Move to develop full-scale walking trail along Wild Atlantic Way route

Fáilte Ireland is examining the possibility of developing a full-scale walking trail along the entire Wild Atlantic Way route. The ambitious plan is a key objective of the tourism body’s 10-Year Vision for Tourism.

In preparation for developing a framework to guide the development of the trail, Fáilte Ireland is to carry out a pilot study on how it can link both the Kerry Way and Dingle Way trails.

The outcome of this study will inform the approach for a full-scale trail of the entire 2,500km Wild Atlantic Way route.

Research carried out by Fáilte Ireland has identified walking as a compelling outdoor activity and a means of sightseeing for overseas markets. 

In particular, the Wild Atlantic Way Coastal Path concept, which it labels “a hypothetical consumer experience”, came out on top as it presented the opportunity “to experience dramatic coastal landscape in a very close up and visceral way for international visitors”.

One of the key benefits associated with walking tourism is that it is seen as a year-round activity and can help to extend the tourism season. 

As a result, Fáilte Ireland is now seeking to appoint a consulting partner to carry out a pilot study of the options and potential remedial works required to link two of Ireland’s most popular walking routes — the Kerry Way and the Dingle Way.

The Kerry Way, at 230km, is the longest of the Irish Waymarked Trails. It’s a circular route that circumnavigates the Iveragh Peninsula, starting and finishing in Killarney, and also passing through Kerry towns such as Glenbeigh, Caherciveen, Waterville, Sneem and Kenmare. 

The Dingle Peninsula, the northernmost of Kerry’s peninsulas, stretches nearly 50km into the Atlantic Ocean, and is 21km wide at its broadest. It is a circular route beginning and ending in the town of Tralee that takes in all of these elements along the route.

The Kerry Way starts and ends in Killarney (214km) and the Dingle Way officially starts and ends in Tralee (162km). At the closest points there is a distance of approximately 43km between Glenbeigh on the Kerry Way and Inch on the Dingle Way. 

The objective of this pilot study is to look at potential route options that would extend from the Kerry Way at Waterville, along the Coast to Caherciveen and to follow a coastal route to link the two peninsulas and form a linear walking route.

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