Length: 4.9 km/3mi, allow 1 – 1.5 hours
Terrain: major and minor roads, tarmac road, footpaths
Gear: Comfortable walking shoes/boots, raingear, mobile phone, snacks and fluids
Ascent: 30 m (Healy’s Cross)
When to go: All year round
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
Family Friendly: Yes
Dog Friendly: Yes but dogs must be kept on a leash.
Stopping Points: No set points but some interesting things to see are listed in description below.
Nearest Services: Tralee
Car Parking: Parking available in the Aqua Dome car park.
Ordnance Survey Map No: 71
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: The Tralee Lee Valley Walk is a picturesque walk along the old tow path of Tralee Ship Canal to Blennerville Village with the Slieve Mish mountains as the backdrop. Crossing the Canal Swing Bridge and Blennerville Road Bridge with fine views of Tralee Bay and the restored Windmill. Returning along Kearney’s Road with Tralee Bay Nature Reserve on your left. A gradual rise to Healy’s Cross and return via the leafy suburb of Ballyard Hill to the Aqua Dome Car Park.
History to know: During your walk you will see the famous Blennerville Windmill which is the largest working windmill in Ireland. Blennerville town was developed by the Blennerhassett family in the 18th century and served as the main port of emigration from County Kerry to North America during the Great Famine (1845-50).
A to B: Your starting point is the Aqua Dome Car Park and the Tralee terminus of the Tralee-Blennerville Vintage Railway. Exit the car park, cross the Ballyard road and turn to the right. The Ballyard Fountain is ahead of you. Turn left at the fountain and proceed a distance of about 50 m along the footpath to the Basin of the Tralee Ship Canal. You will be crossing the busy Tralee-Dingle Peninsula Road (N86) so exercise caution. Cross the road to the footpath on the opposite side and follow the canal basin around to the new Marina Apartments on your right.
B to C: This is a leisurely walk along the tow path of the Tralee Ship Canal (1832-46). It affords you beautiful views of the Slieve Mish mountains. At weekends, members of Tralee Rowing Club can be seen training on the canal. As you approach Blennerville, there is a small lake on your right, known locally as the swan pond. As you can see it is home to a variety of bird species, not just the mute swan.
C to D: You will exit the Canal bank walk at Blennerville. You have the option here of continuing a further 500m to the Lock Gates where the Canal enters Tralee Bay and onto the extended North Kerry Way but our route takes us over the metal Swing Bridge and Blennerville Road Bridge. Keep on the right hand footpath. This affords you beautiful views of Tralee Bay and Blennerville Windmill, the largest working windmill in Ireland which is now a visitor attraction. Use the pedestrian crossing to cross to the other side of the road.
D to E: The return route to Tralee takes you down Kearney’s Road, parallel to the railway line and the Tralee Bay Nature Reserve, an internationally renowned wildlife habitat. It is one of only five such reserves in Ireland specifically protected by the Ramsar Convention. The entire nature reserve extends east and west of Blennerville Bridge and comprises some 755ha of estuarine mudflats an important breeding ground for migratory birds. You are sharing the route with motor traffic, though while infrequent exercise due care. You will cross a tributary of the river Lee at about 500m from Blennerville. Continue up the slight incline until you reach Healy’s Cross where you will be turning left back to Tralee.
E back to A: The last section takes you down the tree lined Ballyard Hill back to the Aqua Dome Car Park.
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.