+353 64 6632855 Killarney, Co. Kerry, Ireland

Glanageenty Loop

Length: 4kms/2.49mi, allow 1hr 20mins – 1hr 40mins
Difficulty: Moderate
Terrain: Forest tracks, riverbank, cross country
Gear: Comfortable walking shoes/boots, raingear and fluids
Ascent: 215m/170m
When to go: All year round
Wheelchair Accessible: No
Family Friendly: Yes
Stopping Points: No set points but some interesting things to see are listed in description below.
Nearest Services: Castleisland 8km
Ordnance Survey Map No: 71, Q944 1435

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: Glanageenty is an area of mystery, myth and folklore, a wild and rugged landscape that was once the sanctuary to some famous heroes and bandits alike. The Glanageenty Loop is the shorter of two loops and it takes you along its riverbanks and woodlands to listen to singing birds, gurgling streams, and the underfoot crunch of fallen hazelnuts and oak leaves – a paradise of peace and tranquillity. For those with an interest in bird life, ravens, hen harriers, kestrels, pheasants and cranes are all regular sightings – it’s also a haven for bat life at night! Wild goats can frequently be seen sunning themselves in forest clearings. Tree lovers will encounter oak, birch, sallow, hazel, mountain ash, white and blackthorn, sycamore and various types of spruce in abundance.

History to know: It was in this glen that Gerald the last Earl of Desmond was beheaded in 1583 after months of hiding in dense woods – a plaque now marks the spot where his blood stained the earth. The loop takes you by the site of the Desmond Castle and on via the Ravens Glen waterfall to the ruins of Sean Thaigh Og’s cabin where in 1916 Robert Monteith evaded his enemies after the unsuccessful landing of arms at Banna Strand. From this secluded glen we can see the route and the hideaway taken by Stephen Fuller in 1923 when he was sole survivor of the Ballyseedy massacre. There are glorious vistas of Carrantuohill, Ireland’s highest mountain, the Gap of Dunloe and Mount Brandon.

A to B: Starting from the barrier at the forestry entrance, follow the forestry road for 50m to reach a Y-junction. Continue straight on here and follow the green (and blue) arrows along the forestry road for almost 1km to its end. (The blue arrows are for the longer Bernard Brothers Loop). Proceed straight on entering the forestry. Chiffchaffs, wrens and the sound of a mountain stream deep below in the trees greet you as you begin this route, following a forestry road eastwards and gently uphill. The chiffchaff is one of the earliest of migrant birds to arrive in Ireland each year: very elusive, it sings from high in the trees, and is usually only briefly glimpsed flitting through the foliage. The wren is native, and is common in every part of the country.

B to C: Follow the forestry track for 50m to reach a footbridge – cross it and veer right. Continue to follow the forestry track along the stream for 600m to cross another downhill stream where the blue (longer) loop turns left. You proceed straight on here.

C to D: Now follow the forestry track along the edge of the forestry (on your right) to reach a footbridge where you turn right – and rejoin the blue loop for the return part of the loop. This is a good place to spot feral goats with their long curving horns; at least one herd of these semi-wild animals inhabits the glen.

D to E: Now the loop ascends steeply to reach a sandy tractor trail. Continue to follow the green arrows as the loop ascends again along the edge of forestry. After 500m the loop turns right and enters the forestry via a stile. A waterfall, overhung with ferns and foxgloves is passed, before the route climbs along the Nohavel ridge, with wonderful views: to the north a series of graceful windmills appear over the hill, while to the west, beyond the town of Tralee the Dingle mountains can be seen strung out along Tralee Bay.

E back to A: The loop now takes you along tracks to reach the ‘far’ edge of the forestry (a viewing point outside the wire fence gives you superb views of the Slieve Mish Mountains). Turning right, follow the edge of the forestry to join a sandy roadway briefly and turn left again onto a lovely old roadway through broadleaf woodland where a walk through a fine treelined corridor, a tunnel through the wood, eventually leads you back to the starting point.


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 info@kerrygems.com.

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