times.
Before you start: To get to the trailhead for the Derrynane Mass Path walk, turn off the N70 Ring of Kerry Road onto the minor Derrynane Road. The walk begins at famous Derrynane House – signposted on the road as home of Daniel O’Connell. This walk over the hillside and shoreline and through the grounds of Daniel O’Connell’s home, tells the history of our people in a time when Catholics were banned from celebrating Mass.
History to know: The people of Caherdaniel parish living in Farraniaragh, Coomatlauckane, and the islands of Scariff and Deenish (who rowed in by Curragh to Beal-tra-pier) walked this Mass Path during the Penal Times (in the 17th Century) to attend Mass at the Mass Rock which you will visit on your walk. It is fitting indeed, that Daniel O’Connell, one of Europe’s greatest Statesmen, led the Irish people and achieved Catholic Emancipation for our country and that during this walk you will visit his home, the Gardens and Derrynane National Park which his family left to the State.
A to B: Take a right turn out of the car park heading for the double metal gates, leading to a green hard surface road and the grassy sand dunes ahead. Look right at the end of the path, after approx 150m and a low stone marker with a yellow walking man symbol points away to your right along the bottom of the sand dunes. Passing through the next car park on your right, join a sealed track which leads to a minor road. Turn left here and walk uphill.
B to C: After another 200-300 m along the minor road you approach a car park with a slipway for boats. Veer to the right and exit the car park through a gap in the old stone wall. Follow rock steps down a narrow track.
C to D: Continue following the mass path climbing along rock-steps and through native woodland to an inlet where a stone marker post with a yellow arrow marks the shoreline. Turn right towards the rock slab and climb along the gap in the slabs. This section can be slippy in wet weather as it is worn from years of boots treading along it. Approach the quay, Bealtra Pier, on your gentle descent to another sealed track and take the minor public road away from the pier on your right.
D to E: Follow the roadway gradually back uphill, past farmhouses and grazing fields. Don’t forget to look back to see the vista of Derrynane Bay. After approx. 1.5kms you will arrive at a sign pointing right off the road for the Kerry Way. Turn right here.
E to F: Your walk now takes you along the famous long distance trail, the Kerry way. Close by as you walk, you will pass ruins of pre-famine homesteads, where they have overlooked Derrynane Bay for hundreds of years. Continue to follow the arrows taking you in a south easterly direction along this ancient road until you begin your descent to the Derrynane Road through native woodland. Turn right at this road, going downhill and arrive at Derrynane House through the whitewashed façade of the bell gate. Follow the hard surface track through the estate and back to the car park.
F back to A: Follow the hard surface track through the estate and back to the car park. Your loop is now completed.
Finish: We hope you have enjoyed the walk and found the information here useful. As always, if you have any comments to make please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.