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Rucksack Readers => General issues => Topic started by: drlogs on December 27, 2009, 09:28:00 pm

Title: Irish Coast to Coast - East to West or West to East?
Post by: drlogs on December 27, 2009, 09:28:00 pm
My husband and I are planning to walk the Irish Coast to Coast over the course of 2 vacations.  We are interested to hear feedback and/or suggestions on the pros and cons of walking east to west versus west to east. 

Also, is there one location that seems to work best to be the break point, for stopping to split the walk?

We are also looking at possibly just walking the Kerry Way loop: any feedback?

Thank you.  Lisa

Title: Re: Irish Coast to Coast - East to West or West to East?
Post by: Jacquetta on December 27, 2009, 09:39:16 pm
Hi there and welcome

Which route are you thinking of following for Irish coast-to-coast?

In general, west to east would more likely place prevailing winds at your back.

Kerry Way is a brilliant walk, but a different level of challenge, can be done in 9 days.  Our guidebook ( tells you all about it.

Whatever you decide, good luck and please let us know how you get on.
Cheers, Jacquetta

Title: Re: Irish Coast to Coast - East to West or West to East?
Post by: drlogs on December 28, 2009, 03:36:09 pm

Thank you so much for your response.  We currently have a copy of Paddy Dillon's Book on the Irish Coast to Coast which details a walk traversing Ireland by walking parts of 6 different long distance paths - maybe you know the book.

We are trying to figure out our priorities, i.e. how important is it to us to actually "walk across" Ireland versus just spend dedicated time "walking" some beautiful areas in Ireland, preferrably in the style of several consecutive days in a row.  Thus, the consideration of walking the Kerry Way.

We wondered why we couldn't find any comments in Paddy Dillon's book suggesting west to east.  It is our experience you always want the wind at your back if possible.  We walked the Coast to Coast in England two years ago and read everywhere that the best direction is west to east due to winds, weather, etc.  I have found books on the Kerry Way, Dingle Way and Wicklow Way.  I purchased the Kerry Way.  Our love is to walk in areas like the Lake District of England, the Highlands of Scotland, etc.  We are not "major" hill walkers but can handle it if necessary.  Any feedback on any of the walks in Ireland would be wonderful.  Thank you.  Lisa

Title: Re: Irish Coast to Coast - East to West or West to East?
Post by: Stottie on December 28, 2009, 07:56:01 pm
Compared with English walks, you'll probably find more hard-surfaced roads in Ireland.  For me, as a visitor from England, the west of Ireland is the best of Ireland.

Why?  Because the scenery is more spectacular, and the combination of mountains and long peninsulas with intervening bays is beautiful beyond compare.

Jacquetta has given you a good lead with her hint about the Kerry Way. The Beara Way is the next one south and another good option, and here I have to make it clear that I've explored by car and not walked it. The Dingle Way I have walked and enjoyed, though it is less dramatic than the Kerry Way.

I understand (from my own perspective) the dilemma of choosing between a cross-country walk and an exploration of spectacular segments elsewhere. Only you can choose. Many Brits return to the English coast-to-coast, but I never will. I think there are many better walks, but possibly none where a walker meets so many others. I suspect your Irish walks, whichever they are, will be much quieter than your English ones.

Title: Re: Irish Coast to Coast - East to West or West to East?
Post by: drlogs on December 29, 2009, 02:15:16 am
Thank you also for the feedback about walking in Ireland and specifically about the Kerry Way.  We so appreciate your response.  It sounds like the Kerry Way is exactly what we love the most.  If there are any accomodations that you would either recommend or not recommend along the way, it would be very helpful to know this as well.

The more research we do, the more it seems we will choose the Kerry Way after all.  This area of Ireland reads as if it is a "hot" tourist spot, which this is actually a turn-off to us.  We are constantly seeking to go "off the beaten path".  However, since this area of Ireland is described as the wildest and most remote, maybe most tourists are in Killarney and the major historical sites and not out walking a trail/path. Thank you for any further feedback you may offer.  Lisa

Title: Re: Irish Coast to Coast - East to West or West to East?
Post by: Stottie on December 30, 2009, 07:34:19 am
The motor route round the Ring of Kerry is very popular, and justifiably so. Killarney town therefore gets very busy. If you are walking, you'll see the crowds but you won't often be with them. (Maybe I should have written that you won't be with them in spirit.)

I can't offer any specific help with accommodation. I'm fond of Kenmare town, where I found good value accommodation, and there is at least one hostel. I've never reserved ahead because I don't travel at the height of the season. Standards are variable in Ireland in my limited experience. Sometimes I've had to take the view that "It's only for one night, and tomorrow will be better," whilst on other occasions I've been amazed at how little I've paid for spacious luxury.

There's nowhere like the west of Ireland for scenic walking, unless it's the west of Scotland. Scotland has better, unfettered access to open land, and hospitality in the west is warm. Ireland's peninsulas are in a class of their own, hospitality is right up there with the best, and there is a relaxed air that I've found nowhere else in northern Europe.

Not that I'd be trying to influence you!

Title: Re: Irish Coast to Coast - East to West or West to East?
Post by: drlogs on December 31, 2009, 07:41:49 pm

Thank you again for your feedback, very helpful indeed.  I'm expecting to receive the Kerry Way book and if I further questions, I'll post then.  Lisa

Title: Re: Irish Coast to Coast - East to West or West to East?
Post by: capetrekker on February 07, 2010, 10:52:27 pm
My wife and I attempted the "Irish C2C" three years ago. We began in Dublin with the Wicklow Way continuing on the South Leinster and  East Munster Ways. As we were to begin the Blackwater Way section we were beset with a nagging foot problem and ended the walk at that point. I will grant you we encountered some nasty weather, the same time period as the Ryder Cup, but we were not overly impressed with the walk after completing the Wicklow section. Too much road walking, with some on very busy shoulder-less roads.

I am sorry that we didn't experience the Kerry Way, but that section will be for another day. We have walked the C2C in England and, for us, this walk just doesn't compare.

You do need to work out a carefully planned walking program as the route is not always walker-friendly with timely conveniences. We found that the best source for navigation are the OS maps: the middle sections are not well represented in guidebooks or at least weren't three years ago. That said, we did enjoy the Irish and as always came away with many good memories.


Title: Re: Irish Coast to Coast - East to West or West to East?
Post by: Jacquetta on February 08, 2010, 08:38:48 am
Thanks, capetrekker, for confirming what I would have guessed: since Lisa and husband have already done Wainwright's C2C, I think they'd find its Irish namesake a very poor second for many reasons, but mainly the road-walking.  I always admire people who are honest about their walking experiences, good and bad. :)

If Lisa and husband have longer to spend than they need to do Kerry, I'd suggest adding at least the western part of Dingle Way, if only for the glories of the scenery from Ventry as far as Cloghane (taking in Mount Brandon).  Stottie might be right about Beara being worth a look as well, but if they are renting a car at some point they would have a good chance of getting to Great Blasket (ferries from Dingle or Dunquin) even if they didn't have time to do any Dingle Way walking.  The equivalent Kerry Way excursion is Skellig Michael, but the wind conditions have to be just right to permit landing, as I know to my cost (two failed attempts) :(

IMO an island day-trip doesn't just lend variety to a long-distance walk, it also extends the experience of remoteness and gets you closer to the land and the wildlife.  Strongly recommended :)