"The best view in Ireland" I was told as I walked and its hard to argue on a day like this. Beaches, coastal woodland, stone steps and an easy incline. Went a bit off track on the island but ended up on a beach so it worked out fine. There's potential for a few extra km through the woods at the end if you've got the legs for it.
Derrynane national historic park
A short drive from Waterville brings you to this free car park with spaces for coaches and campers.
Instead of heading into the grounds of the house, head toward the coast down a grey gravel path that leads to cropped grass heading towards the sea. There are a number of worn paths, head right. Have a look back at the gardens and out to see.
It would be easy to spend the whole day on the beach at Derrynane, though it would be a shame to miss the rest of the area completely. On the far side of the beach is a tidal island. If the tide's not high it's easy to get to.
Path to the beach
There are several ways down to the sand and more car parks.
The beach at low tide
Leaving the beach at Abbey Island
A stone path leads up to the burial ground housed in the ruined abbey
Abbey Island hare
On the island, there are no paths and plenty of marshy areas. The rare Kerry lily can be found here. It's easy to return to the beach and pick up the trail again, although a climb up to the higher parts of the island will be rewarded with excellent encompassing sea and mountain views.
A camera doesn't do this view justice
View to the Skelligs
The small two, on the horizon
Inland from Abbey Island
Heading round the island rather than returning to the abbey, which would have been easier
After leaving the island and crossing the beach to a car park, turn left to pick up the trail again. Look for a marked gap in the wall on the right side of the road before the pier and follow the path between fences and cut rhodedendrons.
Passing the Derrynane inshore response building, the path winds around the rocky shoreline
Huge rhodedendron bushes provide a break from the sun. Or a place for huge puddles to collect, depending on the weather.
Steps up the rock
At one cove, the path isn't obvious until you notice the steps cut into the rock.
Starting to ascend
The first climb brings you above the shore and widens the view again
Dropping back to the shore one last time to leave a private road at the harbour reveals some houses, one of which is abandoned
View from the abandonded house
This could be a garden would be in the teeth of winter's gales and storms. Beautiful in summer though.
The road from the harbour climbs, but not too quickly, away from the coast up the hill.
The views change again as the surroundings change from coast to hillside.
Path to Caherdaniel
After following the road for a while, the path to Caherdaniel is clearly signed.
'The best view in Ireland'
The trail climbs slowly up the hillside, sort of following the contour of the hill. At the very top is a sign for a B+B and a flat rock that makes an excellent place to sit and enjoy what I'm told is the best view in Ireland.
Track down the hillside
Foxglove in the shade
Back to the house
This bell is easy to find on the road
Restored summer house
the map says, but it would be disappointing if this were not actually the home of a bearded wizard
Gardens of the big house
The road passes this garden to return to the car park