A day spent exploring Gleninchaquin Park is arguably one of the best things to do in Kerry. Especially when it’s sunny!
You’ll find Gleninchaquin Park on the north-west side of the Beara Peninsula, where it’s home to plenty of lakes, waterfalls and rugged mountain landscapes to explore.
It makes for a great family day out, and it’s the perfect place to escape to if you’re staying in the village of Kenmare in Kerry.
In the guide below, you’ll find outlines of the different walks in Gleninchaquin Park to some history of the area.
Some quick need-to-knows before visiting Gleninchaquin Park
Although a visit to Gleninchaquin Park near Kenmare is pretty straightforward, there’s a couple of need-to-knows that’ll make your trip that bit more enjoyable.
The park owners ask for a fee of €6 for adults and €4 for children to enter the park. There is also a family ticket option which is €15 or children under 6 are allowed in for free.
The remote location means that there are no card facilities available, so you’ll have to remember to take some cash with you to pay (note: prices may change).
2. Opening hours
The park is open each day from 10am until 5pm, although they are usually closed for the colder, winter months until March (make sure to check opening hours in advance of your visit).
3. For anyone with limited mobility
If you have limited mobility, you’ll still be able to view the waterfalls close up. It’s possible to drive further in and park closer to some of the viewing areas where you’ll also find plenty of areas to sit and enjoy the view. There are also toilet facilities for those with mobility issues.
Dogs are welcome at the park as long as you keep them on a lead at all times. There are grazing livestock roaming around the park, so it’s best to keep your pets close to you during your entire visit.
About Gleninchaquin Park in Kerry
Gleninchaquin Park is a long narrow valley formed by glaciation about 70, 000 years ago. Little about the geography has changed since, with spectacular waterfalls that feed into lakes, green meadows and woodlands and surrounding rugged mountains.
The park area is privately owned and still a working farm, except that it’s been open to the public with some incredible walking trails that you’re welcome to explore.
There are six designated walks, with some suitable for people of all ages, while others more ideal for serious hikers.
There are also refreshments and home baking treats available in the park, as well as toilets, parking and picnic facilities.
Gleninchaquin Park walks
There are six designated walks in Gleninchaquin Park, ranging from short and easy strolls to long, challenging hikes.
Note: You can find maps for each of the walks mentioned below on the Glenchaquin Park website here.
1. The Farm Walk
This 1-hour loop walk takes you right around the farm through grazing fields. It starts from the waterfall car park and guides you on a yellow way-marked trail.
You can enjoy sheep grazing in the fields, some of the oldest sessile oak trees in the whole park and the farm buildings which are still in use today.
You also get views of a couple of waterfalls on the way and there’s a perfect spot for a picnic and dip in the rock pools towards the end.
2. The River Walk
The River Walk is a beautiful way to take in the waterways of the park. The 40-minute loop begins from opposite the reception car park and follows a narrow path towards the Water Garden.
The trail then takes you along a stream, past rock pools and waterfalls with handrails and bridges to help you. You might be able to spot some Pied and Grey Wagtails, and Dippers in the fast-moving streams, as well as wildflowers and fungi in the wooded areas.
The walk ends at an intersection where you can either head back to reception or head up into the mountains on one of the longer trails.
3. The Heritage Trail
This 90-minute loop starts in the waterfall car park or from reception and takes you into the woodland enclosure before ascending a little above the farm.
The trail takes in some of the park’s heritage buildings, including the 18th century farmstead, Famine Cottage which has featured in various films and magazines and old walled enclosures which once protected crops.
Before you descend back down again, you can follow the Viewing Point sign which leads to a fabulous spot overlooking the valley to the sea. As you head back down towards the car park, you’ll pass a series of waterfalls and pools to enjoy after the long walk.
4. The Waterfall Walk
This 115-minute loop walk is an extended version of the Heritage Trail described above. It begins by following the Heritage Trail to the Famine Cottage, which has been carefully restored. Then, the trail steepens up the rocky mountainside following white and red waymarks as you go.
At the top you can take a short detour to a Viewing Point, which offers beautiful views over the upper valley with Lake Cummenaloughaun at the centre.
Then you can begin the descent to the top of the waterfall and then down some rock cut steps back to a wide track.
You’ll find a couple of picnic spots towards the end of this walk, which is the perfect stop for a snack after the steep climbs.
5. The Upper Valley Walk
If you’re keen for a decent hike, this 9.5km walk is a tough but rewarding trail that is not suitable for young kids. It provides a greater sense of seclusion than the other walks mentioned above, with very few visitors opting to do this.
The path starts from the main car park and follows red waymarks to the top of the waterfall before circumnavigating around Lake Cummenaloughaun. Although there’s no designated trail here, you should ensure that the lake stays on your left the whole way.
Then you can descend back to the farm via steps to the right of the waterfall which has handrails to help you. You can then finish off on the River Walk, which is a gentle way to conclude your four-hour hike.
6. The Boundaries Walk
For experienced hikers, this option is just for you, with a 14.5km loop that should take around seven hours to complete.
The walk follows the entire boundary of the park taking you over the high ridges of the Caha Mountains. It’s an incredible experience completely out in the wilderness and is a popular excursion for walking groups.
You’ll get the most amazing views on a clear day which makes all the hard work completely worth it.
Things to do near Gleninchaquin Park
One of the beauties of Gleninchaquin Park is that it’s a short spin away from a clatter of other attractions, both man-made and natural.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Gleninchaquin Park (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).
1. Beara Peninsula
This rugged peninsula on the south-west coast is best seen by car or cycling along the Ring of Beara. The 130km route offers incredible views over the rugged, raw beauty of the coast and is a much quieter alternative than the Ring of Kerry.
The driving or cycling route takes you from Kenmare around the coast of the peninsula to Glengarriff. There are plenty of stops to see on the way if you want to make the most of your time.
2. Healy Pass
The Healy Pass is a shortcut option on the Ring of Beara which crosses the peninsula’s Caha Mountains from Lauragh to Adrigole. The road is an epic trip that winds its way through rugged mountains, with each hairpin bend offering more spectacular views.
3. Dursey Island
Dursey Island lies just off the southwestern tip of the Beara Peninsula. It is one of a few inhabited islands in this part of Ireland, but seems a world away from the mainland. There are a few ruins to explore and it’s also a popular destination for bird watchers.
Perhaps, the most unique part of visiting this island, however, is the cable car which is used to get there. The journey takes around 10 minutes and runs about 250m above the wild sea of the Dursey Sound.
4. Bonane Heritage Park
Not far away from either Kenmare or Gleninchaquin Park, this privately owned heritage park is another great place to see in Kerry. It’s known as one of the most important archaeological sites in Ireland with over 250 well-preserved ruins from as far back as the Stone Age. There’s a nice 2km loop walks that takes in many of the important sites and is suitable for the whole family.
FAQs about visiting Gleninchaquin Park near Kenmare
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from what to do in Gleninchaquin Park to whether it’s worth visiting.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
Is Gleninchaquin Park worth visiting?
Yes. 100% yes! The scenery here is glorious and there’s everything from forest walks and streams to a magnificent waterfall to check out!
What is there to do in Gleninchaquin Park?
There are 6 different walks in Gleninchaquin Park that you can head off on. They range from short and handy to long and slightly tricky in places (see guide above).
Do you have to pay to enter Gleninchaquin Park?
Yes! You’ll find the prices listed above (note: these may change). It’s also worth noting that, at the time of writing, credit cards aren’t accepted, so you’ll need cash!
Elisha is a freelance writer, content creator and blogger and her work can be read in Lonely Planet, Remote Lands and Matador Network. You’ll usually find her travelling in offbeat places or hiking wherever there are mountains; always with a camera in hand.