Kerry Way – Day 10

Blackwater Bridge

Sneem to Templenoe

The ‘official’ destination from Sneem is Kenmare but that’s a 30km hike so I decided to break it into two sections. There are very few B&Bs between Sneem and Kenmare so I booked a place at Greenwood Hostel.

I need to take food with me so spend some time in Sneem looking around and shopping.

Church of the Transfiguration, Sneem
Church of the Transfiguration, Sneem

I sketch the 1960’s Church of the Transfiguration which is an interesting design. It’s a humid cloudy morning, perfect for midges, and they are out in force so I don’t stay long.

With supplies packed, I join the butter road again. Today’s route is mostly green track, much of it wooded with just a few climbs to low passes above the treeline. After going around the contours of hills near Sneem it’s also quite straight as far as Blackwater Bridge.

I am drawn to Brushwood Studios which is just off the track, hidden in deep woodland. I meet Etienne and Pam and they give me a herb tea. There is some very attractive art on disply but Etienne’s hand built kayaks are outstanding, laminated with contrasting timbers, sleek and sensual, and just made for pleasure.

I spend too much time talking and by the time I leave the morning has nearly gone but I haven’t gone far.

At Parknasilla, I lose the way. I follow the main sign off the road and stay exactly on the GPS track on the map but the path is blocked by a new fence with branches stacked behind it. It’s a definite “Don’t go through here” statement. There is a ‘residents only’ path which I take that eventually leads me through to a road where two women on posh horses give me a snooty look.

The detour adds 2 kilometers but I make Tahilla for a late lunch and sit in the churchyard to eat my sausage roll, but the midges are hungry too so I don’t tarry.

Crossing an exposed hillside, the Reeks are just visible to the north and the Beara to the south across Kenmare Bay. 

Blackwater Bridge
Blackwater Bridge

After Blackwater Bridge the route kinks down towards the shores of the bay through dense woodland, the sounds of traffic on the N70 occasionally breaking the peace.

I find Greenwood Hostel after what seems a longer hike than I expected; I certainly could not have reached Kenmare today.

Greenwood is in deep woodland. Torsten lets me in and shows me around and I settle in with a cup of tea before a meal of microwave rice, a little tin of tuna and some nuts & raisins. It’s nutritious enough but not exactly gourmet fare.

I am alone in the hostel until an Italian couple arrive later. It’s comfy, quirky and I have my own room.

Tomorrow is my last day on the Kerry Way and Herself should be meeting me in Kenmare, in the same café where my hike started. I have mixed feelings. Let’s see how I feel tomorrow.

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About the route

This was an enjoyable section through some beautiful woodlands and along the coast of Kenmare Bay.

View my route in Google Maps

20km (12.5 miles) including the detour in about 6 hours. Total ascent 494m. Max elevation 109m.

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